The Bright Coast

Progressive Thoughts from San Diego Alums on Law, Politics, and Culture

President Obama and the Democratic Messaging Strategy

Posted by demkid on February 2, 2010

I finally got around to watching the full, over 1-hour, question and answer session between President Obama and the House Republican Caucus members during their recent party retreat in Baltimore.  I found the President’s performance so impressive that I decided to post it here:

Tom Schaller over at fivethirtyeight sums things up pretty well:

Give the Republicans credit: During the past year they have successfully depicted the country’s economic and fiscal ills as not merely Obama’s inheritance but somehow his legacy. After a decade of Republican-sponsored free lunches, coupled with legitimate but insufficient proposals like earmark reform (which account for about 1 percent of federal spending) and tort reform (which would have a similarly small effect reducing overall health care costs), it’s convenient to chastise the president for fiscal irresponsibility. Equally convenient is the memory hole politics conservatives play: Still blaming Jimmy Carter for the economy 32 years after he left Washington, yet insisting that the statute on Bush-blaming be no more than one year even if the reach of fiscal choices made during those eight years is and will be felt long into the Obama era.

What Obama did Saturday is take the fight to his detractors. It was a certifiable bully pulpit moment, and one that could signal a shift in political posture for the White House. Although the president stressed that he has read the GOP’s proposals and taken into consideration their suggested alternatives, the broader message from the Baltimore meeting is the President is ready to fight. He promised to listen, and called for good faith negotiation; he kept his cool and was funny at key moments. But the subtext was clear: “Enough is enough from you guys.”

Yes, Democrats…start fighting, for once!  Give the public clear examples of how Republicans are obstructing bills merely as a way to score political points.  Don’t give people the perception that you’re being anything but open and transparent.  Don’t let things like the public option twist in the wind forever and destroy the overall health care reform effort.  Work with moderates in the party (and in the GOP!) to find solutions to pressing economic problems, and give independent voters a reason to have a little more faith in how the government is run!  If things are looking up in America come November, voters will know who was working for them throughout 2010.  If things aren’t anymore rosy than they are now, at least a proactive approach will combat GOP attacks, and will put doubt in people’s minds as to whether they want to drastically change course and go forward with another Republican Revolution.

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