Friday, October 09, 2009

In Retrospect....

In retrospect, I think that the President’s trip to Copenhagen was shameful. There would have been absolutely no need for the President to make the trip (as the Senator from Illinois), had he had a good advance team and advisors who proved to be boys playing with sports toys.

Not that every campaign I worked in was perfect, nor were they without screw-ups but at least we knew that you never send the principal into a place where you don’t know what’s going to happen. It’s politics 101. Never leave anything to chance. Especially if you know that there are simple ways to avoid embarrassing situations. For example, when you took a candidate to a neighborhood to go door to door asking for support, you made sure that every door he/she knocked on was already a supporter. The last thing you want to see on the news, is a candidate getting a door slammed in their face. Which is basically what happened to Obama.

It seems that everyone in the world (except the President, his staff, and the people who live in Chicago), knew that the Olympics was going elsewhere. So, if they didn’t know, why didn’t they ask. (Not everyone in Chicago because that would have been too large a crowd, and probably would have made the Olympic Committee nervous.) This White House trip turned out to be more fodder for the right wing talk show hosts.

It is terribly disappointing for those of us who had such high hopes, to think that this President and his staff may just have bad judgment about the message and the media. During the Bush years, the President’s staff was careful to keep him under wraps because you never knew what he actually knew, or what he would say about it, that at the least was grammatically and structurally correct. But this group can’t wait to put Obama on as many TV shows as possible, without I might add, a message that resonates with the people. Do they not get who the people are? Do they not understand the concept of overexposed—even if you have your clothes on.

On one hand they throw him out to be devoured by the Sunday Talk shows, and every possible media outlet but Fox. And on the other hand, the only photographer that has access to the President is his personal photographer. This means that everything you see is what the White House wants you to see. You never get a sense of the man unrehearsed. Everyone who is allowed into the Oval office or gets access to an event, is so controlled that there is no perspective beyond the White House. You may think “who cares about White House photos”. But you should care, and the staff should care because the public has no idea who this man really is. If they did, they might be more willing to offer support for programs with which they not yet unimpressed.

So what can he do to regain the momentum and start to operate with positive rather than negative aspirations. The first thing I would suggest is to stay home and govern. Give the public the sense that he is actually working on health care, unemployment and the economy. Sure the stock market is up and the rich are back to getting richer, but he will never get anything accomplished if he doesn’t start to think about the consequences of his decisions, as well as what the pundits are going to say about what they have determined are his failures. Just stay home. We’re just sayin’…Iris

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