Thursday, August 13, 2009

Losing The Message And Nailing The Landing

Has Obama "lost control of the message"? Steve Benen addresses the issue here.

I think, on its surface, it's easy to conclude that he has. If Obama has to spend time debunking nonsense like "death panels" then that is less time than he has to push a positive message about his plans.

However...

Any long-term observer of American politics has to be aware of the following: in any public policy debate of sufficient magnitude, the probability of the debate being temporarily side-tracked by nonsense approaches 100%.

In other words, it was inevitable that opponents of reform would try to derail the conversation with nonsense. And it was almost inevitable that they would succeed, if only temporarily. You lose control of the message if you fail to get it back on track.

The question for me is whether Obama was caught off guard by this nonsense. I'm not sensing that. He may not have known what form the nonsense would take, but I'm sure he knew the nonsense was coming.

No politician, no matter how skillful, ever has 100% control of the message.  They inevitably lose the groove for a beat or two. But if they end up nailing the landing at the end, who cares about the temporary bobbles along the way?

And Obama has been very good at nailing the landing.

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