Obama stays on message about his messaging problem

Obama sits down for a post-shellacking interview with 60 Minutes. And surprise! The president is claiming that his policies aren’t the problem, but rather he has a messaging problem:

“You know, I think that over the course of two years we were so busy and so focused on getting a bunch of stuff done that we stopped paying attention to the fact that leadership isn’t just legislation. That it’s a matter of persuading people. And giving them confidence and bringing them together. And setting a tone. And making an argument that people can understand. And I think that we haven’t always been successful at that,” Obama replied.

Is he serious about this? Saying that you just haven’t made “an argument that people can understand,” while it may seem like convenient way to avoid confronting the possibility that people do understand your policies and don’t like them, is a terrible excuse and tantamount to admitting you are a really bad politician.

We have two narratives here. One, is that the American people watched the President nationalize GM, bailout Wall Street, and take flamethrower to their tax dollars with the stimulus bill while unemployment was hitting double digits. Rather than focus on jobs, he then spent the next year telling Americans that if the government took over large swaths of the health care industry, we could supply health insurance to 30 million more people, save a trillion dollars over twenty years, oh, and if you like your health insurance you can keep it. And funnily enough, the American people were either too dense, too anti-government, too-racist or too something to understand how massive Medicare cuts and aggressive price controls are going to make their lives better.

Option two, is coming to terms with the fact the President, a man “who has an ear for eloquence and a tongue dipped in the unvarnished truth,” couldn’t explain to the American people that he was bequeathing legislative gold to them — even after 54 speeches on health care, including a joint session of Congress and a prime time infomercial. And this is the explanation that Obama thinks will help him.

Adding insult to injury, this notion that Obama just hasn’t made an argument people can understand is something that the President has said before. He’s on message about having messaging problem, which is itself indicative of an altogether different messaging problem! I guarantee that unless he comes to terms with his policy failures in much more direct terms, his support among Americans will erode further.

Beltway ConfidentialmessagingObamaUS

Just Posted

Dominion Voting Systems, a Denver-based vendor, is under contract to supply voting machines for elections in San Francisco. (Kevin N. Hume/Examiner file)
Is San Francisco’s elections director impeding voting machine progress?

Open source technology could break up existing monopoly

The 49ers take on the Packers in Week 3 of the NFL season, before heading into a tough stretch of divisional opponents. (Courtesy San Francisco 49ers)
‘Good for Ball’ or ‘Bad for Ball’ — A Niners analysis

By Mychael Urban Special to The Examiner What’s the first thing that… Continue reading

Health experts praised Salesforce for keeping its Dreamforce conference at Moscone Center outdoors and on a small scale. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
Happy birthday, Marc Benioff. Your company did the right thing

Salesforce kept Dreamforce small, which made all kinds of sense

Former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, pictured with Rose Pak in 2014, says the late Chinatown activist was “helping to guide the community away from the divisions, politically.”
Willie and Rose: How an alliance for the ages shaped SF

How the Mayor and Chinatown activist shaped San Francisco, then and now

The Grove in Golden Gate Park is maintained largely by those who remember San Francisco’s 20,000 AIDS victims.<ins> (Open Eye Pictures/New York Times)</ins>
Looking at COVID through the SF prism of AIDS

AIDS took 40 years to claim 700,000 lives. COVID surpassed that number in 21 months

Most Read