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  • Obama’s Weekend Media Adventure

    Sunday’s unprecedented presidential tour of (most of) the network news represents a subtle admission on the part of White House strategists that surely must unnerve his liberal allies. Obama, they seem to have concluded, is the only Administration official capable of making the case to the American people. Where, one must ask, are the usual suspects who traditionally man the battlements and carry the president’s message on major policy initiatives?

    Take another look at those YouTube videos of Sen. Arlen Specter’s raucous early August town hall meeting with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. Sebelius’ shrill demeanor and obvious impatience with the “mob” of Pennsylvania constituents has relegated her to the Administration’s “B” team. The would-be health czar, former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, an able communicator and acknowledged health expert, has a permanent seat on the bench for obvious reasons. The current health czar, Nancy Ann DeParle, knows the technicalities of health policy but lacks the communications skills now in demand. And no responsible Administration strategist wants to trust the President’s premier domestic policy initiative, indeed his political legacy, to Vice President Joe Biden.

    Meanwhile, at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, the most obvious candidates for this role are uber-liberals whose popularity begins and ends in liberal enclaves such as Hollywood, San Francisco, and New York City. Thus the Administration’s, and the Democrats’, conundrum: their trained health policy experts are not communicators and their trained communicators are not health policy experts.

    No, all roads lead back to the president, who might be forgiven for asking his allies (with apologies to Casey Stengel): Can’t anybody here play this game?

    This latest high-profile public relations gambit, of course, comes on the heels of the last high-profile public relations gambit barely ten days ago. His September 9th speech before the joint session of Congress generated a short-lived, 72-hour bump in some polls. A close look at the Rasmussen daily tracking polls both before and since that speech suggest this movement was concentrated among white, middle-aged women who, in any event, have since returned to their pre-speech level of fear and loathing.

    What could the president possibly say now that would yield a permanent boost in support for his plan?

    First, he needs to clarify exactly what “plan” he supports. Right now, Americans of all philosophical dispositions are reading their own worst fears into their understanding of “the plan.” Conservatives and middle-of-the-road voters hear talk of government-run health plans, higher taxes, trillions in new spending, mandates, fees, fines, and coverage for abortions and illegal immigrants and cringe. Liberals, meanwhile, listen to their heroes downplay the importance of “robust” public plans, fret about the effect the plan may have on employers, and watch them perform back flips to woo moderate Democratic lawmakers and interpret this as code for a corporate-driven sell-out of timeless liberal principles. It’s a debilitating two-front war; only clarity can stem the carnage.

    Second, after the president tells us exactly what approach he favors, he needs to descend from the lofty rhetorical heights of the joint session speech and explain exactly how the plan would work, how its provisions would change t he way we will obtain our health care, and why this is desirable. He must honestly and forthrightly discuss the trade-offs that are unavoidable in any ambitious reform of our health system – i.e., whether the mandates, taxes, and fines that will be required to implement his plan will threaten jobs or affect take-home pay; whether reductions in reimbursements to physicians and other health providers will make it more difficult to find a physician; whether the 9 million seniors in Medicare Advantage plans will continue to purchase their coverage from these plans or be forced to return to the traditional Medicare program.

    There are no easy answers to these questions. But if the president is to don the mantle of health-communicator-in-chief, he must confront these trade-offs head-on. No more of the “all things for all people” rhetoric that has so tarnished his credibility with the political middle and right.

    And if this doesn’t work? What then? A tour of the PBS kids shows, NFL Sunday Halftime roundtables, Iron Chef competitions, the History Channel? Will he plug his plan alongside Barry Manilow on the Vegas Strip?

    The president, it seems, is running out of options.

    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    19 Responses to Obama’s Weekend Media Adventure

    1. Bill San Antonio TX says:

      The POTUS is making a big mistake by not including FOX News for interviews.

      They ask tough questions; isn't that good reporting? Isn't that good for the people? Isn't that good for the Constitution?

      Americans know the other networks roll out "powder puff" questions and don't pursue the point agressively with Obama's admin.

      Is the intent of our media watchdogs to make him feel comfortable or to dig for accurate info and get to the truth?

      FOX News has a huge following from all Americans, because people are realizing it is the only place (for the most part) where you can get a relatively honest scoop.

      The subliminal messages being sent by other news media is laughable. They think most Americans cannot tell the difference. Unfortunately, more can see through this slanted journalism than they understand.

      Since over 70% of news folks consider themselves "liberal" this should not be surprising, thanks to our liberal journalistic colleges and universities.

      The POTUS should not duck FOX News. He will be treated fair and balanced. Yes, he will be expected to answer some tough questions.

      Isn't that his job?

    2. Karen. Michigan says:

      You are so right. Excellent article but the questions you pose, if answered, would kill health care bills forever. That's why Obama isn't answering those questions.

    3. Bobbie Jay says:

      I DON'T WORK FOR CONGRESS, I'M NOT A CONGRESSPERSON, I'M THE INFLUENCE TO TAKE YOUR PERSONAL PRIVATE HEALTH CARE AWAY. WITH ARLEN SPECTOR ON MY LEFT!

      THE BILL MUST DIE. NO GOVERNMENT INITIATIVE TO THE PEOPLES' HEALTH ALLOWED. IT ONLY INVITES MORE CORRUPTION. NO GOVERNMENT COMPETITION, IT'S UNETHICAL TO THE FREEDOMS OF THE PEOPLE.

    4. Darlene says:

      I agree; leaving out FOX is sooo obviously a bad move. He'll be preaching to the choir and making no new strides; at least that is my hope!

      When is President Obama going to stop acting like a celebrity on a movie promo and start acting like a President?

    5. Normca says:

      The president does not have the dignity to act his position. Even the CEO of ACORN went on Fox. What he doesn't realize is Chris

      [Mike] Wallace is not different than Wolf the Blitzed or Georgie. However B Huessen Obama is a coward. He lets all of his surrogates do his dirty work; Eric Holder for one. He cannot answer the questions as he will, as he did previously let the proverbial cat out of the bag. Linda Douglas tries to put the words back in the mouth. Obama is after a Hugo take over of the USA and he cannot have it [as long as the people stand up against it].

    6. Bill, Forney, TX says:

      The POTUS has not put forth his actual plan. He obviously has one since he has noted its pricetag in speeches and how it will be paid for (remember, no new taxes). Let us see & debate HIS plan so that the Obama supporters charges of mis-information can be dealt with fairly (there can be no mis-information if there is no actual plan). The truth is, when Obama's actual plan, w/ all the details is rolled out, the criticism will be real and will kill the bill. If the Senate can carry the ball over the line and get the bill to the joint committee, Obama's arm-twisting will REALLY begin and we will know only at that time what his real bill looks like. THAT's why he has not proposed actual legislation.

    7. Jill, California says:

      There's a bright side to Obama's not appearing on Fox News … Fox viewers weren't subjected to that buffoon any more than necessary.

      Fox News may be fair and balanced. However, this president has violated my trust too much and too often for me to ever give him the benefit of the doubt. The less I see him and hear him, the better.

    8. Lloyd Scallan - New says:

      Egotistical is one word to describe Obama. He actually believes he is GOD, and every word that comes from his mouth must be accepted as truth. He thinks we must all look past his lies (which is most everything he says) and accept his word as if it came from the burning bush. The one big question is who created Obama? I understand that most politicians do have a ego problem, but Obama is way beyond that.

    9. StepIntoTheLight, Mi says:

      President Obama attacks Fox News every chance he gets for one simple reason: they are showing Americans the truth behind this Administration.

      Anyone who has spent anytime watching Glenn, Sean, Bill, Greta, etc. will know they are informed and trying to get the REAL news to their viewers so they can make their own decisions.

      President Obama can keep spouting off campaign-style speeches and liberal rhetoric, which the alphabet media is happy to spout off at their shrinking viewer base, while Fox News continues gaining popularity among Americans who are beginning to realize this was not the hope and change they really wanted for our nation.

    10. Burlington says:

      Who wrote H.R. 3200? Glen Beck has claimed that the Apollo Alliance wrote the STIMULUS and CAP and TRADE bills.

      He suspects that they also wrote H.R. 3200.

      What the hell is going on? The country needs to know if legislation is authored not by elected senators or representatives but outside interests.

    11. Bill, Kansas City, M says:

      Darlene,

      He doesn't know how to act like a President. Unfortunately, he is not a leader. In MHO, he is in way over his head and is not sure what to do.

    12. Bob says:

      There is still the ;;ohn Stewart show and the Colbert Report.

    13. Bob, Portland, OR says:

      This is simple folks.

      He thinks he can sell us on a massive industry grab…and your taxes won't go up.

      If they get health care, the amount you will pay in taxes to cover goc-care will be three times what you currently pay for health insurance.

      They want control of the money funneling into health care so they can bilk it off for other things and raise taxes whenever they see fit.

      Mr. Obama, once Americans catch you in a single lie, you have no more chances with us.

      But you continue to do it, thinking the result will be different.

      Curious isn't it.

    14. Slick, Nebraska says:

      MAYBE the objective of the media blitz this weekend was not so much to talk about health care; instead it may have been designed to REMIND the sideline media whose side THEY are supposed to be on. You know, a few suave words and a big smile from the President puts a lot of glue in the cracks!

      Between the controversy about Van Jones, ACORN, and the President's liberal Czars, even the sideline media has to be wondering why they aren't covering these stories. So I think there is a distinct possibility that the President's appearance all over TV world on Sunday was to remind the home team media that they NEED to keep their eye on the ball and not stray!!!!

    15. Jaydee says:

      Almost humorous…I have a neighbor who says "That man is not allowed on my television!" Ha…guess she didn't get to watch much on Sunday, did she? While I thought of Joe Wilson as 'rude' and it probably was not the civil thing to do, at least he voiced what everyone else was politely thinking, just did not have the courage to say it. Oops, they were all practicing civility and trying to avoid being called 'bickersome.' (New word)

      I think we all need to follow his lead and speak out for our beliefs. How does that song go? "If you don't stand for something, you will fall for anything?"

      I keep asking my friends who 'fell' for it how that hopey/changey thing is working out for them and not one of them ever gives an answer!

      You know, I have never been one to put much credence is conspiracy theories and the like but since I actually sent an e-mail directly to Obama and said that as long as he has no compunction on killing babies before they are ever born, I cannot trust anything he says, each time I write something of a political nature, which is always anti liberal, each time I hit send, it is followed with virus warnings and I have to shut the computer down. Only happens after making a statement such as this one.

      Does this happen to others?

      I don't care….I will cancel internet if I have to because I won't quit saying what I feel very strongly…This man is NOT qualified to lead this country…He is an ACORN lackey!

    16. Slick, Nebraska says:

      If you are in any doubt of who wrote the Stimulus Bill, Cap and Trade and HR 3200, consider what John Conyers (D-MI)said about people complaining that the House and the Senate members were not reading the bills. He said something like he would need two days and two lawyers to wade thru the material and then probably still wouldn't know what they said. And so what is the point of reading the bills? So Mr. Conyers just as much as said no one he knew wrote those bills so who does that leave. Glenn Beck has a number of researchers who have spent many hours investigating these matters . . . you can bet if he says they were special interest groups, that is who wrote the bills!

      So anyone who thinks members of the House or the Senate wrote the bills, I have a bridge in Arizona that I want to sell!! Like you, I believe that everything we are seeing coming out of Washington is nothing but smoke and mirrors . . . you don't have a clue who or what you should believe, and that is the way our current administration wants it!!!! Therefore, we cannot believe anyone without verifying the information and making our elected officials accountable. We have to "STAND UP" and take back our government returning to the founding principles of the Constitution.

      Keep the masses confused, promote division using infighting over lesser issues, and the government can do whatever they want because they think we aren't smart enough to stop them!!! We need to get organized, promote a united front on behalf of American taxpayers and be diligent to keep fighting DEMOCRATS, REPUBLICANS and INDEPENDENTS who are corrupt and destroying our country.

    17. Jerry from Chicago says:

      We all play to our strengths. Mr. Obama plays to his. He was a very effective campaigner and therefore has never stopped campaigning, and probably never will.

      While campaigning, all you have to do is promise, not deliver. It's a lot easier promising than delivering and that's why the campaign will never stop. It's because he can't deliver.

      His inability to deliver deserves a closer look. It's not for lack of trying. Americans aren't as stupid as Bill Maher likes to think we are. As the American people begin to ask sensible questions, like why didn't the Stimulus stimulate? If it did, why are there more people out of work after the Stimulous passed than before? Why should a health care system that works for 85% of the population be scrapped in its entirety, because it doesn't work for 15% of the country, when among that 15% there are millions of illegal aliens and people who can afford, but won't pay for insurance?

      Remember the video tapes of Obama constituents talking among themselves saying that when Obama was President, he would put gas in their cars and pay their mortgages? I believe a direct quote was "I'm going to help him and he's going help me." It would be educational if we could interview these folks today and ask how many mortgage payments and/or fill-ups Mr. Obama has provided them over the past eight months.

    18. Al, The Villages, Fl says:

      Since I don't watch government television, I don't know what the Pres said. Must not be much, however, since no new information is going around the networks. If his is the dems only hope, they are in big trouble because they have blown that weapon. The President continues to talk about a plan that doesn't exist and ignores the conflicts between his statements and the facts written into the bills and/or amendments defeated by the dems in committee. He is losing the trust and confidence of the American people, at least the independents and republicans. (and probably some of the thinking dems)

    19. jim smith says:

      Nobama's lack of experience has caught up to his diminishing credibility and the ensuing chaos is reminiscent of Clintonian lying. Nobama and Bubba have their own vocabularies with words in full possession of multiple personality disorders. And these words, like "tax" and "is" take us into that "fog machine" world of parsing and "triple talk". When Nobama uses the term "clarify", get ready for matching doses of misdirection and obfuscation. He reminds me of a lousy stand up comic, but without the flop sweat or the nervous tic.

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