UPDATE: A special thanks to Mike Keliher – of the one l variety – for pointing out my misspelling of Margaret Anderson Kelliher – of the two l variety. I shall not make the same mistake again.
Gubernatorial (dontcha just love that word) politics and NASCAR had a meet up on Reusse and Company on AM 1500 KSTP in the Twin Cities yesterday. I’m sure it’s happens all the time during campaign season, but Wednesday’s interview of Margaret Anderson Keliher - Speaker of the House in Minnesota and one of more than a dozen hoping to represent the DFL in November’s election – is one that made me stop what I was doing so I could listen more closely. What struck me about the exchange came and went as fast as a lap at Daytona, but it got me thinking about how far politicians go to get all their talking points across.
If you’ve ever watched an interview with a NASCAR driver, they are magicians at working sponsor names into their answers. Jeff Gordon can’t go a sentence without mentioning his DuPont Chevrolet. Considering the mega bucks sponsors plop down for the privilege of having their logo speed along at over 100 mph, it makes sense to mention those names as often as possible. Keliher took a page from the NASCAR driver handbook and used the interview to inject all the necessary references to prove her Minnesota creds.
In no particular order she dropped in 4H, hockey, public schools, ice fishing and dairy princess in less than 30 seconds. A truly impressive performance. Now some will call me cynical for thinking Keliher was using well rehearsed talking points, but listen and you’ll hear her back track to clarify that her kids go to public school and, when asked when she last went ice fishing she deftly avoids answering the question. I am cynical, but I’m not drawing any conclusions…yet.
Here’s hoping her handlers haven’t told her she needs to sprinkle ice fishing and hockey references into every interview. If that’s the case, it will be a long campaign season.
When, I must ask, will the celebrity class ever learn? When will they realize they are public figures and, no matter how hard they try, their dirty laundry will one day be aired for the entire world to see. The latest to forget the lessons learned by the many who came before is Tiger Woods.
We’ve all heard the story about his late night/early morning car crash. We’ve also been treated to an ongoing flow of speculation about what it is that drove him from his home at such as ungodly hour. But almost a week after the events unfolded only two people – Tiger and his wife, Elin – know exactly what happened on that moonlit night. And they aint talking.
Tiger has fallen into the same trap as other celebrities: Trying to keep private that which has become all too public. That he is doing so is understandable. Since turning pro, Tiger has always tried to maintain a life separate and distinct from the one played out on the golf course. Looking back one has to say he’s been very successful. Until recently he has not been the fodder for tabloids – broadcast, web or print – nor has he been known to venture to local clubs for a boys night out – before or since his marriage. By all accounts his private life was just that. In fact, he’s been known to jettison from his circle those who did not respect his privacy.
All that changed in the early morning hours of Friday, November 27.
With the single act of crashing his Cadillac Escalade Tiger Woods set in motion the raising of the curtain on his once-private life. If that isn’t bad enough, every decision he’s made since – with the input of advisors I’m sure – has only compounded the problem and added fuel to the fire of speculation. Speculation that, if not answered, will become fact in the public’s mind.
The single biggest mistake he can make is waiting until Spring – when he will be on the golf course again – to address the questions. While it’s true the public has a short attention span and moves quickly to the next story, when the most famous athlete on the face of the planet is at the core of the story it is certain to come to life when he re-emerges from his bunker.
C’mon Tiger. Take the questions, take the heat. The sooner you face the issue the sooner you and your wife can put it in the past and get on with your private lives.