Thursday, September 23, 2010

President Obama's Town Hall Meeting on the Economy

Highlights of the CNBC Town Hall

Also see Backyard Town Hall Meeting in Virginia

My Take:

He should have been doing nationally televised Town Halls months ago. In fact, he should have been doing these events on a monthly basis from the time he took office. If he would have been doing these back in April.. (just go back to Spring and Summer) the Democrats would be in much better shape right now in terms of public opinion. Instead, they have allowed the conservative media to control the national debate...even to the point of rewriting history to fool and confuse voters, and that has worked for the Republicans very well so far.

But in just the past week, since Democrats decided to fight back (somewhat), their standing has improved. I know this is campaign season.... but some of the strategy that the Democrats are using now should have been used much earlier in the year. I have mentioned Town Halls countless times. One of the big mistakes that Obama made when he won the Presidency was that he disbanded his fact-checking/debunking/ communications teams. The war room of fast reacting staff and volunteers who kept up with much of the lies and misinformation being told about the President during the campaign could have been put to good use during the first 2 years of his Presidency (and beyond). For some reason, President Obama assumed that all would be well after January 2009. But the truth is... on the Republican side, things were just getting started.

I still don't think he completely gets it. The frustration expressed by the guests at the Town Hall was exactly the kind of frustration that Republicans wanted them to have at this point. The GOP wanted to block as much as they could, so that the Presidents own supporters would be frustrated enough to lose faith, give up, and stay home. They definitely were successful at peeling away crucial support from independents. That's why if the Presidential election were held today... it would look more like 2000 or 2004 than the landslide of 2008. And Obama would likely end up on the short end like Gore and Kerry.

But recent polling suggests that when Progressives actually fight back... that when Progressive ideals are put side by side with Tea Party Republican ideals.... that when Progressive plans are compared with Conservative Republican plans, Progressives tend to do a little better in the Court of public opinion. A common sense Progressive vision is much better than what the Tea Party has in mind. Americans are receptive to Progressive views when you break things down into policy and explain it to them in a way that they can comprehend. Why can't Obama and Co. figure this out? Why can't they figure out how to develop a long term strategy that would allow them to compete in the information war?

Their rotten PR annoys me. It's like seeing a superior product being marketed by an atrocious salesman. Companies like this often fail, despite having better stuff.

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