iOS app Android app

Dave Helfert
GET UPDATES FROM Dave Helfert
Dave Helfert can't hold down one job. He's an adjunct Professor of Communication at Johns Hopkins University in Washington, DC. And he teaches graduate courses in political communication at American University, and Policy Communication and Writing at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin and George Mason's School of Public Policy in Arlington, VA. Dave had a 40-year career in political and governmental communication, including nine years as a Congressional Communication Director and six years with the Clinton Administration. Before coming to Washington, he was managing partner of a marketing-advertising agency for nine years and a political-governmental affairs consultant for seven. He has written and produced media in more than 200 Democratic political campaigns.

Entries by Dave Helfert

Discrimination Isn't Part of Religious Freedom. Never Was. Still Isn't.

(0) Comments | Posted March 5, 2014 | 11:29 AM

As we approach the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson on July 2, 1964, it's ironic to see the same kinds of bigotry outlawed by that landmark legislation specifically protected by law in several states and considered by state legislatures in many...

Read Post

Using One Frame of Film to Review the Whole Movie

(0) Comments | Posted December 18, 2013 | 5:19 PM

Depending on their political gland, a lot of folks are either highly agitated or highly elated over the performance of the Obama administration, especially if their opinions are formed or reinforced by day-to-day political news coverage and punditry. But the frustration or elation might be a tad premature because the...

Read Post

Gov. Rick Perry's New Eyeglasses Haven't Improved His Vision

(3) Comments | Posted November 10, 2013 | 5:18 PM

Texas Governor Rick Perry has recently taken to appearing around the country at political events and in television interviews wearing stylish dark-rimmed eyeglasses. And, while, according to some observers, his new specs make him look smarter, he continues to display a profound case of myopia.

Gov. Perry appeared at several...

Read Post

Retreat Hell!

(5) Comments | Posted October 18, 2013 | 12:26 PM

Okay, everybody who thinks the tea party and the other rightwing nuts and bolts in Congress have learned a difficult but valuable lesson take one step forward. Not so fast!

The far right's immediate reaction to overwhelming rejection of tea party priorities by the American public has been to take...

Read Post

Just Sorting Things Out

(2) Comments | Posted October 13, 2013 | 6:26 PM

The government shutdown serves no discernible purpose beyond setting a very dangerous stage for competing political interests to try to advance their agendas and, of course, giving the news media and political commentators an urgent issue to cover and interpret.

Yet it's a fascinating time to be...

Read Post

'What Are You Laughing At? You're Next!'

(1) Comments | Posted September 26, 2013 | 1:55 PM

Tea party-led Republicans in Congress put a gun to their own heads and demanded that President Obama give them everything they want, or else. And when congressional Democrats snickered, they snarled, "What are you laughing at? You're next!"

The wacky tea party plan to force the Obama administration into delaying...

Read Post

Will Enough Ever Be Enough?

(5) Comments | Posted September 19, 2013 | 2:52 PM

A real challenge to writing about the horrific, almost unimaginable shooting rampage at Washington Navy Yard is offering an insight, an observation -- even an argument -- that hasn't been offered before about any one of the six other horrific, unimaginable shootings since the Newtown massacre of 20 first-grade children...

Read Post

It's About Freaking Time!

(2) Comments | Posted August 12, 2013 | 9:06 AM

Five years after Republicans tapped into a gusher of baseless, hateful, often racist and nearly always dishonest claims about President Barack Obama and the Democratic agenda;

Four years after Tea Party Summer, when the FreedomWorks organization, backed financially by the Brothers Koch, brought hundreds of overwrought and...

Read Post

Step by Step

(0) Comments | Posted July 15, 2013 | 12:58 PM

Republicans in the House of Representatives have stated that the word 'comprehensive' is now a nonstarter for any legislative approach to address major issues, even those issues that might require a thoughtful, comprehensive perspective. The GOP preference is to consider solutions to complex national problems, such as healthcare and immigration...

Read Post

I'm Just a Bill

(7) Comments | Posted June 28, 2013 | 3:52 PM

Bill: "I'm just a bill. Yes, I'm only a bill. And I'm sitting here on Capitol Hill."

Citizen: "Hey, Bill. I guess it's really tough to be a bill in Congress these days."

Bill: "Tough? Does a 50 pound sack of flour make a big biscuit? It...

Read Post

Eeeek! I've Been Snooped!

(5) Comments | Posted June 19, 2013 | 6:53 PM

The idea that the United States government might be spying on some of our personal communication is a little creepy. If I phone a friend in Baghdad, Kabul or Moscow, or even London or Paris, there's apparently a chance that a record of my call could wind up in a...

Read Post

'Everything We See Is Perspective, Not the Truth'

(20) Comments | Posted April 24, 2013 | 6:05 PM

In political and governmental communication, the line between spin and propaganda can be pale and indistinct, but there is a line. Spin generally means pushing facts that put your person or your issue in the best light. Nearly every retail pitch inherently uses spin to sell a product or service....

Read Post

If the Other Side Is Crying Foul, It Must Be Working

(0) Comments | Posted February 28, 2013 | 5:26 PM

Congressional Republicans are in full screech about President Barack Obama's "political campaigning instead of leading." They're sweating bullets because he continues to be so successful at marshaling public opinion to the Democratic perspective on fiscal cliffs, spending cuts, tax increases and, generally, who's zoomin' who. Polls tell us Republicans are...

Read Post

America: Armed and Dangerous

(29) Comments | Posted January 8, 2013 | 5:23 PM

A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Those 27 words may have stirred more anger and accusation -- let alone paranoid fantasies and institutional lunacy -- than any other language in...

Read Post

When the House of Representatives Isn't

(1) Comments | Posted December 31, 2012 | 2:54 PM

The fact that Congress is broken is not exactly news. There are a couple of major changes that could actually help repair the Legislative branch, but both would require a constitutional amendment to cover federal and state election laws, and it would take both to really make a difference. The...

Read Post

Freedom's Just Another Word

(6) Comments | Posted December 11, 2012 | 11:32 AM

America is on the verge of losing something very important in Michigan and it isn't getting nearly enough attention, probably because it's just one more act in a long-running drama.

Governor Rick Snyder and a lame duck legislature are short-circuiting their own governing processes and rushing...

Read Post

Sifting Through the Ashes; Lessons From the 2012 Election

(1) Comments | Posted November 9, 2012 | 11:15 AM

We've already heard criticism that the 2012 presidential election was shallow and inconclusive; that both candidates refused to discuss the really important issues facing the country; to say anything specific; to lay out real agendas and let the public decide which course the nation should take.

That's BS. The...

Read Post

The Audacity of Ambition

(7) Comments | Posted October 30, 2012 | 5:05 PM

A wise man told me many years ago that modest people do not seek political office. And in 40 years of covering politicians as a reporter, writing and producing campaign media, working in the Texas Legislature, the Clinton Administration and the U.S. House, I have never found his observation to...

Read Post

You're Not Listening to Me!

(2) Comments | Posted October 2, 2012 | 12:27 PM

When children aren't prevailing in an argument with a parent, the classic response, usually with increasing stridence and volume, is, "You're not listening to me!" And today, as poll after poll shows the presidential election moving away from Mitt Romney's campaign, we're starting to hear that classic response: "America, you're...

Read Post

The FactCheck Election

(44) Comments | Posted September 4, 2012 | 6:00 PM

This may go down in history as the FactCheck Election, the presidential election in which political speeches, statements, utterances and television commercials all had to be reviewed by independent fact checkers to make sure they were true.

How did we get to a point that we need neutral referees to...

Read Post