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Cliff Schecter
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Cliff Schecter is an author, pundit and public relations strategist whose firm Libertas, LLC handles media relations for political, corporate and non-profit clients. In 2008, his first book, The Real McCain: Why Conservatives Don’t Trust Him—And Why Independents Shouldn’t, was published by PoliPoint Press and became a political (#2) and non-fiction (#17) bestseller at Amazon. As founder and President of Libertas, he has counseled Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG), Chaired by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and The Alliance For Climate Protection, run by former Vice-President Al Gore. Other clients have included IBM, The American Association for Justice (previously The American Trial Lawyers Association), Global Strategy Group, Andrews McMeel Publishing, LLC, and the Earth Day Network.

Schecter was an analyst at polling firm Penn & Schoen in 1996, helping re-elect President Bill Clinton. As a political and media strategist overall, he has helped advise the Democratic National Committee and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, as well as the campaigns of former Virginia Governor and current U.S. Senator Mark Warner, former New York Attorney General and Governor Elliot Spitzer, former Connecticut Democratic Senate nominee Ned Lamont and former Ohio Congressional candidate Paul Hackett, among others. Schecter’s been a lecturer for the U.S. State Department—delivering briefings on U.S. politics to diplomats, journalists and academics in countries such as South Africa, Australia, Romania and Malta.

Schecter is a weekly columnist for Al Jazeera English, reaching almost 400,000 readers, 80% of which reside in North America. He is a contributor to The Guardian Online and Huffington Post. Previously, Schecter had columns syndicated nationally by United Press International and Knight Ridder Inc. His writing has been featured in the San Francisco Chronicle, Philadelphia Daily News, Miami Herald, USA Today, American Prospect, Salon.com and Washington Monthly Magazine. His ideas have been quoted in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times and Baltimore Sun, and he’s been profiled in U.S News & World Report, Wired.com and the Huffington Post.

Over the past decade, Schecter has been a regular guest on PBS, MSNBC, CNN FoxNews, BBC and NPR. He was an on-air political analyst for the Sinclair Broadcast Network in 2004, syndicated on 60 local broadcast-news affiliates to 38 media markets around the country. He served in a similar capacity for Al Jazeera in 2008, with his analysis reaching countries spanning the globe. Currently he is a regular panelist on Your Voice, a Sunday morning public affairs show broadcast on Fox and ABC in the Columbus, Ohio area.

Schecter is a graduate of the Columbia School of International and Public Affairs (MA), where he concentrated in International Journalism and Public Relations, the University of Pennsylvania (BA), where he studied American History and Legal Studies, and the Institut de Francais, where he received a French Immersion Certificate. He is ABD (all but dissertation) in his studies for his Ph.D. in American History from American University in Washington, D.C.

To learn more, you should really follow him on Twitter.

Entries by Cliff Schecter

Women's History Month, Luan Cox, Crowd Finance and the Future

(0) Comments | Posted March 18, 2014 | 12:00 PM

During a month when we celebrate the historical achievements of women, only a few days after International Women's Day, after a year in which we've watched an unprecedented attack by state legislatures on women's rights and as Sheryl Sandberg and celebrity friends virally request that we #BanBossy, I've...

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More For Big Oil? Really? Are You Kidding Me?

(18) Comments | Posted January 29, 2014 | 1:17 PM

For the 1.3 million Americans unemployed and facing a life bereft of new benefits, Exxon feels your pain. Big Oil's biggest and baddest had a rough year in 2011.

They only made $41 billion (that is with a "b"). Now I know what you're thinking:...

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Our Very Own West, Texas

(0) Comments | Posted May 13, 2013 | 5:42 AM

On April 25 -- Thursday evening -- American icon and humble hero George W. Bush took one small step for man, one slip-and-fall for humanity as he reentered a spotlight, until recently blissful to have been abandoned by him, for the dedication of his presidential library. Put aside for...

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The Republican Party's Anger Mismanagement

(9) Comments | Posted March 17, 2013 | 7:17 PM

Praise be to Judge Antonin Scalia, for he sees what the rest of us do not. The man for whom nasty, brutish and short is not simply a political formulation, but a mirror image, can look at hundreds of years of slavery, 100 more of legalised segregation and another 50 of daily discrimination and see "racial entitlement" in the basic right to vote in America. I guess it's kind of like the right-wing clown entitlement enjoyed by our current Supreme Court.

Scalia, of course, was a modern Republican (in a robe) before it was even cool. I mean that in the sense that it's clear to anyone taking so much as a gander at what animates the GOP of 2013 -- as well as Scalia's immunity to legal reasoning -- that it's not any set of policy ideas, but simple emotion: all-consuming, blood-curdling, vein-bulging-out-of-the-forehead, Mel Gibson-watching-Fiddler-On-The-Roof ANGER.

Policy-wise, the GOP is an entity that literally lacks any new ideas, has no interest in governing and has rejected all of its own policy positions from as recently as early 2008 as "oh-my-God-we're-all-doomed!" creeping socialism (see: cap and trade, earned-income tax credit, individual healthcare mandate). Rejecting anything right wingers sneeringly see as created by them-there libruls is the secret handshake of modern conservatism.

You believe in global warming? Then they don't, dang it! You accept that human beings didn't ride saddleback on a brachiosaurus into the Battle of Little Bighorn? They have an App for that, the Creation Museum, where you can ride Noah's Ark with your friendly Triassic-period imperial walker. You offer them way-too-friendly a deal on the budget? Then as Cartman from South Park says, "screw you guys... I'm going home".

The most potent example is the rise and fall of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie as conservative heartthrob. He was a Republican Superhero just a year ago, when he headlined what Republican consultant Steve Schmidt called "The Star Wars Bar" of conservative gatherings, the CPAC Conference. Yet, he was quite publicly not invited to this year's CPAC.

So what changed? Christie still opposes women's reproductive justice, doesn't like gay marriage and believes in cutting the social-safety net for the most vulnerable. But a year ago he was publicly screaming at teachers at town hall meetings, which is just about the sexiest thing to a conservative short of executing someone. Since then -- OMG! -- he said nice things about the President of the United States, who, as you know, is a Kenyan, communist interloper. That, my friends, is a non-birther bridge too far.

This is your explanation of why to your average Limbaugh the liberal tent seemingly includes the likes of Dick Lugar, Chuck Hagel and many other once-proud conservatives. They talked to Democrats, you see, and tried to solve stuff. The jerks.

Meanwhile, Antonin Scalia seems to size up any crowd he's in and think to himself, what would a Morlock do? And then does it. That the guy's an activist judge of the first order and his legal opinions on guns, campaign finance reform and the Commerce Clause imply he should be banned from operating heavy machinery, that's only a sweetener to the Right.

This is why that maverick-y maverick John McCain has been able to remain in relatively decent stead on the Right. The key to McCain, as I argued in my 2008 book The Real McCain (to the horror, the horror! of mainstream media back then... who these days have pretty much come to agree with this analysis) is that he legislates via anger. Grudges and perceived slights are what keep him going, like a much-less-talented and equally over-exposed Michael Jordan of politics, with the additional daydreams of carpet bombing large groups of people.

Whether calling his wife some really bad names, bum rushing fellow members of Congress or condescendingly and heartlessly lecturing a mother whose son was killed in the Aurora movie theatre massacre that he has "straight talk" for her, one thing you can count on is that McCain will bring the bitter with a healthy-helping of McNasty (his high school nickname). This is what allows him to survive his occasional maverick-ness on issues like immigration. Well, that and the fact he switches his positions every six years just in time for re-election.

Pre-pubescent angst fuelling vitriolic rage. Sure, it's not a legislative or legal strategy. But it sure feels good.

Follow me on Twitter: @CliffSchecter

This column was first published at Al Jazeera...

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Old White Guys

(0) Comments | Posted March 6, 2013 | 9:47 AM

Who knew that seeming double-centenerian Pete Domenici was such a player? None of us, it turns out, until this week, when the former longtime Senator of New Mexico admitted to an extra-marital affair with a colleague's (Senator Paul Laxalt of Nevada) daughter, which produced a now-thirty-something son.

Domenici is certainly...

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The Ruthless Stupidity Of The Gun Pushers

(56) Comments | Posted March 1, 2013 | 4:30 PM

If the National Rifle Association (NRA) were not so dangerous to the physical health and general welfare of the people of the United States, they'd probably qualify as some of the most unintentionally hilarious people on the planet. Seriously, you can't make this stuff up.

Take executive vice-president of the NRA, (the suspiciously French sounding) Wayne LaPierre. If you started from scratch and constructed an (at least theoretical in his case) human being, you couldn't find a better movie villain. A man who foams at the mouth when fetishising about guns on national TV, attacks sitting Presidents in terms usually reserved for dictators and inaugural-lip syncers and has the look of a howling mad member of Alphonse "Big Boy" Caprice's gang from Dick Tracy - replete with the beady eyes, vestigial rage and bad posture.

That Lapierre's little gaggle of government-fearing, 1970s-Death-Wish-obsessing miscreants actually claim they're trying to increase people's safety can almost make your sides hurt from the hysterics, as it carries with it the legitimacy of Manti T'eo giving lectures on Nigerian bank swindles.

These are the guys who released an iPhone app for kids as young as four to shoot at coffin-shaped targets on the one-month anniversary of the Newtown Massacre. That little high-capacity-magazine of brilliance has probably jetted them right past Applebee's on the sliding scale of public-relations brilliance, up next to Alex Rodriguez.

While the loony-tunes Lapierre and self-appointed She-Ra, Gayle Trotter (we'll get to her in a bit) were busy testifying before Congress last week, NRA President David Keene was also in attendance. Keene, like LaPierre, doesn't believe in closing the gun show loophole, which makes total sense as Keene's son - who's had a history of mental illness - was so responsible with his trusty six-shooter, except for the whole pulling it out and shooting at another driver on the highway thing and for which he went to prison. But, you know, we should still trust David Keene's judgment on these matters.

Apparently, daddy still thinks his son should get to buy a .50 calibre rifle that can take down an airplane without the fuss and muss of a few-minute background check. Because, Freedom!

Mind you, after the 1999 massacre at Columbine High School, the LaPierre/NRA solution included - wait for it, wait for it - closing the private-sale loophole! And more gun-free school zones! Which in current NRA lore exist only to provide irresistible Poison-Ivy-like pheromones to lunatics with assault weapons.

Because the guy who's going to mow down a room full of toddlers uses regression analysis to decide where to start shooting. They may only come to this conclusion 33 percent of the time or less in mass shootings - if we use those crazy statistic things - but you know, it probably was due to some seriously screwed GPS the other 77 percent of the time. I know that happens to me all the time, when I attempt to drive to a (gun-free) movie theatre and the GPS in my car takes me to Ted Nugent's farm.

Luckily, it didn't accidentally take me to Gun Appreciation Day (yeah, that was actually a thing), when careful, NRA-adoring, firearms experts got together across the country to shoot themselves and their friends in a series of totally unpredictable accidents. If only there had been a "good guy with a gun" there to protect them! Am I right, Wayne?

Somewhere Darwin's ghost is clearing his schedule for such future endeavours.

Perhaps, the most hilarious of all these cartoon characters, firearms-expert-based-upon-her-feelings-and-made-up-stuff, is Gail Trotter. She testified in front of Congress about how without AR-15s, mothers across the country would be just helpless to stop a siege by The Baseball Furies, Dead Rabbits and those dancing Gangnam Style. Because even if crime rates are falling rapidly, your chances of being violently burgled are non-existent (.23 percent) and women are seven times more likely to be killed by an intimate partner with a gun in the home than prevent an attack, there are obviously many scenarios these numbers don't take into account.

For example, what if the snake from Anaconda, those nasty little guys from Mars Attacks! and Joe Pesci all break your door down and demand you feed them your babies for fuel in a machines-from-The-Matrix type move? Won't you feel stupid then when you don't have your 100-round-drum magazine?

Of course, what do I know? I'm a hater, just like the Methodists, Catholics, police officers, dead entertainers, shoe companies and baseball teams on the recently taken down (Oops!) NRA Enemies list.

This column first appeared at Al Jazeera English

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Mitt Romney's Anti-Social Stance on Social Security

(4) Comments | Posted February 15, 2012 | 4:19 PM

Mitt Romney, tribune of the people, still doesn't seem to get a simple concept: Social Security is popular. With everybody. And particularly with older tea-party-supporting white voters who can often be counted on to be conservative on numerous other issues, and turn out in elections in key swing states.

...
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Remembering Tucson

(1) Comments | Posted January 11, 2012 | 4:21 PM

It is important that this week, one year after the tragedy at Tucson, we remember those who were senselessly slaughtered there, including a 9-year old girl. It is important that we honor them by doing all we can to make sure this kind of thing never happens again, by making it at least a bit harder for criminals, terrorists and the mentally ill to get their hands on weapons that can kill in a heartbeat.

We must always respect our Bill of Rights, but we must also remember it was Christina Taylor Green's right to have her "general welfare protected," to enjoy the right to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." It was her right to see her 10th...

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When Will Culture Warriors Find Their Rainbow Connection?

(2) Comments | Posted December 14, 2011 | 7:44 PM

Lock the doors. Pull down the shades. Bring in the exorcist, stat.

As I write this, my humble abode is being transformed into a puppet-occupied den of anti-democratic sin. Yes, my kids are watching the Muppets, with some newly-discovered zeal since the theatrical release of the film by the same...

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Everybody Hates Newt Romney

(3) Comments | Posted December 8, 2011 | 11:25 AM

Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney -- the perfect dynamic duo for our times, if not end times. A Batman and Robin for the 1%. Defenders of truth, justice, and a Gulag Archipelago filled with child janitors and the fandango of the foreclosed.

If you're rooting for President Obama,...

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Conservatism Blew Up the Economy

(1) Comments | Posted November 15, 2011 | 3:28 AM

So what do you do when financial analysts are warning that housing prices are headed for a "triple dip," the second largest Swiss Bank (Credit Suisse) announces it's piling 1,500 additional job cuts -- many from the US -- on top of its previously announced 2,000 (after a 12...

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What Can Give You Economic Misery, an Embolism, and a Backyard Full of Elephants?

(0) Comments | Posted November 9, 2011 | 1:19 PM

Although when it comes to the specific date of our mass death, Harold Camping might as well be talking Chinese nuclear development with Herman Cain, it seems a little bit harder to doubt his general prognostication of doom in the weeks after 56 exotic animals were released into the...

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Too Much Is at Stake in Virginia for a Blackout in Coverage

(3) Comments | Posted November 1, 2011 | 4:19 PM

By Lowell Feld & Cliff Schecter

Remember how much coverage the national progressive blogosphere gave the Anthony Weiner special election in NY-09 a few weeks ago? A great deal! How about the New York 23rd Congressional District special election? Again, this one got enormous coverage...

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Golden Calf Conservatives

(0) Comments | Posted October 31, 2011 | 5:54 AM

Whether it's the bronze bull encountered by those occupying Wall Street, the fixation with a Chris Christie presidency not to be, or the ex post facto transformation of Ronald Reagan into Kratos by middle-aged Republican congresspersons who practically start to giggle and spontaneously pulsate just upon hearing his name, there...

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Education Nation or Education Corporation?

(1) Comments | Posted October 21, 2011 | 6:25 PM

Once again this past few weeks, the ongoing education debate in the United States occupied the headlines, bylines and cable news scrolls. NBC launched its second annual "Education Nation Summit," billed as a way "to engage the country in a solutions -- focused conversation about the state of education in...

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No Longer a Rock Party

(2) Comments | Posted October 3, 2011 | 4:13 PM

To fully comprehend the sad spectacle that has become American politics since the 1980s, you need not peruse the politics section of major periodicals. Or the opinion, news or business pages of illustrious publications.

No, lately you'd be best served by heading on over to the obituary section.

...
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Ghallery of Ghouls

(13) Comments | Posted September 27, 2011 | 3:09 PM

Vampire movies and television programmes may be all the rage right now, but not one of them has anything on a good old-fashioned audience of Republican debate watchers.

In a rather shocking -- yet sadly, not surprising -- display of the bloodlust and viciousness usually reserved for members of law...

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Chris Cox's Failed Argument for Forced Concealed Carry

(39) Comments | Posted September 13, 2011 | 9:52 AM

NRA lobbyist Chris Cox recently authored an op-ed for The Daily Caller in which he argued in favor of the National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act (H.R. 822). Sadly, as is often all-too true with the arguments made by the NRA regarding our nation's gun laws, his reasoning was misleading at...

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9/11 and Its Great Transformations

(0) Comments | Posted September 11, 2011 | 8:04 AM

On September 11th, 2001, on what was a perfect morning-right up until the very moment a Boeing 767-223-ER slammed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center, I stood on the corner of Delancey and Ridge Streets in downtown Manhattan.

I was working on an election campaign -- it...

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Beware of the French Cuff Cowboy

(8) Comments | Posted August 29, 2011 | 10:43 AM

If you find yourself wondering how it was you missed the whole 4th season of Walker, Texas Ranger, while forcing yourself to attend Lamaze classes with your significant other. If on cool, crisp days the aforementioned tragedy causes you to wistfully wonder how to fill the emptiness inside -- let...

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