Austin Communications
Political Consulting Media Affairs Crisis Management Curson & Austin Advertising Store Contact

Golf and Politics with Fox & Friends

In the spring of 2008, I had the pleasure of playing a round of golf with Fox News Network icons Brit Hume and Bret Baer. Both great guys and fun golf partners.

During this particular round, each of us, Brit, Bret, myself, and our “fourth” had the golf round of a lifetime. It was one of those rounds when we each of us were making great shots and scoring par or better.

On the back nine, the round was nearly washed out as heavy rains and a thunderstorm moved in. We were not deterred though and because the round was going so well we waited for over an hour for the storm to pass so we could finish the back nine. We putted out on the 18th green and each of each of us finished with a great score.

Back at the clubhouse, as we reminisced about the round, and congratulated each other for shooting par or better, the conversation quickly turned to politics.

Hillary Clinton was the odds-on favorite to win the Democrat nomination, and Bret asked me what I thought about upstart Barrack Obama and whether he had a chance to win the nomination. “Do not underestimate him,” I said. He will receive every black vote in the primary states and this will provide an overwhelming base from which to win enough delegates to defeat her.

I recalled my own experience running for the state legislature. As a young candidate, I was favored in the black wards and ended up receiving 95% of the black vote.

While I won every precinct in the district, white, black, or minority, I received 100% of the vote in one particular black voting precinct. This was a historical first in Pennsylvania, shutting an opponent out from receiving even one vote, not even a mistaken ballot.

But from this experience, I knew the advantage of having the support of a large voting bloc, and how it provides an overwhelming electoral lead that is all but impossible for the opposition to overcome.

It was this advantage, along with an amazing black voter turnout that did-in Hillary Clinton during the 2008 Democrat primary campaign, and it’s exactly what she’s trying to use to her advantage in 2016.

She’s positioning herself to be the best friend and advocate for black, Hispanic, and women voters, and wants to put together the same coalition that propelled Barrack Obama into the White House.  There’s nothing wrong with this strategy. The overwhelming majority of these voters want the Obama policies to remain intact and will vote to elect the person who will effectively represent a third-Obama term.

This is how George H.W. Bush was elected President in 1988. The Reagan coalition stayed together believing Bush would bring the country a quasi-third Reagan term.

Of course, once elected, candidates forget the promises and begin the process of going their own way. This happened to Bush 41 when he drifted from Reagan’s no-tax policies, (read my lips, no new taxes) and no doubt a similar metamorphosis will take place if Hillary Clinton enjoys life in the White House again.

It will be interesting to see how Republicans counteract the Clinton strategy. But unless the GOP nominates someone new and different, someone who will raise new concepts and ideas that resonate, and someone with a compelling personality, I suspect Clinton may be successful.

It was months later, once Barrack Obama secured the Democrat nomination, that I reminded Bret of my golf course prediction that upstart Obama could very well defeat Hillary Clinton. Yes, he said, “you called that one.”

Meanwhile, I’ve never enjoyed as good a golf score or adventurous round as I did in the spring of 2008 playing alongside Brit Hume and Bret Baer.

In talking to them later, I’m not sure they ever have, either.