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For awhile now I have been reevaluating Obama and his accomplishments (or lack thereof) while in office. My gut is I am about as middle of the road on Obama as anybody gets. I don't think he has been a "great" nor a "terrible" President. I think most of his best accomplishments don't look like much, cause he just stopped shit from blowing up. You know the economy. The financial system. American car industry. You just don't get much credit for accomplishments like this. No matter how true it might be, it just isn't easy to campaign on, "well it could have been a lot worse."

But look at areas where he has had a lot of success and they almost all share one thing. They are in foreign affairs, where the President can pretty much do as he sees fit.

This brings me to a quote Steve Benen flagged today at Washington Monthly:

“Enough with the soft approach,” said Corey O’Brien, a Democratic Lackawanna County commissioner and early backer of Mr. Obama. “He’s got to say, ‘I’m in charge, and I’m going to get it done with or without Congress.’”

In the post Steve mentions he hears this a lot. I hear it a lot. I bet you do as well. But Obama, in domestic affairs, can't just do whatever he wants.

Below the fold how Obama and his campaign team can use this disadvantage to their advantage.

Before my idea, just a quick note. As a 20+ year marketing guy I can get very mad at our party. (1) We often can't create a simple message, then hammer it home. (2) Often our message when we do come up with one is too darn complex. The below idea is meant to be stupid simple. Not complex.

I know we've all heard and seen that Obama appears he is going to run against a "do nothing Congress." Clearly I got no problem with this. Cause well they are a do nothing Congress. They appear to only be able to name Post Offices and attempt to take away the rights of say a women to get the reproductive health care she desires.

Factor that into Congress has an approval rating that is within the margin of error of the popularity of Herpes, it seems like a no-brainer.

But IMHO he needs to take it another step or two. Explain that when he has been able to implement the plans and policies he supports, LIKE WITH FOREIGN AFFAIRS, he has gotten shit done. So he needs to be reelected but we also have to give him back control of the House and a 60+ majority in the Senate.

Otherwise nothing, I mean nothing will get done.

This isn't a complex message. It is easy to understand. Obama can only get stuff done if he has a Congress that will let people vote on his policies. Right now that isn't happening.

This works on so many levels. Again, a simple message. It is true, which never hurts. And he works to get both him and other folks in our party elected. Just a win, win, win across the board.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TomP, ItsSimpleSimon, Cedwyn, Adam AZ, poe, x

    When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

    by webranding on Wed Nov 30, 2011 at 08:15:36 AM PST

  •  Again, This Isn't Some Grand, Complex Idea (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TomP, Cedwyn

    it is straightforward and true. I really hope Obama goes this way and the other folks in our party get behind repeating this 24/7.

    When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

    by webranding on Wed Nov 30, 2011 at 08:16:48 AM PST

  •  I like it. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    webranding, Adam AZ

    I suspect they may do something similar, perhaps more subtly.  Hope so.

    I'm from the Elizabeth Warren and Darcy Burner Wing of the Democratic Party!

    by TomP on Wed Nov 30, 2011 at 08:17:59 AM PST

    •  Well I Hope They Don't Play Around The Edges (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TomP

      they just need to come out and say it.

      Now some might not like a few of the things Obama got done in his first two years, when he could at least get some votes on stuff, but that is when everything that he did on the Domestic side actually got done.

      When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

      by webranding on Wed Nov 30, 2011 at 08:22:35 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Gaahhh! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hardhatmama, mdmslle

    Obama first and foremost needs to pick 3-4 policy positions he will stick with through thick and thin to define himself.  Right now it's hard to tell what he stands for because he's adept at bargaining away positions he's championed.

    Obama doesn't need a pliant Congress - he needs a stronger moral compass that others can follow.  That's a huge part of being a leader.

    We reach for the stars with shaking hands in bare-knuckle times.

    by TheOrchid on Wed Nov 30, 2011 at 08:27:37 AM PST

    •  and a strong moral compass gets him what (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jj32, Adam AZ

      in the face of GOP majorities in Congress?  

      did you seriously just suggest that the composition of congress is irrelevant?

      My goal is to make the world safe for anarchy. - 4Freedom

      by Cedwyn on Wed Nov 30, 2011 at 08:32:13 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  We Can Argue If Obama Should Give In (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Adam AZ

        but IMHO he does it cause it is his only, I mean his only chance to get anything done.

        When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

        by webranding on Wed Nov 30, 2011 at 08:33:22 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Did you seriously just suggest... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mdmslle, hardhatmama

        ...the President needs no moral compass?

        Well, that's not surprising--a lot of Democrats have come to that conclusion as well.  It's one reason they lost in 2010 so badly.

        But saying the President needs majorities in Congress is not a winning message, not if people aren't convinced he's a guy they want to follow.  The public is still making up its mind about Obama.  Ergo, he needs to find 3-4 points people can follow, and that he sticks with, so people can comfortably decide to vote for him.

        We reach for the stars with shaking hands in bare-knuckle times.

        by TheOrchid on Wed Nov 30, 2011 at 08:45:22 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  i said nothing of a sort (0+ / 0-)

          i just asked what a moral compass gets him with an intransigent congress. i.e., a moral compass is not enough.

          not the same thing at all.

          so back to what i did say, are you seriously suggesting that the composition of congress is irrelevant, that all obama has to do is lead?

          My goal is to make the world safe for anarchy. - 4Freedom

          by Cedwyn on Wed Nov 30, 2011 at 09:09:03 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  i can't speak for orchid but I agree that that's (0+ / 0-)

            not a winning message, as messages go.

            And I also agree that he's got deeper work to do than calling for a "better congress" as a strategy. Lots of folks are not sure he's the guy who cares about what they themselves care about anymore. That's a problem. How to get young people and first time voters who came out for him because they believed he cared about their issues back to the polls. Saying essentially:"I care but congress fucked me up", is not a winning message or a particularly strong position. Especially since Dems DID have the much vaunted majority for his first two years. You and I know that it wasn't a real majority but that doesn't change the fact that all the media and GOP (same thing) talked about for two years was the "democratic supermajority". So you want the president to explain why those two years didn't count as democratic majorities? Want him to point out who's a blue dog and who fucked up a bigger stimulus - or whatever?

            I think that "bad congress" message would not be effective.

            Now, does he need a strong democratic (preferably progressive) congress to do bold things? Yes. But this discussion is about messaging.

            I've become re-radicalized. Thanks a lot you bunch of oligarchical fascist sons-of-bitches. But once again, I have no choice. Bring it the fuck on.

            by mdmslle on Wed Nov 30, 2011 at 09:27:00 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Contrary to the talking points Obama has a solid (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      webranding

      moral compass.  He may make bargains (a political reality) but if the bargain isn't sufficient he keeps fighting.  Case in point tax cuts on the rich.  Yes, he extended the Bush tax cuts in exchange for very important laws and funding, but he never relented the position that taxes on the wealthy need to be raised and he continues to press this issue.

  •  Jesus Christ, Better Obama Messages Would (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hardhatmama

    fill the library of Congress.

    That's not the problem.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Wed Nov 30, 2011 at 08:42:17 AM PST

  •  not sure about this one webranding... (0+ / 0-)

    I respect your experience and perspective. We come from similar roots that way but I'm not sure this one works. I believe the public says: "um, you had a majority".

    And while we wonks know that it really wasn't, much was made of the "democratic majority" for two straight years. And when "nothing" got done the public decided to change the congressional make up.

    I think obama's biggest problem is his greatest strength: he's not a scrapper. He's cool, calm, collected and dignified.

    People are hanging on by their fingernails in this economy. And those who aren't are just thankful the other shoe hasn't landed on them. Yet.

    There's frustration and anger. We are desperate to be heard and cared about. It's why OWS resonates with 2/3 of Americans.

    I don't think blaming the make up of congress would go far for this president. Not when he was not seen as fighting that congress, even losing to it. The actions wouldn't back up that message. I'm not sure people believe he'd "do what he did" in foreign policy domestically IF he could have the "right congress". I'm not convinced people would buy that. Why would they? They believe he HAD that congress and...still virtually nothing.

    This is where out poor messaging catches up to us. Because for two years, Dems did accomplish stuff. But there were no grand pronouncements, no back patting, no parades. So all Americans know is Dems passed a health care bill that they're not sure they even like and doesnt do much for them personally, and that's pretty much it.

    I'm not sure what the message ought to be. IMO, the president would be wise to "do" class war - this country isn't working the way it should for far too many people - and beat that drum and related issues hard across the heads of the GOP and conservative democrats. If OWS can change a national narrative in 60 days (sounds like a book: how to change a national narrative in 60 days) surely the president ought to be able to.

    I've become re-radicalized. Thanks a lot you bunch of oligarchical fascist sons-of-bitches. But once again, I have no choice. Bring it the fuck on.

    by mdmslle on Wed Nov 30, 2011 at 09:15:14 AM PST

  •  He sure was able to send a lot of troops to... (0+ / 0-)

    ...Afghanistan.

    But IMHO he needs to take it another step or two. Explain that when he has been able to implement the plans and policies he supports, LIKE WITH FOREIGN AFFAIRS, he has gotten shit done.

    "If I can't dance, then I don't want to be in your revolution"--Emma Goldman

    by ehrenfeucht games on Wed Nov 30, 2011 at 09:41:08 AM PST

  •  This is pretty much the message I've settled (0+ / 0-)

    on for convincing Dems to stick with President Obama. That and the crazy on the other side of the aisle. I once wrote the president encouraging him to pick the brains of senior members of Congress (Byrd, Kennedy) to find ways around Congress to get something done. There are so many obscure rules, procedural moves and loopholes, especially in the Senate. Those guys had seen it all. He does seem to be embracing that strategy to some degree. I agree, the difference in what he has accomplished in foreign vs domestic policy is stark, for the reasons you state. Hopefully that translates to the voters.

    "The answer to violence is even more democracy. Even more humanity." Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg

    by poe on Wed Nov 30, 2011 at 09:48:26 AM PST

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