The latest issue of Newsweek is worth a read. The publication, which is not exactly known as a conservative platform, ran a very well written piece on why President Obama does not deserve a second term. The case is presented mostly in terms of failed economic policies. That case is real and powerful and should be enough to convince independents.
But the president doesn’t believe the case against him is very strong. A few weeks ago Charlie Rose asked the president to identify the biggest failure so far of his presidency. Missteps in his economic policies were not mentioned, foreign policy failures in Egypt, Syria, Libya, weren’t either, and garnering zero votes in Congress for his budget proposal was certainly not mentioned. Instead of something real, Obama’s answer was that he hadn’t delivered his message well enough and promised to work on his storytelling skills. An ocean separates the two sides here.
Surely a more humble man would have handled the question differently. One way would have been to suggest that programs which his administration has implemented have been too slow in showing fruition, but they’ll pick up. Another possibility could have been to identify a low priority department/issue/program which has received little press and therefore is unfamiliar to most voters, express regret for letting it slip through the cracks and then add in a campaign promise to remedy the lack of attention it has received.
More specific answers, unique to this president, could have been trying to get Chicago the Olympics by addressing, in person, the International Olympic Committee, or meditating a misdemeanor between Henry Louis Gates Jr. and some white cop to the definitive and greatly productive conclusion of agreeing to disagree. Both of those are downright humiliations which have eroded away some of the prestige of the office of the President of the United States. But a savvy communicator could have phrased them in less embarrassing fashion by saying something along the lines of ‘I wish I could’ve brought the Olympics to America’ and ‘I shouldn’t have involved myself in the Henry Louis Gates Jr. incident because as a federal officer I had no jurisdiction’, then add that crowd pleasing smile.
Unfortunately the president went another direction. Instead of being humbled by unemployment numbers or the amount he has raised the National Debt, the president went with saying he has failed to tell us how awesome of a job he is doing, which is why we the people have just not fully grasped his awesomeness. That is a preposterous suggestion. A low approval rating is a critique of job performance, not a Neilson rating of programming attractiveness.
This is not the first time the president has blamed his failures on the American people. After he took a shellacking in the 2010 midterms the president gave an odd speech and then took the following question from NBC’s Savanna Guthrie,
“You don’t seem to be reflecting or second-guessing any of the policy decisions you’ve made, instead saying the message the voters were sending was about frustration with the economy, or maybe even talking about too a failure on your part to communicate effectively. If you’re not reflecting on your policy agenda, is it possible voters can conclude you’re still not getting it?”
The president dodged the question and Guthrie, not exactly a rightwing Mike Wallace, followed up with, “But do you still resist the notion that voters rejected the policy choices you made?” The President responded with the following linguistic harmony;
“Well, you know, Savannah, I think that what I think is absolutely true is, voters are not satisfied with the outcomes. I mean, if – if right now we had 5 percent unemployment instead of 9.6 percent unemployment, then people would have more confidence in those policy choices. The fact is – is that, you know, for most folks, you know, proof of whether they work or not is, has the economy gotten back to where it needs to be? And it hasn’t.
“And so my job is to make sure that, you know, I’m looking at all ideas that are on the table. When it comes to job creation, if Republicans have good ideas for job growth that can drive down the unemployment rate and we haven’t thought of them, we haven’t looked at them but we think they have a chance of working, we want to try some. You know, so on the policy front, I think the most important thing is to say that we’re not going to rule out ideas because they’re Democrat or Republican. We want to just see what works. And ultimately I’ll be judged as president as to the bottom line: results.” – the eloquent President Obama.
We are judging this president by the results, and we don’t like them. He didn’t get it when the 2010 referendum on his hope and change came back rejecting his choice of priorities and he still doesn’t get it today. The case against the president is very real.
It’s time for a successful business leader who will focus on working instead of an adjunct professor who promises to focus on talking about working. We do not elect a story teller. We elect a president.