Monday, August 22, 2011
If I Were President Obama's Campaign Manager...
The latest Gallup poll indicates that President Obama's overall approval rating stands at 41%, and his handling of the economy receives kudos from only 26% of respondents. Ouch. Clearly something is very, very wrong in the minds of a majority of Americans with this presidency.
I'm sure that I'd probably be the last person suspected of wanting to help this president recover. It would seem absurd that such a dyed-in-the-wool libertarian would come to the aid of a president who, quite frankly, shares few common beliefs with me. However, the truth of the matter is that the 2012 election, in my opinion, remains Barack Obama's to lose, rather than the Republicans' to win. No candidate on the red side of the ticket has enough legs either in the primary or the general election to unseat a sitting President. Believe me...it pains me to say this about someone like Ron Paul...but it's the truth. Though the "top tier" of Republican candidates (Romney, Perry and Bachmann) are excelling amongst the Republican base, there is no way that the entire country will vote for the possibility of a George W. Bush redux.
Hence, it seems likely that we will have four more years of Barack Obama. So...rather than giving in to bitterness, I want to help this president because the country simply cannot afford (literally and figuratively) to repeat the morass of the last four years. If I was the president's campaign manager, here would be my suggestions to him:
1) Do something. Anything. Seriously. Even though I enjoy Warren Harding's presidency for its inaction, it simply does not do for a president to appear this indecisive. If you're going to do nothing, at least look like you're doing it on purpose. When asked about a jobs plan, you do not say "ask me in a month" right before you go on an expensive, exclusive and, presumably, taxpayer-funded vacation to Martha's Vineyard. Even if your suggestions and actions are going to be wrong, and lampooned by people like me, it's better than this Hamlet act you have going.
2) Stop talking. This suggestion partners with #1. You are a gifted public speaker, Mr. President. There is no doubt that you have the power to galvanize entire rooms of people with your rhetorical skills (and indeed, the entire country three years ago). However, lately you've started to remind me of Leslie Nielsen in the Naked Gun. Please stop giving speeches reassuring people.
3) If you must talk, be brutally honest. I understand that you are a politician. Part of your job is spin. I get that. You have to usually frame and phrase events in the best possible light. However, people are hurting. People are suffering. People know that things are not going well right now. You need to stop with the sweeping statements of grandeur. You need to stop calling upon Congress and the American people to do things. Just talk to us like we're adults. We can handle it.
4) Finally, STOP WORRYING ABOUT GETTING RE-ELECTED! This last suggestion wraps around the other three. In normal times, you would need to get out there and start stumping about the issues. However, you've reached a point in American history where there's only one issue: jobs. It's not a secret. You are the sitting President, but have the good fortune of an opposition party who cannot find a firebrand like Bill Clinton or Ronald Reagan to threaten the incumbent (yet). The irony is that the less you campaign and the more that you become an action President, the better you will do against your inevitable challenger, even if they do find someone who isn't a stuffed shirt. In the meantime, you will have improved the country...which is something I agree with, no matter what your party is.