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I heard a statistic a few minutes ago on MSNBC that blew me away -- and not in a good way.

:: ::

In early January 2008, I came out of the divorce-induced political hibernation I had been in for the past several years, and I got all fired up for a guy who seemed to embody the zeitgeist like nobody since John Fitzgerald Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Throughout that year, among the many reasons I saw to believe in and support Barack Obama, one of the strongest reasons was that with his ability to communicate, I knew we would see the Presidential bully pulpit being used more effectively than it had been used in generations.

Obviously, President Obama didn't wield the bully pulpit brilliantly, as I had expected. In fact, he didn't wield it much at all. This is a major reason the Republicans have been able to spread many of their Big Lies about the stimulus, health care reform, the deficit, taxes, and the alleged failure of the Obama Presidency.

To his credit, the President did figure this out quite a while ago and started trying to turn it around, which is part of why I'm supporting him so strongly. The Republicans, of course, are ridiculing this idea. Lyin' Ryan has added a line to his stump speech about how the problem with this Presidency is not that the President didn't talk enough, hahahahaha.

But today on NOW with Alex Wagner, HuffPo's Sam Stein provided almost irrefutable proof that the President indeed did not talk enough, or at least didn't talk enough to the American people about the what, how, and why of his policy provisions, or what they accomplished:

What he's gotta do, I think, is twofold: One I think is explain exactly what the accomplishments are that he achieved -- I mean, I know it's sort of cliche, but he has to re-explain the health care law again. People still don't get it. And when I was in Tampa, reporting on that convention, we called up 12 stimulus recipients in the Tampa area. Eleven of them had no idea they got stimulus money.

(Emphasis mine.)

I don't even know what else there is to say. It speaks so loudly for itself. I guess the only, rather obvious, observation left to make is that this convention has got to do everything possible to remedy those earlier omissions.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (17+ / 0-)

    "These are not candidates. These are the empty stand-ins for lobbyists' policies to be legislated later." - Chimpy, 9/24/10

    by NWTerriD on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 10:41:55 AM PDT

  •  I don't see how this is on Pres Obama... (25+ / 0-)

    I'd blame more the MSM and it's more on House Dems and Dem challengers to run on these facts which would help educate folks.  I mean the information is out there - people just don't try to be informed anymore.  They want to be spoonfed and the federal government can't be running ads not stop explaining to folks why they got that extra money in their pockets.  And it's tragic/funny as hell that these folks got extra money and they don't bother to see why and where it came from?

    Folks think that foreign aid is a huge chunk of the federal budget for crying out loud.  The electorate is so bloody ill informed.  

    We have a greed with which we have agreed. -Eddie Vedder "Society"

    by Jacoby Jonze on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 10:50:05 AM PDT

    •  Agreed completely (8+ / 0-)

      To be fair, I have frequently heard the president tout the benefits of the stimulus and its benefits.  The problem is that the GOP repeated the simple and untrue message that the stimulus did nothing.  Perhaps more importantly (since we should expect this trickery from the GOP), the media did NOTHING to highlight the facts -- the benefits -- of the stimulus. Moreover, it spent its time on the drama of the stimulus vote and the political conflict over it.   Why blame the president  (a reminder: he may be a god speaker but he's not a magical wizard) when the real culprits are available?

      I vote Democratic because I am a woman with self-respect , who rejects bigotry of all kinds, subscribes to science, believes in universal health care, embraces unions, and endorses smart internationalist foreign policy.

      by Delilah on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 10:55:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Freudian slip-- (5+ / 0-)

        a GOOD speaker, not God.  LOL LOL!

        I vote Democratic because I am a woman with self-respect , who rejects bigotry of all kinds, subscribes to science, believes in universal health care, embraces unions, and endorses smart internationalist foreign policy.

        by Delilah on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 10:57:06 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The President Himself Acknowledged (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          eXtina, NWTerriD, litho, mightymouse

          ... after Scott Brown's 2010 win in Massachussetts that he didn't do a good job in focusing on the politics of policy proposals.  While he believed in his policies, he said that he needed to do a better job in effectively communicating them.  

          Well, what I would say is that in this environment, in this political environment, what I haven't always been successful at doing is breaking through the noise and speaking directly to the American people in a way that during the campaign you could do.
          Yes, the Republicans blocked and obstructed at every turn, but simplifying one's message to appeal to a greater number of people does not signify intellectual weakness or shallowness.

          Several years ago, I watched the late economist John Kenneth Galbraith on C-SPAN and, in a lengthy interview, he gave his opinions on a wide variety of issues.  In one respect, he said, the greatest achievement of New Deal era intellectuals was to take complex political and economic ideas and explain them in easy-to-understand language to the general public.  That, he reiterated, in turn contributed to continued support for FDR's policies and his ambitious agenda.

          I recently read an article that suggested that even if he wins re-election in 2012, the President intends to vigorously campaign for future policies.  In other words, keep the focus on explaining and selling his policies around the country.

      •  I think I'm using the term bully pulpit (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Chi, mightymouse

        more broadly than some people here. I expected effective PR and messaging from this White House, on a par with the campaign. Sure the President was a brilliant speaker, but they also had a creative, innovative and brilliant structure in place of multiple forms of communication that supported the central themes of his campaign in a coherent and seamless way.

        There was nothing like that once it was a White House rather than a campaign.

        "These are not candidates. These are the empty stand-ins for lobbyists' policies to be legislated later." - Chimpy, 9/24/10

        by NWTerriD on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 11:22:51 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't disagree with you. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          They could have spent more effort on orchestrating their PR, on par with their campaign.  That's a very fair point.  I just don't think there is one reason for why people don't understand the benefits of the stimulus.  

          I vote Democratic because I am a woman with self-respect , who rejects bigotry of all kinds, subscribes to science, believes in universal health care, embraces unions, and endorses smart internationalist foreign policy.

          by Delilah on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 11:43:33 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  MSNBC: "Obama has to tell the public." (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      eXtina, cishart, elmo, IndyReader

      No, YOU DO.

      •  We all do (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        How many of us avoid talking politics with friends and neighbors because we want to avoid confrontation? Or we just don't want to be so impolite as to point out to these people that they believe things that are simply not true?

        It's all of our job to set things right, because we surely all will suffer if we don't.

      •  he does too (0+ / 0-)

        it's pretty simple.

        no one here has the platform he does.

        An ambulance can only go so fast - Neil Young

        by mightymouse on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 02:10:31 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Of course people don't try to be informed. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Chi, mightymouse

      That's exactly why the WH needed to mount an effective messaging operation. If the people won't come to the information, the information needs to go to the people.

      There are many ways to communicate besides running ads.

      "These are not candidates. These are the empty stand-ins for lobbyists' policies to be legislated later." - Chimpy, 9/24/10

      by NWTerriD on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 11:25:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, what can you do to address the problem (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        liquidman, IndyReader


        Sorry, I don't think writing a diary on a blog criticizing the President qualifies as addressing the problem.

      •  The issue here is that the President will never (0+ / 0-)

        be able to outspend the Republicans and the media in their combined efforts to negatively spin his accomplishments....

        We are talking about the President and the administration amassing a major selling campaign during regular season, not during the hyper overdrive period of the elections, to sell his policies.

        It is hard enough for them to raise the funds they need for campaigning during an election year, much less during regular periods of the year. The combination of the media and Republican efforts would outflank them many times over.

        That is why the media, who is in the business of reporting the news and not being in the business of being referee in an unending battle of false equivalences, should do their jobs and report what the President has done. President Obama even with his incredible skills as a public speaker can only do just so much....

    •  Why isn't Bill Nelson involved in this equation? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NWTerriD, IndyReader

      Why haven't Shumer, Durbin, et al done a better job of sharing the communication load over the last 4 years?
      And Dem congresspeople.

      You can't make this stuff up.

      by David54 on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 11:52:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Agreed. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        But I didn't start out 2009 with tons of faith in Bill Nelson because of demonstrated excellence as a communicator. I guess I just held the President to a higher standard.

        "These are not candidates. These are the empty stand-ins for lobbyists' policies to be legislated later." - Chimpy, 9/24/10

        by NWTerriD on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 12:15:49 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  He's the boss. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      The buck stops with him. That is a terrible resul on. The stimulus money.

      "Democracy is only real if we all participate" -- Bea Bookler, 94 year-old voter disenfranchised by Voter-ID

      by 8ackgr0und N015e on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 12:02:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The Tragedy of 2010 Was Hard Measurement of (8+ / 0-)

    this, and it's what Republicans are counting on happening again by pitching only to their base. The idea of Obamacare stealing from Medicare was sold to seniors back then, in the absence of much Democratic salesmanship, to help give Republicans their big win.

    However this time Obama and surrogates are doing a much better job than in 2009-10 and the polling this time warrants cautious optimism. This time in 2010 it was obvious Democrats were in serious trouble.

    There isn't time at this point to educate voters on the many different points that have been left untaught these past 3 1/2 years. Dems and the President need to stick to issues already familiar to voters where they're mostly able to accept the Democratic message, and maybe teach a very few other points.

    The war on women is probably their best issue because unlike health care it's not one where the conservatives have portrayed the Democrats as the attackers while they're defending. They're attacking over half the entire population and announcing that they're attacking, so really all the Dems need to do is point it out.

    Politicians have 2 and only 2 functions: performance and motivation. Because the opposition can degrade or stymie performance, motivation is the one thing the politician is most able to control and deliver. Whatever anyone may feel is the breakdown of Democratic message and policy of 2009-10, certainly the combination was one of the most disastrous in memory.

    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 Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 10:52:08 AM PDT

    •  I really think the president took a pass (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NWTerriD, Chi, mightymouse, chrississippi

      in 2010, but he's clearly not passing this time.  His communication team is the most effective I've seen in some time, if not ever, and he's been hammering home on the key points of his message for the better part of a year.  In fact, I'd say the president has been on point and on message since the debt ceiling debacle just over a year ago.

      For all that time, he's been building his narrative to be exactly at the point he's at now, slightly ahead of the opposition heading into the one time of the presidential cycle that most people are paying attention to what the candidates are saying.

      When you add to that the obvious hypocrisy and frank disarray on the Republican side, I'd say the president is well-positioned to win reelection.

      Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free
      ¡Boycott Arizona!

      by litho on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 11:21:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  2 words- Citizens United. n/t (0+ / 0-)
  •  The "bully pulpit" is a myth. (7+ / 0-)

    The theory that Presidential rhetoric is an effective method for swaying public opinion on issues, or for getting Congress to pass legislation, has been refuted by virtually every study done on the question.

    This isn't the West Wing.  Giving pretty speeches is great for election campaigns, but it doesn't really do anything when it comes time to actually govern.

    The sole piece of evidence you offer is that people in Tampa didn't realize their city had gotten stimulus money.  The problem with this theory is that Obama spent the entirety of 2010 loudly trumpeting the stimulus bill - using the bully pulpit, as it were.  It didn't work, because the bully pulpit is a myth.

    Art is the handmaid of human good.

    by joe from Lowell on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 10:52:15 AM PDT

    •  are you kidding me? (8+ / 0-)

      Effective top-down message strategy is absolutely PIVOTAL.  It doesn't itself govern, but it conveys governance and policy.

      The country doesn't understand 'stimulus'.  It doesn't understand 'ACA' it doesn't understand the 'American Jobs Act'.

      It DOES understand GOP rhetoric of

      That's why they get half the vote.

      Obama is an excellent orator--but has had trouble articulating, packaging and SELLING policy--largely because the Democrats have trouble articulating policy and shaping message.  

      •  It's pivotal for elections, sure. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        It doesn't actually do anything otherwise.

        This isn't a matter of opinion.  There has been a mountain of studies done by political scientists on the question.

        As evidence of this, I'll note that Barack Obama, who "has trouble articulating, packaging, and SELLING policy," oversaw the passage of the most extensive legislative agenda of any President since LBJ, including every single one of those brilliant communicators in the Republican Party.

        The importance of political communication is vastly overstates by people (like the media, and people who write about politics on the internet) who have a particular interest in communicating about politics.

        Art is the handmaid of human good.

        by joe from Lowell on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 11:55:36 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  to the public. (0+ / 0-)

          he has trouble selling policy to the public.

          and the legislative agendas are continuously blocked by the GOP so we have this watered down version of everything.  That isn't Obama's fault--

          But it's not as if we have a coup here.  This isn't the New Deal or the Great Society.

          •  They all do. The Bully Pulpit is a myth. (0+ / 0-)

            All Presidents have trouble selling policy to the public.  Presidential rhetoric just is not effective at doing that, especially in an era of polarization.  It convinces nobody, just increases the level of commitment among the partisans.

            Art is the handmaid of human good.

            by joe from Lowell on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 04:36:41 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  How did he trumpet it? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Chi, mightymouse

      Did most people hear what he said? Did the adminstration specifically communicate to every stimulus-assisted company and each of their employees and the communities in which they operate, that this project, this business, this job are attributable to the federal stimulus?

      Did you ever see a sign on a construction project saying "YOUR STIMULUS DOLLARS AT WORK!" Did you see recipients of stimulus funds on the local news talking about how they were able to retain 275 employees because of stimulus funds?

      Don't tell me effective communication doesn't change anything. There's this skinny guy with an African name who is proof to the contrary.

      And I understand the sample size issue; I'm a math teacher. But unless you think those 12 stimulus are different from all the other stimulus recipients for some reason, 1 out of 12 is a fairly persuasive sample despite the fact that it's so small.

      "These are not candidates. These are the empty stand-ins for lobbyists' policies to be legislated later." - Chimpy, 9/24/10

      by NWTerriD on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 11:19:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  There were road signs in Minnesota (0+ / 0-)

        How well I remember them from the traffic backups.  American Recovery Act may not connect with people as the stimulus.  

      •  SATSQ (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        joe from Lowell
        Did you ever see a sign on a construction project saying "YOUR STIMULUS DOLLARS AT WORK!"

        Every other question up there is media-related. Given the wet and sloppy kisses the media gives to the austerians, and their blackout of all things Edwards besides his wayward penis, you're surprised? All they wanted to show was GOPers flapping about porkulus while posing with novelty checks, never bothering to ask what those novelty checks were about.

        •  Effective PR gets the message into the media. (0+ / 0-)

          You don't wait for the media to go looking for stimulus recipients to get on the local news; you make it happen.

          And the question of the administration making sure companies, employees and communities were aware of stimulus grants affecting them is not about the media.

          "These are not candidates. These are the empty stand-ins for lobbyists' policies to be legislated later." - Chimpy, 9/24/10

          by NWTerriD on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 11:57:28 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  By talking about it a lot, using the bully pulpit. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:


        No, but what does that targeted letter-writing have to do with the bully pulpit?

        Yes, "funded by the ARRA" signs are ubiquitous on construction projects.

        Yes, I frequently saw news stories, especially in 2009-2010, about projects that received Recovery Act funds.

        I'm going to tell you exactly what I already told you, and hope it sinks in this time; effective communication is important for elections.  It's not important for swaying public opinion on issues, or for passing legislation through Congress.  This is not a matter of opinion: this is well-established fact, with a mountain of research to back it up.

        And if you were a logic teacher instead of a math teacher, it might have occurred to you that counting the number of people who didn't know something tells us absolutely nothing about why they didn't know it, or what was done to help them know it.  In this case, the evidence of those people who didn't know about the stimulus, combined with the huge effort the administration made to sell it, is pretty compelling support for my (not actually original to me, but widely understood among political researchers) observation that Presidential rhetoric is not a good way to move public opinion.

        Art is the handmaid of human good.

        by joe from Lowell on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 12:02:02 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  asdf (0+ / 0-)
          I'm going to tell you exactly what I already told you, and hope it sinks in this time
          Might want to wok on some more effective messaging.

          "These are not candidates. These are the empty stand-ins for lobbyists' policies to be legislated later." - Chimpy, 9/24/10

          by NWTerriD on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 12:20:16 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  "Funded by ARRA" is not "Your stimulus dollars (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          at work."

          When I see the alleged mountain of research, I can evaluate it.

          Obama himself has acknowledged that they didn't put enough emphasis on explaining and selling, so evidently the "huge effort they made to sell it" wasn't all huge enough.

          And I would appreciate it if you would find a different way to communicate that doesn't involve personal insults.

          "These are not candidates. These are the empty stand-ins for lobbyists' policies to be legislated later." - Chimpy, 9/24/10

          by NWTerriD on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 12:28:49 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Then find the research. Till then, don't opine. (0+ / 0-)

            Reality-based thinking revolves around holding off on the formulation of an opinion until one has the evidence one needs to draw a conclusion.

            Tell me, did you wait for a mountain of research before stating an opinion that the bully pulpit is powerful?

            Art is the handmaid of human good.

            by joe from Lowell on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 04:40:14 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  (actually you haven't posted any yourself) (0+ / 0-)

              I've found several studies on my own that support your argument--but don't go around chastizing other people for what you yourself have failed to do.  

              'refuted by virtually every study done on the question' wouldn't hold any water in a peer-reviewed political journal.

              In any case--the 'bully pulpit' IS effective PR--if the public doesn't understand something (like the Aff. Healthcare Act) the bully pulpit can be used to package it.  Maybe you're not going to use it to sway votes directly--but if you can't market something it's not going to sell anyway.  The bully pulpit is absolutely essential in framing--and framing does, in fact, sell.

    •  A Recent Example That Suggests There Is Real (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      value in using the bully pulpit is the president's evolution on marriage equality.  After his announcement, opinions in the black community measurably shifted towards the president's position.

      After losing the MA Senate seat, I recall most of the president's rhetoric leading up to the 2010 elections being used to defend/ explain the ACA and arguing for more stimulus.  From Feb. 2010:

      Mr. Obama has not given up hope of progress on Capitol Hill, aides said, and has scheduled a session with Republican leaders on health care later this month. But in the aftermath of a special election in Massachusetts that cost Democrats unilateral control of the Senate, the White House is getting ready to act on its own in the face of partisan gridlock heading into the midterm campaign.

      “We are reviewing a list of presidential executive orders and directives to get the job done across a front of issues,” said Rahm Emanuel, the White House chief of staff.

      The Democrats failure to embrace and message the ACA as economic stimulus, as consumer protection, and as Medicare savings contributed greatly to their Nov. 2010 losses.  

      IIRC there was a lot of second guessing about the ACA having been pushed instead of a Jobs Bill.  The Dems seemed to let the GOTP candidates steam roll them with the slogan "Jobs! Jobs! Jobs!" and gigantic lies about the policies they had enacted because they never really fought back.  

      •  One answer in an interview is the bully pulpit? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        NLinStPaul, IndyReader

        It's funny, I see this all the time:

        Barack Obama spent enormous amounts of time throughout 2009-2010 selling the benefits of the stimulus and Keynesian economics in general, giving speech after speech, including prominent mentions in two SOTU speeches, but because it didn't work, people claim that he never used the bully pulpit.

        Meanwhile, he answered a question once in an interview, and because there was a bump in support among a core constituency that was already inclined to follow him, it gets trotted out as evidence that the bully pulpit works.

        What is true about Presidential rhetoric is that it is polarizing.  People who already support the President are more likely to support a position, and those who oppose him are more likely to oppose it, after hearing the President take a side on an issue.  Look at how quickly conservatives turned against Trayvon Martin, for instance, after Obama addressed the case, while before he spoke, National Review magazine ran a piece titled "Al Sharpton is right" about the shooting.

        As for the stimulus, you just proved my point: the President used his almighty bully pulpit, but without enough Congressional Dems backing him up, his message disappeared.  That is not how a potent political tool works.

        So does your observation about pushing health care.  Yes, that substantive change of actual political effort -  launching an effort to pass a health care bill instead of another stimulus bill - caused the public to think that the administration wasn't doing enough on jobs.  It wasn't the rhetoric; it was the reality.

        Art is the handmaid of human good.

        by joe from Lowell on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 12:09:36 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I recall Pres Reagan (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mightymouse, organicus

      using the bully pulpit and scaring dems [in Congress] into voting for what he wanted.

      The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

      by dfarrah on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 12:41:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's the myth, anyway. (0+ / 0-)

        Others recall his awesome bully pulpit powers winning the Cold War.  That's a myth, too.

        Since Reagan is eulogized as the Great Communicator, his presidency in particular has been subject to a lot of research into the efficacy of his rhetoric at both moving public opinion and moving Congress.  The consensus among researchers is that the effect was minimal or nonexistent.

        Art is the handmaid of human good.

        by joe from Lowell on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 04:43:07 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  hmmm ... Iraq War? (0+ / 0-)

      the Bush admin was totally on message all the time.

      and they got their war!

      and besides - the point is not necessarily to sway Congress (the diarist didn't even bring that up, c'mon) - the point is to inform the public, to create a continual narrative so that, as events happen, they will have a frame to place them in.

      a narrative is a MUST if the admin really wants change.

      An ambulance can only go so fast - Neil Young

      by mightymouse on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 02:14:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Bush's rhetoric didn't budge public opinion at all (0+ / 0-)

        Support for the war never got above the same 40% it started with, all through Bush's rhetorical push.  It was only when the boots hit the ground and there were Americans going to fight that the Rally Around the Flag effect moved public opinion.  Noting that one thing happened after the other doesn't mean that one caused the other.

        And then, of course, all of the rhetoric in the world couldn't prevent public support from collapsing in 2-3 years.  Where was the bully pulpit then?

        Meanwhile, all the on-message bully pulpiteering in the world couldn't make Social Security privatization even remotely popular.  That was the core political priority of Bush's second term, the one that the entire administration dedicated itself to selling, including a national tour, extending over months, by the President himself, and the initiative died an ugly death anyway.

        I don't question the importance of narratives.  I question the myth that the President has a unique ability to establish narratives using public messaging.

        Art is the handmaid of human good.

        by joe from Lowell on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 04:48:20 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  ah you don't question importance of narratives (0+ / 0-)

          well that's good.

          in your view, does the president/administration have any role in establishing a partisan narrative?

          An ambulance can only go so fast - Neil Young

          by mightymouse on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 04:52:28 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  A narrative "for" one's partisans, or "by" them? (0+ / 0-)

            I'm not exactly sure what "establishing a partisan narrative" means in your question.

            As I've said already, presidential rhetoric works to wind up support among partisans on both sides, so it can be used effectively to define a narrative to one's own partisans.

            But in terms of effectively pushing one party's narrative about issues, at the expense of the other party's narrative about those issues, no, presidential rhetoric just isn't very good at that.  As we've seen over and over with Obama's efforts to push Republican-conceived ideas, the effect is to cause people to equate the idea with the President himself, and stake out a position on the idea based on their feelings about the President.

            People in a better position to establish a narrative among the general public include neighbors, local officials, respected clergy, celebrities, particularly well-executed protest movements, and family members.

            Art is the handmaid of human good.

            by joe from Lowell on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 05:02:03 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  That "myth" is now part of Obama's campaign (0+ / 0-)
      Over his first term, Mr. Obama, 51 years old, has fundamentally shifted his view of modern presidential power, say those who know him well. He is now convinced the most essential part of his job, given politically divided Washington, is rallying public opinion to his side.

      As a result, if he wins a second term, Mr. Obama plans to remain in campaign mode. “Barack is grayer, but he’s wiser from the battles,” says Charles Ogletree, a friend and one of Mr. Obama’s professors at Harvard. “This time Barack will use the bully pulpit.”

      The president views a second term in some ways as a second chance, an opportunity to approach the office differently, according to close aides. He would like to tackle issues such as climate change, immigration, education and filibuster reform.

      Obama’s Plans for a Second Term Include Rallying Public Opinion

      Hey, joe, haven't you maintained that the President already tackled climate change?

      "I am confident that we're going to be able to leave the Gulf Coast in better shape than it was before." Barack Obama

      by quagmiremonkey on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 07:11:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  This is going to sound nitpicky (6+ / 0-)

    But calling up 12 people doesn't yield a "statistic."  It's an anecdote.

    That having been said, I appreciate this diary and I do believe that what's been done with the stimulus money could be better communicated.

    However... the media needs to take at least half the blame. Obama and his administration can get the message out there but if the media doesn't report it, or reports it and follows up with "Here's a Republican to explain why that money isn't going to help anyone..." then the message doesn't get out.

    "Well, the problem here is that you're out of candy. You're gonna need more candy." Rachel Maddow on the Big Bailout

    by cishart on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 10:53:01 AM PDT

  •  The corporate owned media (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Diogenes2008, jan4insight, jayden

    does not allow it.

    •  Send letters to every recipient of stimulus funds (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jayden, eXtina

      saying "Congratulations on qualifying for this grant from the Federal Stimulus! Working together, we can rebuild America!"

      Media can't stop him from doing that.

      "These are not candidates. These are the empty stand-ins for lobbyists' policies to be legislated later." - Chimpy, 9/24/10

      by NWTerriD on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 11:11:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  And that would cost taxpayers how much? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        And can't you just see the outraged headlines and Rep talking heads? "Obama is spending millions in taxpayer funds for what amounts to campaigning for a 2nd term!"

        "Well, the problem here is that you're out of candy. You're gonna need more candy." Rachel Maddow on the Big Bailout

        by cishart on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 11:28:43 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  That's exactly (0+ / 0-)

        what happened with the rebates from ACA. I got a letter and I didn't even get a refund.

        Did you see support for ACA surge as a you did not.

        Try again.

        Almost everything you do will seem insignificant, but it is important that you do it. - Mahatma Gandhi

        by NLinStPaul on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 12:44:31 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I cannot tell you the number of times (7+ / 0-)

    I have tried to explain to my coworkers that the reason they are employed at all right now is due to Pres Obama.  Our grant was funded only due to loosening of the NIH funds under the ARRA. We'd submitted it twice prior to the stimulus, and though it got excellent scores, there was no funding available for it. Third time, we submitted after the ARRA went through.  It got excellent scores again, and that time there were actually funds available for it.  It's what is keeping our lab afloat and paying my coworkers' salaries.

     I actually had one coworker try to tell me she'd heard that under Obama research funds would dry up, and Romney would support research.  Where do they get this crap from?

    Here's a handy interactive map to pass around:
    This is NIH grants alone.  Mine is one of the 201 in Utah, and the company I used to work for got another of them -- of course, the management there are all republicans but had no qualms at all taking "government handouts" in the form of grants.

    "On their backs were vermiculate patterns that were maps of the world in its becoming. Maps...of a thing which could not be put back. Not be made right again."

    by middleagedhousewife on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 11:01:50 AM PDT

    •  An ignorant coworker in a situation (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      middleagedhousewife, eXtina, NWTerriD

      like what you just described is also the fault of management. But when management hates the hand that feeds it then it's no small wonder your coworker believes the complete opposite of what is actually true.

      We live in a very brainwashed society.

      Not this mind and not this heart, I won't rot • Mumford & Sons

      by jayden on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 11:19:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  This just underscores how stupid, deliberate (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jayden, NLinStPaul

    or not the American voters are. I do not know how one person, the POTUS, can speak anymore to the public than this one has.  He does have other things to do you know, and you can only simplify the message so much before it becomes meaningless empty phrases.

    Can you remember a POTUS that has spoken to more people and has had more Q&As than this one?

    Sanity needs to be brought into this ridiculous pully bulpit meme. The American people need to take their share of the blame here.

  •  Good chunk of the stimulus money was tax cuts ... (6+ / 0-)

    If you got a tax cut in 2009/2010 then you got stimulus money. How many people know that? Most people don't.

    Don't forget to register to vote here:

    by bepanda on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 11:15:40 AM PDT

  •  I partly agree with you (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NWTerriD, mightymouse, Minnesota Deb

    in that President Obama clearly could've done a better job communicating.

    However I think this disconnect of people claiming they don't receive government benefits when they in fact do is something that predates Obama and had little to do with his communication or lack thereof.  Not long ago Suzanne Mettler of Cornell did a study titled "The Submerged State", basing her study off a 2008 poll, which found that while 57% of Americans claimed they had never used a government program, 94% of them had in fact received some sort of government assistance.  An amazing 44% of Social Security beneficiaries believed they received no government assistance.

    Perhaps a more vigorous campaign on the part of President Obama and Democrats might've increased Americans' awareness of Stimulus benefits they received, but when 44% of people receiving Social Security checks don't even know they're getting government help, it's hard to see how effective such a campaign might've been, especially in this era of news saturation.  The reality is that this is not like the days of FDR, when people were grateful for any aid they received from government because before that they'd received practically none - in 1933 there was no Social Security, no Medicare, no food stamps, only right states had any kind of unemployment insurance program, and the federal government itself represented just 7% of GDP.  FDR didn't have to constantly barnstorm and campaign to simply remind people of the government assistance they'd received, he only gave one or two fireside chats a year.  By contrast today Americans have lived with a large federal government and safety net for decades, federal spending now makes up 24% of GDP, far outpacing such levels even at the height of the New Deal.

    Throw into the mix a decades-long propaganda campaign by the right to discredit government, disseminated through a massive communications infrastructure they've built up in the last 30 years, and you have an environment where believers in the benefits of proactive government are at a severe disadvantage.  

    "Better the occasional faults of a Government that lives in the spirit of charity than the consistent omissions of a Government frozen in the ice of its own indifference." - Franklin D. Roosevelt

    by puakev on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 11:18:31 AM PDT

  •  Individuals were called? Or who? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    what kind of 'stimulus recipients'? What is a stimulus recipient? Did they share any details?

    "I'm sculpting now. Landscapes mostly." ~ Yogi Bear

    by eXtina on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 11:19:27 AM PDT

  •  In a similar vein, on MSNBC a day or two back (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eXtina, litho, NWTerriD

    someone went through a litany of half a dozen or more prime indicators of the general economy that were all far to the good better than they were '4 years ago', and yet the 'Are you any better off than you were four years ago?' bit goes largely unchallenged.  

    •  Objective vs. subjective (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NWTerriD, Dr Erich Bloodaxe RN

      While the objective indicators are pretty good, there's still an awful lot of hurt out in the country and folks aren't too confident about the future.  Of course, a big part of the problem is Republican intransigence in Congress, which prevents the president from moving forward on key parts of his agenda, but what people perceive is that things are bad.

      I do think the president can overcome this subjective problem, but it does pose an obstacle to his reelection campaign.  It's the only thing giving the GOP hope they can pull off an upset.

      Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free
      ¡Boycott Arizona!

      by litho on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 11:28:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  How many people even know of Michael Grunwald's (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    book the

    Michael Grunwald, a Time magazine correspondent, this week publishes The New New Deal: The Hidden Story of Change in the Obama Era, a gripping account of President Obama’s stimulus bill. Grunwald writes that the stimulus has transformed America—and American politics—in ways that we have failed to recognize. I interviewed him by email about the book

    and are quoting anything from it?

    "I'm sculpting now. Landscapes mostly." ~ Yogi Bear

    by eXtina on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 11:31:32 AM PDT

  •  Is it Obama's failure OR (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    is it that he has been drowned out by the right

    •  both (0+ / 0-)

      drowned out by the right is a given, unfortunately, in today's world. this is not the admin's fault.

      however, the admin could have done better messaging.

      Obama himself has said so iirc - a few months back - one of his self-ID'd mistakes was spending too much time making policy and not enough explaining it.

      An ambulance can only go so fast - Neil Young

      by mightymouse on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 02:19:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  A factor to consider: the sheer number of problems (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Minnesota Deb

    I would agree that the Obama communications team didn't perform at the optimal level. HOWEVER,...

    not only they operated in a media environment that makes a democratic message very difficult to get through, but the sheer number of crisis they had to confront siphoned their energy.

    The stimulus was passed within a month of the inauguration. The minute the stimulus was passed, the Obama team had to tackle all the other crisis. Don't forget that credit was frozen and they had to decide what to do about Tarp part two. The bank stress  tests and everything...  And remember this little detail of an auto industry on the verge of collapse ??  The housing crisis ?
    President Obama also decided, quite courageously, to attack the enormous problem of Health Care. He was RIGHT to attack it from the get go because it's easier to do big things at the beginning of the term when you have some political capital to spend.
    President Obama also had some very serious URGENT work to do on the foreign policy front. Decisions about Irak, about Afghanistan. And he travelled all over the world, working to restore the reputation and leadership of the USA, to repair many alliances that had been strained.

    I followed this administration DAILY since the beginning, and the first two years were PURE MADNESS. I honestly didn't know how the whole team was able to sustain such a rhythm. EVERYTHING was urgent, EVERYTHING demanded attention.

    Just another example: the signing of the ACA was historic, no ? In normal circumstances, after the signing we would have had weeks of talk about it, President traveling all around the country to promote it, etc... I mean... this was so BIG...
    BUT in the days that followed, the President's attention ( and the media's) was already on something else. It wasn't a small distraction; it was something important, either Afghanistan, or the Salt Treaty... I don't remember , sorry. But I just remember thinking that boy this presidency was crazy difficult; President Obama didn't have time to enjoy his victory and to promote his law because he had still some urgent problems to solve.

    I repeat, the first two years of the Obama presidency were extremely busy, historically busy. Rahm Emmanuel once said that the Clinton presidency was "a picnic compared to this". So let's be very careful when assessing the communication aspect of it. Selling policies necessitates time and repetition. So no surprise that communication took the back seat while they were trying to put America back on track after the destructive Bush years.

    In the last two years, communication has been better. The discussion about taxes for the wealthy is a good example. Is it solely because the Obama team has "corrected" its ways, or is it also because they have more time on their hands ???

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