Monday, January 25, 2010

Maybe President Obama Reads, After All.

For months and months, I've sounded the repetitive drumbeat of criticism surrounding the Obama Administration, in particular two things: Leadership Style and Control Of Message (Or Lack Thereof).

Some have assailed me as being a hater, while overlooking the fact that I mostly agree with him on areas of substance. It's style where he's so sorely lacking. After a year of my grovelling, and a year of sinking approval ratings, it seems like Barry and Co. are finally listening to the denizens of AverageNation™. Either that, or after watching months of ObamaCare negotiations implode when some dude named Scott Brown won the Mass Senate Seat, now the Obama WH is scared straight. The consensus of last week's poll was that Obama and Co. could still salvage things.

Either way, I was happy to see the news that quiely came out this weekend, that Barry's gettin' the band back together.
President Obama is reconstituting the team that helped him win the White House to counter Republican challenges in the midterm elections and recalibrate after political setbacks that have narrowed his legislative ambitions.

Mr. Obama has asked his former campaign manager, David Plouffe, to oversee House, Senate and governor’s races to stave off a hemorrhage of seats in the fall. The president ordered a review of the Democratic political operation — from the White House to party committees — after last week’s Republican victory in the Massachusetts Senate race, aides said.

In addition to Mr. Plouffe, who will primarily work from the Democratic National Committee in consultation with the White House, several top operatives from the Obama campaign will be dispatched across the country to advise major races as part of the president’s attempt to take greater control over the midterm elections, aides said.

As Mr. Obama prepares to deliver his State of the Union address on Wednesday and lay out his initiatives for the second year of his presidency, his decision to take greater control of the party’s politics signals a new approach. The White House is searching for ways to respond to panic among Democrats over the possible demise of his health care bill and a political landscape being reshaped by a wave of populism.

Improving tactical operations addresses only part of his challenge. A more complicated discussion under way, advisers said, is how to sharpen the president’s message and leadership style.
Plouffe, for those unaware, was the architect behind the 50 state, race neutral candidacy that got Obama elected, despite all the odds stacked against him. The man is a master at both crafting, and dictating the message. While it's fair to say his hiring is more geared towards preparation for the Fall 2010, and 2012 Presidential elections, there's little doubt that he'll have a big hand in helping reform the big issues the administration has in terms of being proactive with messaging. The proof will inevitably be in the pudding when tomorrow's SOTU speech is delivered.

If there's anything Barack Obama is not, it's stupid. You don't get a resume his length by being stupid. I think he's taken stock of everything that's happened in his first year, what went well, and what didn't and this decision to bring Plouffe back out of retirement is proof positive that he's got his ear to the ground.

We'll see how this pans out in the weeks and months ahead.

Question: From a messaging and leadership standpoint, what does President Obama need to do to get things back on track?

Obama Moves to Centralize Control Over Party Strategy [NYT]

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