Here are some suggested New Year’s resolutions for some folks, parties and companies:
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie: You’re facing a scandal that foes hope will show you were involved in politically vindictive lane closures that slowed down traffic on the George Washington Bridge, country’s busiest bridge. But you’re rising in most polls and the media and TV cameras seem to love you. You could be even more of a national player. Resolution: No twerking.
McDonald’s: It’s the media that looked at your now-removed website and was lovin’ it. First the website gave editors and bloggers everywhere a can’t-resist story by advising financially strapped employees to sell things and get second-hand jobs to get extra bucks. It also sparked stories when it gave employees instructions on how to tip au pairs, doormen, personal trainers and pool boys. Then when the website generated print, Internet and broadcast outlets a big story by warning employees about the unhealthiness of fast-food and how much better it is to eat a salad, McDonald’s yanked it down.
This is a big change. On July 18, 1984 James Huberty walked into a McDonald’s and fatally shot 21 people, including kids, and injured 19 others, before being mercifully put out of his misery by a San Diego Police sniper. The media called it “The McDonald’s Massacre” until McDonalds’ p.r. savvy spokespeople stressed its impact on San Ysidro. It then quickly became known as “The San Ysidro Massacre” or at worst “The San Ysidro McDonald’s Massacre.” Ray Kroc just didn’t sell hamburgers or advertise. He ferociously protected his brand and its image. Resolution: Aim for the Kroc-like quality control and efficient image management that was shockingly lacking in 2013.
MSNBC: Martin Bashir was fired after his suggestion that a certain body discard should go into former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s mouth sparked a big to-doo (pun intended). Alec Baldwin was told buh-bye after he lost his temper with a photographer and went on an anti-gay rant. Now Melissa Harris-Perry has apologized for mocking former Massachusetts’s Governor Mitt Romney’s adopted African-American grandchild. Former MSNBCer Keith Olbermann asked in a tweet: “Are adults in charge over there?” MSNBC’s new logo should be a head learning forward with a foot in its mouth. Resolution: One reason liberal talk radio flopped was that liberals seemingly tried to imitate the conservative talk radio model. Don’t aim to be the anti-Fox but the better-than-Fox. And you don’t get that by snark or inappropriate mockery.
Soft Drink Manufacturers: There’s a reason why Coca Cola and Pepsi Cola bottled in Mexico is for sale at many stores and even CostCos in California. Apart from fructose’s health issues, soda made with sugar tastes better -- and tastes as it did in the 50s and 60s. Resolution: Either switch back to sugar or offer sugar versions of your sodas. And, yes, some insist there’s no difference, but tell that to people who swear it isn’t the same and pay extra money to enrich bottlers in Mexico.
Anthony Weiner: The former New York Representative who resigned from Congress and made “sexting” a household word as gag-worthy photos of him doing the deed flooded the Internet was defeated in a humiliating run for New York Mayor. On his Facebook page he recently suggested he might be back. Resolution: I. Will. Go. Away. S-o-o-n.
Barack Obama: Obama looks like a lame duck with three years in his term to go. His longtime rival Arizona Sen. John McCain says: “ “To count a man of that talent out at this point in time in his administration would be a huge mistake.” Resolution: You only have three years left. No overpromising or tolerating incompetence in your administration. Fire some people.
Republicans: Earlier this year the Republican National Committee issued a 100-page post-2012 election autopsy report with recommendations. A pauper’s gravesite gets more serious views. Resolution: Cut the 2012 branding reaffirmations and move onto re-branding and tent-expanding.
Millennial: Millennials are unimpressed with either party and red-faced, screaming partisans. Resolution: Be the anti-Baby Boomers in the way you treat those with whom you disagree, and run from us Baby Boomers’ divisive political legacy.
Joe Gandelman is a veteran journalist who wrote for newspapers overseas and in the United States. He has appeared on cable news show political panels and is Editor-in-Chief of The Moderate Voice, an Internet hub for independents, centrists and moderates. He also writes for The Week’s online edition. CNN’s John Avlon named him as one of the top 25 Centrists Columnists and Commentators. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: www.twitter.com/joegandelman