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February 15, 2010

The White House Has A Fever And The Only Prescription Is More Obama

The problem isn't the policies, it's the communication. That's the age old answer when an enterprise is failing. It's a lot easier to change the brochure or website than it is to retool the whole assembly line. This is especially true for a President, who in many ways is the product...he is who he is.

Aside from the so-called "stimulus" (which is now wildly unpopular), the Obama administration hasn't gotten much done and has seen the Presidents approval ratings plunge.

So naturally they've devised a 4 point communications plan to turn things around. Basically it comes down to...We Need More Obama!

First, they said, is a return to the disciplined messaging that was a hallmark of the 2008 campaign, in which unhelpful themes were filtered out in favor of topics that advanced the candidate's goals. In the White House, they said, that will mean a tighter focus on Obama's commitment to the economy and jobs for average Americans. "The threshold for things he will go out and talk about is higher," one senior aide said.

Second, White House advisers promise a quicker, more aggressive response to GOP attacks on the president and his policies. They noted that Obama and his top White House advisers have pushed back hard against Republican accusations that the FBI mishandled the interrogation of the man accused of trying to bomb an airliner on Christmas Day -- and as Biden did on Sunday.


A third change is a return to the backdrops for Obama that aides considered so effective during the presidential bid. The image of Obama standing in the Diplomatic Room surrounded by men in dark suits will be replaced, as often as possible, by scenes of a more relaxed president in crowds. The goal is to have Obama travel outside of Washington -- what they call "the bubble" -- at least once a week, advisers said.

Finally, aides said it was recognized inside the West Wing that Obama has strayed from his most successful message of the campaign: that he would be a change agent in Washington.

Good luck with that guys.

Yes Obama is still personally very popular but that hasn't mattered much when it's come to results,, has it? Ask the Democrats how they are enjoying their wins in NJ, VA and MA...oh wait.

This is simply a perpetual campaign. It makes sense that they would go this way because that's what Obama is good at. Problem is, that's not his job anymore. Once you become President, politics is supposed to become a means to an end, producing policies. The two are related and interconnected but not actually the same.

Look at the first point, message control. After a year in the White House they don't get that they simply can't control the message and the news of the day the way they did during the campaign.

Team Obama really should recall the words of former UK Prime Minister when asked what the greatest challenge for a leader was answered, "'Events, my dear boy, events'. From a cop arresting a friend to an attempt to blow up an airliner, it's obvious disciplined messaging only gets you so far.

The biggest event however is the economy. The problem for Obama is that his prescriptions only make things worse for the majority of Americans. No amount of communication genius is going to convince people who are out of work or worried about losing their jobs to ignore the basic realities of life.

Besides, does anyone really think the most exposed President in history only needed more and smarter exposure to turn things around? Again, good luck with that one guys.

Update: David Brooks emails to say, "This plan does nothing to address the challenge of keeping President Dreamy, er, I mean Obama's, pants perfectly creased. Failure to pay attention to the important things will only lead to disaster. Disaster I tell you!".

Always nice to hear from Mr. Brooks.

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posted by DrewM. at 12:32 PM

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