Obama Out of the Bubble, Onto the Battlefield of Persuasion
When there’s hard work that needs to be done for the sake of a nation, and it involves real change and a smarter way of problem solving, you can’t assume that people are going to understand it on their own. Nor can you assume that our Congress is capable of embracing change and acting on it. It all comes down to the art of persuasion and using one’s influence effectively. So it was with great interest that I read the news that the Obama administration is revamping it’s communication strategy.
This is sorely needed, and it is just what I’ve been saying is needed for the past several months in conversations with my friends and students. The President can’t persuade Congress to make meaningful changes if he’s allowing Congress to define the narrative.
According to the article linked above, now the President is at last stepping up his game. It’s high time. Nature hates a vacuum, and the perceived leadership vacuum in this country over the past year has been eagerly filled with polarization or reluctantly filled with disappointment. The people that put Obama into office are increasingly disappointed in what he’s done with it. That means apathy come election time, which sets up the potential for a sweeping change BACK to what it was before he got elected.
In other words, the forces arrayed against the President see a chance to take us right back to where they left off, using the mantra of tax cuts and the promotion of ‘the end justifies the means, to the political drive that squandered our fortune and cost us the goodwill of so many around the world, while decimating the middle class and increasing the wealth of the few at the expense of the many. It’s a change we can’t afford, never could really, and it’s a very real and present danger unless the White House fundamentally changes the way it leads.
It’s a fact that we the people perceive Congress as representing all the entrenched special interests that finance their campaigns. They’ve created the mess we’re in, added to it, and multiplied it at every turn. Our skepticism of their ability to do anything other than further muddy the water is at an all time high. We recognize that the members of Congress tend to see every choice in front of them through a political lens by default, and that they consistently fail to take into account the whole of the country in their deliberations.
Evan Bayh, the retiring Democratic Senator from Indiana accurately described the situation in a televised interview: “We need some real reform here … the public’s business is just not getting done, and at a time of desperate need for our country,” he said. “We’ve got to vote out the ideologues who are unwilling to accept half a loaf rather than none, and we’ve got to vote out the partisans who care more about their political fortunes than the country.”
The President’s window of opportunity to get real change, the kind we can ‘believe in,’ is diminishing daily. America needs leadership, and this President is in a unique position to provide it. His rhetorical gifts are amazing, and they are the defining edge necessary to turning our ship of state away from the shoals and doldrums and towards safe harbor.
But time’s a wasting. He needs to get out in front of the American people and inoculate us against the poison of fake news. He needs to get out in front of the big issues on his agenda, shape the perceptions of the populace with his massive persuasion skills. And he needs to call to account those in Congress who are hell bent on a scorched earth approach to governance.
My guess is that the American people will back the President if he just stands up and delivers the intelligence, leadership and drive that got him to the White House in the first place.
Your feedback and comments are always welcome.