BRANDOLAND: Talking to God...For You!

Saturday, May 21, 2005

George Bush, Game Show Host

The Prez is back out on the road...pushing his Social Security, uh, restructuring plan thing.

This time...the targets are the Abercrombie & Fitch-es of the world.

Not the store - the people who shop there.

From the LA Times:

"Bush Resumes Well-Staged Social Security Roadshow"

And a WELL-PRODUCED one.

Excerpts:
MILWAUKEE -- As President Bush resumes his cross-country campaigning to promote his vision of Social Security restructuring, it's no secret that he's relying on outside organizations to help provide the supporting cast.

Yet a MEMO circulated this week among members of one group, Women Impacting Public Policy, illustrates the lengths to which the White House has gone to make sure that the right points are made at the president's public appearances.
And the length that the White House will go to to CONTROL THE SHOW.
"President Bush will be in Rochester, N.Y., for an upcoming event and has called on WIPP for help," the memo to members stated.

It went on to DESCRIBE several types of WORKERS the White House wanted to appear on stage with Bush, starting with a YOUNG wage-earner "who knows that SS could run out before they retire."
If you're a producer for MTV or a dating show - like Blind Date or Elimidate or Crush - you want young people "who might hook up with other contestants."

So...when you conduct the PRE-INTERVIEWS with the kids...you ask certain questions. And you lead them into the areas you need to cover.

"Ever gotten drunk in a hot tub and made out with a random person?"

"Ever worried that your SS will be gone by the time you retire?"
Each participant (CONTESTANT?) would represent some aspect of Bush's proposal to let younger workers divert a portion of their payroll taxes into individual investment accounts that they would control. The accounts, in turn, would be part of a broader restructuring plan that would slow the growth of benefits to ensure Social Security's solvency.

"Essentially, everybody needs to be under the age of 29," the memo said. It requested an immediate response, because "we will need to get names to the White House."
I think the cut off for Elimidate is 29.
The solicitation reflected the latest refinement of the White House sales strategy for Social Security, featuring a heightened emphasis on YOUNGER WORKERS. The new theme was on full display today as Bush took his Social Security roadshow to Wisconsin, the 26th state he has visited to promote the restructuring.

"You got any thoughts about Social Security?" Bush asked 22-year-old Concordia University senior Christy Paavola, one of five younger workers who appeared on stage with him at the Milwaukee Museum of Art.

"Yes," Paavola replied. "I don't think it's going to be there when I retire, which is really scary."

"Got anything else you want to say?" Bush asked.

"I really like the idea of personal savings accounts," Paavola said.

"You did a heck of a job," Bush said. "You deserve an A."
And that, my friends, is a perfect example of a WELL-PRODUCED GAME SHOW MOMENT!!!

Trust me, the "producers" of this show spent a great deal of time with "Christy" beforehand.

Her pre-interview may have gone something like this:

PRODUCER: Okay, we're gonna ask you a couple of questions, some questions that THE PRESIDENT MIGHT ASK YOU.

CHRISTY: Cool.

PRODUCER: Okay, here's the first one. You got any thoughts about Social Security?

CHRISTY: Um, not really.

PRODUCER: Okay, that's good. I mean, you're probably thinking that it's not going to be there when you retire, which is really scary. Right?

CHRISTY: Um. I don't know.

PRODUCER: Great. So when the President asks you if you have any thoughts about SS, you say, "I don't think it's going to be there when I retire, which is really scary." Okay?

CHRISTY: Um, sure, okay.

PRODUCER: Can you say that for me? Right now?

CHRISTY: "I don't think it's going to be there when I retire, which is really scary."

PRODUCER: That's really great, Christy. One more question. You'll just have to worry about two questions and you're done.

CHRISTY: Whew.

PRODUCER: That's it. Okay? That's a great dress.

CHRISTY: Thank you. (Ha ha.)

PRODUCER: I bet you drive the boys crazy.

CHRISTY: Sometimes. (Ha ha.)

PRODUCER: Okay, here we go. "Do you like the idea of personal savings accounts?" You know, like the checking account you have now?

CHRISTY: Sure.

PRODUCER: What do you do for a living?

CHRISTY: Well, I'm in school, but my dad owns all the lumber yards in Wisconsin.

PRODUCER: Great. So you like checking accounts?

CHRISTY: Yeah, sure. Who doesn't?

PRODUCER: Ha! Right. So, when the President of the US asks you if you like savings accounts, you'll say, "Yes." Right?

CHRISTY: Yes.

PRODUCER: Great. Do you like Abercormbie & Fitch, Christy?

CHRISTY: I buy a lotta stuff there.

PRODUCER: Great. Here's a gift certificate. Thanks for your time. You're gonna be great.

*

You feelin' me?

Trust me - the pre-interview went down this way. I've had the "pleasure" of watching/conducting a number of "pre-interviews" with some of SoCal's finest young people - for projects which will remain nameless - AND I was a contestant on the Dating Game, circa 1998.

Which was the lowest point in my life.

No. I did not win. Because they wrote my answers - based on my pre-interview. Even changed some of my answers during the taping.

Because I made an irreverent comment about "Bachelor #2." At one point.

Because I tried to get a cheap laugh.

Friends - There's no need for spontaneity in a controlled environment.

Like Bush's "Social Security Tour."

(BTW - "Chuck" needs NO PREP TIME for TDG. When it's time to tape, he just appears. From out of nowhere. And reads off cards...the producers have prepared for him. If he doesn't like the jokes, HE WALKS OFF-STAGE until they write new ones.)

Your comments, please.

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