The Right Opinion

Obama Failed To Communicate?

By L. Brent Bozell · Nov. 3, 2010

In one of his latest attempts to get his face on every television network in America before the election, President Obama appeared on “The Daily Show” with Jon Stewart to plead his case to the hip, young, leftist voters who love that show. Obama claimed he had done so much, “We have done things that some folks don’t even know about!”

In a more serious interview, Obama told the Los Angeles Times the economic mess he “inherited” required him to take so many rapid actions that he could not “communicate effectively to the public in any coherent way.”

This has to be the most ridiculous spin to emerge to explain the “Why Republicans Massacred Us” question: Obama somehow failed to communicate his “accomplishments.” This man has been everywhere from MTV to CNBC to Univision to the entire NBC-Universal slate of channels selling his policies. And when he’s not there, the reporters do his bidding regardless. How can a man who was sold to us as an absolutely magic combination of Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt now suggest he was made “incoherent” by the economy?

First of all, in almost everything Obama did, the “inherited” economy always seemed like a lesser priority to other mountains he wanted to climb. That disinterest (also the disinterest in Afghanistan) was telling. But more importantly, perhaps no president in modern times has been granted more forums with more ring-kissing interviewers to explain himself. These people in no way ruined the effectiveness of his communications by asking hardball questions.

The only way Obama’s coherence would have been compromised would have been by the viewer being too distracted by the obsequiousness of the interviewer – from CNBC’s John Harwood marveling at Obama’s talent at fly-swatting to an awestruck Katie Couric asking, “You’re so confident, Mr. President, and so focused. Is your confidence ever shaken?”

There is another ridiculous narrative that might compete: Try Gov. Ed Rendell’s claim that “I think expectations were unreasonably high for Barack Obama.” But these are the expectations Obama set for himself. His own administration’s economists issued a report insisting that without lavishing almost $900 billion on “stimulus,” unemployment would rise above 9 percent in 2010. They also proclaimed that if Congress did Obama’s will, unemployment would remain under 8 percent.

Oops. Reality is harsh. Now the media are building an entirely different expectation: High unemployment is the “new normal,” and everyone should just accept it.

But if there were unreasonably high expectations for Obama, who set them most aggressively if not the fawning media that wanted him inaugurated by Thanksgiving 2008 because he could leap buildings in a single bound? Obama loved it. There was no humility, and certainly no effort to convince his media friends not to build those lofty expectations on cable news conclaves and the covers of the news magazines. He accepted the adoration from every fawning journalist that bowed before him.

Compare the effectiveness of Obama’s communications, aided and abetted by the “news” media, to the effectiveness of Obama’s toughest adversaries in the tea party movement. How could the tea party message succeed with the people if the effectiveness of their communications was pounded with mud and slime at every step? The media hammered continuously, like a negative commercial that won’t go away, declaring the tea party was racist, ignorant and believers in every conspiracy theory that disparaged Obama’s uniquely exotic and cosmopolitan appeal.

And yet, those homophobic racist rednecks utterly upended the Obama agenda, with all the so-called “objective” media’s hostile hot air blowing in their face.

All of this underlines the narrative that had unfolded before the Obama phenomenon came along: the decline of the Old Media’s stranglehold on the national conversation and the ascent of a New Media putting out stories and investigations that the Old Media refused to cover. Obama’s communications were not compromised by the networks jumping on the frauds of ACORN, or the science-twisting scandal of “Climategate,” or “stimulus” dollars being sent to 72,000 dead people. Those stories were ignored. If it threatened to throw a wrench into Obama’s juggernaut, the Old Media weren’t interested.

All Obama and his servile media can do now to save their leftist agenda is try to keep painting their Republican and tea party opponents as racist troglodytes who want to reinstall the Great Depression. Will it work any better in 2011 than it did in 2010?

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7 Comments

BrianK in Northwest Arkansas said:

I think the majority of the American people have woken up to the realization that Obama, much like FDR, has made things worse in the long run with the infernal meddling in the economy. Now if we could just wake up the other 48%.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010 at 8:53 AM

Joseph Randolph said:

The left no more likes competition in media than it does in the business world. It has contempt for any point of view which does not bow to the all-knowing perspective of leftist politicians. Expect our President to perhaps play the wounded soldier or talk about continuing business as usual, in the aftermath of the defeat of democrats yesterday. In a word, then, he will make no real changes in the course that he is on with our country. The President will in private hear the will of the people with yesterday's vote, but in public he will present himself as someone continuing to march.Joseph Randolph, author of Debilitating Democracy

Wednesday, November 3, 2010 at 11:29 AM

Traci Jenkins said:

Brent, you are so right! Did you notice today, during Obama's speech post election, that his only pathetic attempt at humility was to say that he didn't do a good enough job communicating his agenda to the public? Again, we the people are just not sophisticated enough to decipher his wonderful plans for us. GIVE ME A BREAK! Just like you said, we saw exactly what he intended, loathed it and handily rejected it. We saw exactly what the TEA Party agenda was (Constitutional/limited government, liberty-based free market...) and loved it it!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010 at 2:59 PM

Lori Elle said:

Great article - some of us know truth in spite of the attempts of the media.Free people act in their own best interest - now we see why Obama hates freedom. It's not the message, the people understand exactly what Obama is doing and understand it's not good for the country. He just got slapped by the invisible hand.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010 at 3:17 PM

karl anglin said:

People think that a liar gains a victoryover his victim. What I've learned is thata lie is an act of self-abdication, becauseone surrenders one's reality to the person to whom one lies, making that person one's realityto the person to whom one lies, making thatperson one's master, condemning oneself from thenon to faking the sort of reality that person'sview requires them to be faked...The man wholies to the world is the world's slave from thenon... There are no white lies, there is only the blackest of destruction, and a white lie is theblackest of all.---Ayn Rand (1905-1982)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010 at 3:46 PM

J Henry Jr said:

A majority of the American people showed that they have learned a valuable lesson yesterday. "Hope and Change" is not a strategy for getting anything useful done, it is nothing more than a phrase that was carefully used to get a charlatan elected. We're weary of teleprompted lectures and misdirection. We're proud of our country and were not going to get behind of a President who is ashamed of it and wants it to be like the lesser nations that he favors.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010 at 5:59 PM

Cowboy in San Antonio said:

"We are the ones we have been waiting for!" B. Obama"I am the chosen one." The Mahdi, who only survived General Gordon by a short time."The Constitution is a severely flawed document." B. Obama. Hmmmm, why did he teach about a "severely flawed document" for some years at law school? Seems a bit odd. "These people have ignored science and facts..." B. Obama"We inherited......problems." B. Obama"We inherited......problems." B. Obama"We inherited......problems." B. ObamaWait a minute, Barack, you mean maybe you are NOT the Mahdi, or God incarnate, or even the one we have been looking for? You can't actually do the magic needed to fix the economy (like simply not push programs that cost money we don't have)? So, all you have is smoke and mirrors, and no substance? Well, you certainly at least fooled all the Democrats! They thought you were super-president! Yes, you did change the face of America--away from you and the Democrats to a better future. Thanks Obama, for waking everyone up enough to realize the water in the pan was getter hotter by the minute. I would recommend having your bags packed sometime in late October 2012. I'll even chauffeur the getaway car, I mean limousine, for you, no charge. Gee, we clung to our guns and religion and look what happened!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010 at 9:05 PM