Thursday, January 20, 2011

Obama 2.0, or Obama 1.0's Clone, Or... Whatever

Earlier this morning I made the assertion that one of the biggest problems with Obama's presidency so far has been its deficiencies in marketing. When you're a president who can claim a long list of impressive policy achievements - yet a lot of people seem to think you've been completely ineffective - you have a problem with your message. So this struck me as interesting news:
Like President George W. Bush but unlike President Bill Clinton, Obama's campaign reelection team will be made up of familiar faces. The fundamental authors of the president's narrative, strategy, and world view remain the same: Messina, Plouffe, David Axelrod, Robert Gibbs, and Valerie Jarrett. They'll change geography, they'll change jobs, they'll change titles -- but they remain in charge.
This will either work out quite well or could be potentially problematic. The aforementioned people - particularly David Plouffe and David Axelrod - were the head honchos in charge of Obama's 2008 campaign (the "Hope" and "Change" people). But this is the same group - minus Plouffe, largely - that has also reigned over the enigmatic first two years of what should be perceived as a very accomplished presidency.

Maybe these guys are just better at campaigning than they are at governing. Plouffe and Axelrod are campaign guys, largely, and, prior to joining Obama's team, Jarrett had been in the private sector for a long time (though she did work in the Chicago mayor's office for a while). Gibbs has always seemed to me like your classic Washington insider kinda guy - which is neither an entirely good thing nor an entirely bad thing (though I would have gone with a different kind of energy for press secretary).

The good news, of course, is that the Republican field of potentials appears to be laughably lame, at least at the moment. In a tough economy with high unemployment, anything is possible, but these guys have already decisively beaten a well-known, well-liked, former war hero, so I don't think a Mama Grizzly, a Mormon or Chuck Norris's BFF are going to have them shaking in their boots.

No comments: