Tuesday, January 5, 2010

How Obama Lost My Support. And How He Can Regain It. (Part II)

Never let AB.com be accused of simply stating problems without offering solutions. That's just intellectual laziness at its worst, and we don't do that here. Yesterday, I told you how Obama has lost my support, mainly because he's been a disappointing leader. Today, I'll tell you how he can gain it back.

Stop Pretending To Be "Bipartisan" - Among the many bills of sale Obama peddled during the campaign season was his quest to bridge the divide in Washington. We would magically bring both parties together to sing Negro spirituals and share bowls of Kashi. Common sense would dictate that the very same folks accusing him of "palling around with terrorists" wouldn't suddenly turn on a dime and fall in lockstep just cause he said so. He wasn't the first President to spout this BS rhetoric (Bush did the same, albeit in a far less elegant manner, while on the stump), and won't be the last. But after a year in which the GOP essentially disagreed with everything he did, including his choice to put his pants on left-leg first, it should be clear to him by now that this ain't happening. That said, he's going to be a lame, ineffective duck should the House and/or Senate change hands next Fall. It's best to start drawing lines in the sand now, paint these guys as the obstructionists they are, and hope voters are smart enough to keep his Capitol Hill enablers in office.

Stop Being So Damn Nice - For once, I'd just love to see Obama call out a foe (on either side of the political aisle) by name. I've completely given up on expecting Barry to C.Y.I.N. It just isn't in him. He is humanly incapable of this. But putting someone, anyone, on blast, would help.

Quit Pretending We're Not At War - Can someone please, please, please explain to me what the hell was up with Obama's "Crotch Bomber" response? He waits a day, comes out with some limpwristed statement, then waits another two days to follow up with a stronger decree. Why is it such a difficult thing for him to grasp that while Oprah may love you, lots of folks in this world do not, simply because they hate America? While I agree with most of what he's done policy-wise internationally (including his handling of Iraq and Afghanistan), his overall approach, and tone in communicating his views seems to sometimes indicate that he's downplaying the severity of what's going on out there. There's a fine line between making people aware, and fear-mongering. Obama might need to get a bit closer to that line. And BTW, when there's a terrorist attack, even a thankfully aborted one, leave the wife and kids in Hawaii, end your vacation, and come home. Period.

Find Some Attack Dogs - Nobody is scared of Rahm Emmanuel. The guy was a former ballerina for Crissakes. David Axelrod looks like a butcher at A&P. These guys don't have anyone quaking in their boots. Bush had Karl Rove, who would microwave a kitten if it was necessary to prove a point. Clinton had James Carville, a guy who never hesitated to get up in somebody's a$$ if the need arose. Obama has?!?

Fire. Robert. Gibbs. - How many times must I say this? The guy most responsible for speaking on the President's behalf is a buffoon, a jackass, and the ultimate affirmative action recipient (because he's got a wicked jumpshot from Chicago). How long will Obama allow such a stumbling, bumbling, overmatched fool to paint public opinion of him? I'm sure she wouldn't even remotely consider taking the job, but imagine how much better someone like Donna Brazile would be holding court in the Briefing Room. But as long as Gibbs is gainfully employed at anything greater than the Crystal City Sizzler, Obama will continue to lose the messaging battle.

Enough Of The Public Interest Crap - One of the ways Obama and Co. successfully manipulated the media since he has come on the scene is with a sh*tload of "touchy feely" personal interest stories. Whether it's following the family to get gellato on vacation, date night in New York, schmoozing with Oprah, or doing plugs for The George Lopez Show (Seriously, WTF?!?) Obama loves the camera, and knows anytime something non-political runs, he gets a favorable bump in the polls. But guess what? We're tired of this. We get it. You're cool. You love your family. You can ball well for a 50-year old. Okay, great. But enough already. It's time to do away with such Jedi Mind Tricks and get serious about the job. It's an election year. Tell the cameraman on retainer to fall back, roll up your sleeves, and leave your kids at home. Let Michelle do all the cutesy stuff. Do your job.

Throw Black America A Crumb - Man, I gotta tell you. That "if America improves, Black America improves" bullsh*t is played. Seriously, can't you even extend a token gesture to black folks? Gay people got hates crimes legislation. Hispanics got a historic SCOTUS appointment. Women got the Lilly Ledbetter Act on Day One. What, exactly, have Negroes gotten for all their grunt work, besides a bunch of black male bashing everytime you go chuuch? The whole "can't just be a Black candidate, need to appeal to all of America" nonsense is a pointless argument, given the fact that a significant portion of White America showed you what they really thought of you after Gates-gate. Your approval rating with them (mid-40's) is in the tank. While I have my theories on why your approval rating among Negroes (90%) is still high, you surely can't expect this to stay up without doing anything, can you? Dig deep in your bag of patronizing tricks, and find some way, any way, to throw us a crumb for once. Making this crumb somehow related to education reform (considering the fact that slashing HBCU funding wasn't a really popular decision) would be a great start, and one that "real Americans" likely wouldn't get too pissed off about. But whatever you do, don't keep ignoring us. We sorta hate that.

I'm sure many of you are looking at this list and saying "man, what a batch of superficial crap!" And you're mostly right, much of what I've discussed it more style that substance. But face it, in politics, perception is reality. And even if reality is that you've given folks a tax break, improved the economy, and provided the necessary resources to fight the war on terror, if perception is that you're a weak leader who wants to sell "real Americans" into chattel slavery, and turn the good ole' USA into Scandinavia, then that perception actually becomes reality.

Reality is, at the moment, my personal perception is that Obama could be doing a much better job. We'll see in the coming year if he can.

Question: Do you think I'm being too hard on the President? What do you think about my advice for improving his performance? Got any tips of your own?

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