Bulworth, Written and Directed by Warren Beatty
John Edwards in Iowa: "... we don't want to replace a group of corporate Republicans with a group of corporate Democrats." MyDD, 10-6-07
Campaign '08 Update: Rachel Maddow Smacks Down Clinton Strategist Mark Penn & His Firm Burson-Marsteller
By Richard Power
In response to John Edwards' hard-hitting attack on Hillary Clinton, in which he called her a "corporate Democrat," and assailed her campaign strategist Mark Penn for his public relations firm's connection to Blackwater USA, a Clinton spokesman told ABC News that "Mark Penn did no work on the Blackwater account. Burson has cut its ties to Blackwater, and that was the right thing to do. Mark is and remains a valuable member of our team." Jake Tapper, ABC News, 10-5-07
Ah, no doubt, but it turns out that Burson-Marsteller's relationship to Blackwater isn't the only disturbing story here. Indeed, the bigger and even more disturbing story is the history of Burson-Marsteller itself.
Here is a transcript of Air America Radio host Rachel Maddow's smackdown of Mark Penn and Burson-Marsteller on the 10-5-07 broadcast of her wonderful weekday news magazine.
Blackwater knows it has a problem.
Erik Prince and the other Republican luminaries -- at the helm of the world's largest, best-armed, richest and best-connected private, for-profit army -- know they have a problem.
I don't think they see themselves as having a moral problem, they wouldn't be in the business in the first place if they did.
We know they don't have a financial problem, that's for sure.
It looks as if they probably won't have a legal problem afterall, as unbelievable as it seems.
It is literally impossible for them to have a political problem, because they have hired so many Republican party power brokers that the Republican Party is starting to look like a wholly owned subsidiary of Blackwater, rather than the other way around.
No, the problem that Blackwater has is actually an image problem, a branding problem.
And when the evilest corporations in the whole world have an image problem, they hire professional help, they hire Burson-Marsteller.
When Philip Morris needs help with its corporation image, they call Burson-Marsteller.
When Entergy Nuclear wants you to not think about their cooling towers collapsing on their nuclear power plant in Vermont, they call Burson-Marsteller.
When Three Mile Island happened in 1979, Babcock and Wilcox called Burson-Marsteller.
The Bhopal chemical disaster in India, twenty years ago? Union Carbine called Burson-Marsteller.
Three days after 9/11, the government of Saudi Arabia called Burson-Marsteller.
Terrifying Romanian dictator Nicholas Ceausescu? You guessed it -- Burson-Marsteller.
When a military junta overthrew the government of Argentina in 1976, who did the generals call? Burson-Marsteller.
The government of Indonesia, accused of genocide in East Timor? Quick, someone look up the number of Burson-Marsteller.
Now Burson-Marsteller has their newest marquee public relations client -- Blackwater.
You can kind of see why it is a little bit gross that the CEO of Burson-Marsteller is Hillary Clinton's pollster and chief campaign strategist, Mark Penn. You can kind of see why that is a little disgusting.
Bravo John Edwards.
Bravo Rachel Maddow.
A PR firm is not a lawyer.
In the USA, everyone is supposed to have the right to a lawyer, not a PR firm.
It is not as if Mark Penn and Burson-Marsteller have a moral obligation to see to it that military dictatorships, mercenary armies and tobacco companies can overcome their negative image problems.
Mark Penn and Burson-Marsteller could have just said, "No, thank you, we pass."
What does it say about them that they didn't?
Human Rights Update: Blackwater, Burma, Darfur & You
Hard Rain Journal 9-17-07: An Open Letter to Al Gore -- The List, & What Will Happen to the USA & the Planet if We Don't Address It In 2008
Campaign '08 Update 8-12-07: Open Letter to Democratic Primary & Caucus Voters -- Turn This Race Upside Down!
For an archive of Words of Power posts on Campaign '08, click here.
For the Words of Power Progressive Talk Radio Archive, click here.
Rachel Maddow, Air America, John Edwards, Sen. Hillary Clinton, Mark Penn, Burson-Marsteller, 2008 Presidential Campaign, Blackwater, Richard Power, Words of Power