Thursday, December 09, 2010

Obama and the Bully Pulpit

The truth is I could probably defend the Obama tax cut compromise. I think it gives up too much for too little, but I could make a case for it if I wanted to. The question here is, why can't President Obama?

When President Obama was sworn in it was generally accepted that he was a master orator, on par with FDR, JFK, and Reagan. While there have been a few signs of that skill he has basically been a failure at one of the most important jobs a President has, selling his agenda.

Tax plan, to Democrats.
Take that tax cut compromise. It was dropped, plop, like a dead fish, at the feet of Democrats with no preparation, no pre-release salesmanship. When it was met with disgust, Obama held a quick presser. While he made a good case in the press conference he undermined it by getting snippy and defensive. He came off like a salesman insulting customers who question the price of his widgets.

Obama made a similar mistake with health care reform. He was oddly quiet while Republicans defined the conditions of the debate (Death Panels). In July, the climate change bill was dying due to inattention when he vowed to fight for it. He never mentioned the subject again.

President Obama has never used the bully pulpit of the presidency to set and sell his agenda. Some say its because Obama is afraid to fight. Others say he has lost the convictions that caused him to run for office. Or, perhaps, he is so determined to be liked by those who hate him he is ignoring the people who love him.

Whatever the reason, his empty pulpit has hurt Obama, Democrats, and the nation in uncountable ways.
Art source.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nice observations. I sure didn't like the feeling that the President was lecturing me like a disappointed parent for holding on to principles I thought he agreed with, while sparing Republicans, who he basically gave in to.

On one hand he is correct about what we need to get done. But, he is also wrong. And, treating your friends and supporters with "You just get it, do you" arrogance, is off-putting at best.