"Why the Democrats are so bad at messaging and what they need to do differently" - with Rich Klein
Rich Klein is the Managing Partner of McLarty Media. He was part of the 1992 Clinton-Gore presidential campaign, helping to craft policy and messaging on emerging global issues. Rich was subsequently appointed by President Clinton to head the speechwriting staff and be part of the policy planning office at the Department of Commerce, reporting directly to Secretaries Ron Brown, Mickey Kantor and Bill Daley successfully. From the Commerce Department, he was appointed by President Clinton to serve as Special Assistant for International Affairs at the Department of State, the bureau charged with monitoring and enforcing international economic sanctions.
During our chat, we talked about Rich’s mentor, David Gergen, former White House Communications Director, and the importance of EQ over IQ to connect with the average voter. We discussed Rich’s time working with former Senator Jay Rockefeller and his approach of working across the aisle in the late nineties, and why that method is no longer acceptable in the zero sum game of politics in 2023. We opined on the former bipartisan friendships of Ted Kennedy and Orin Hatch, President Obama and House Speaker Boehner, and war heroes like Senator Bob Dole and Senator John McCain. And we had some fun discussing why party Democrats should avoid any attempts to “primary” Senator Joe Manchin in West Virginia.
We also talked about the Student Relief Bill and the $400 billion price tag accessed by the Congressional Budget Office–who this bill caters to politically–and how this is yet another example of the Democrats forgetting the working class. We then dove into how the Democrats are losing the votes of blacks, hispanics, and asian communities, and why this is happening at large.
We ended our chat with Rich’s sage advice about how to listen to the average voter, specifically how David Gergen’s former researcher, Al Sindlinger called citizens directly from a phone book to get to know them a bit–all of which was chronicled and shared with President Richard Nixon and his communications team.
It was my honor to have Rich join me on the program, and I truly enjoyed every minute of his storied history, tenure, and storytelling of all things Washington D.C.