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#PRFail: The Washington Mess
By: Gerard E. Mayers
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I am sure everyone by now is breathing a sigh of relief the partial shut-down of the Government is over and that some sort of deal both parties in the Congress and the National Executive can all live with has been reached. But that relief is only temporary. Come the New Year, all parties will have to sit down again and hopefully resolve the issues preventing them from crafting an actual budget rather than continually passing Continuing Resolutions to keep the Government functioning.
 
Some even say the President is the one who, with the #EndThisNow social messaging campaign on Twitter, forced the Republicans to come to the table. Republicans may say otherwise.
 
Regardless of who is right and who is wrong, I think ALL sides lost during the shutdown. From the PR standpoint, the partial shutdown was a PR disaster for both political parties and for the White House.
 
I have always said that business (and the Government is no exception) needs to listen to both its internal and external customers. Any business that refuses to do so does at its own eventual peril.
 
So, how can Washington start rebuilding its very tarnished reputation and image?
 
This flack might offer some suggestions:
 
1. It’s perfectly Ok to agree to disagree. Just because one political party does not agree with the other is no excuse to use the race card. In fact, it’s downright insulting. No one totally agrees with any one else 100% of the time. Agree to disagree and find common ground where all can be in agreement.
 
2. Everyone has something of value to bring to the table. Standing your ground and standing up for principles is important, but recognize the Loyal Opposition also has valid viewpoints worth bringing to the discussion.
 
3. Compromise is how it’s supposed to be done. Former President Ronald Regan and House Speaker Tip O’Neill were ideologically on opposite sides of the room. But they both had one talent many in Washington today seem to lack, from the National Executive on down: No one gets what they totally want and it’s best to talk and honestly negotiate until an acceptable compromise is reach. Hey, isn’t that what politics is all about?
 
4. The Congress and the President represent ALL the people, not just SOME of the people. Enough said on that.
 
This flack will not hold his breath but also will not be too hopeful things will improve. He does hope, however, that Washington as a whole learned something during this partial shutdown just ended about life beyond the Beltway.


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About the Author
Gerard E. "Gerry" Mayers writes about PR and other relevant topics for PR professionals. A former PR manager for Sensor Products, Inc. (currently based in Madison, NJ), he lives in Milford, NJ.
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