July 8, 2012

Hey Michelle, Can you talk to Barack for me?

Hi Michelle,

Thanks for your recent emails asking for my support for Barack's re-election campaign. I'm mulling over my contribution and will let you know soon. 

Meantwhile, I've been thinking. I know you are Barack’s most trusted advisor, and I know you’re concerned about the direction of our country and the choice we face in November. Lots of us are concerned too – and we need your help. 

See, I think Barack needs to work on The Message, because out here The Message is not hitting the mark.

First and foremost, he and the team have got to stop mentioning George Bush, except in one context.  It’s OK to say “When George Bush was in office” or “Remember back in the Bush era”, however those comments MUST be attached to a comparison of then and now.  For example, “When George Bush was president, such and such was thus and so, but under my administration…” and then give some facts. Or even give opinions. But whatever he says, it cannot be a complaint or a blaming message.  That’s getting old, and it’s turning people off.

We also need to hear what Barack’s ‘continuum’ is. By that I mean he needs to talk about what was accomplished and use that as a building block for what would be accomplished in a second term.   Everyone knows that resting on one’s laurels is the best way for a politician to get rest – long term rest, if you know what I mean.  Tell him we want to hear what the plans are to continue moving forward, and don’t be afraid to be specific.  If he can’t be specific, at least be positive in the generality. 

It was once said of the Clinton administration that they never met a focus group they didn’t like.  That could probably be said of any recent administration, really, but there’s something better than focus groups. There’s public opinion – and Barack needs to jump on that.  Nothing sways public opinion more than public opinion, so when a poll comes out, and it’s got anything positive, even if not directly tied to something Barack did or said, tell him to jump on it. Don’t let the other side control the message. 

Whatever he does, whatever the message, it must include the words bipartisan effort.  As in, it will take a bipartisan effort, I’m willing to make a bipartisan effort, I welcome any bipartisan effort, and so on. You get the bipartisan drift, right?  He can't do it alone, he'll need help from the R's, and if they refuse to rise to the occasion, it's on them for not listening, not on him for not asking.

Above all, tell him to tell the truth.  I get that there’s different ways to present a message – we’ve all heard of the salesman who could sell ice to an Eskimo or the DA who could get a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich.  If something’s going to cost a lot, or hurt a lot, or make a lot of difference, say so.  Everyone knows his job isn’t easy, everyone knows fixing our problems isn’t easy.  So there’s no reason to pretend that it is, and there’s even less reason to lie.

Can you talk to Barack for me, Michelle?  I’d really appreciate it.

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