Thursday, January 28, 2010

Insider Baseball of Obama's "Teachable Moment" SOTU

I don't have much to say about the SOTU that hasn't already been said 100 to 1,000 times (and I definitely have nothing as "witty" and "moronic" to ad that would trump Chris Matthews' observations), but I thought this note from TDS was something a lot of political strategists and pundits seem to be missing:

A number of the digs at Republicans were clear to people who watch Washington closely, but not so much to people who don’t. For example, the president was clearly taunting congressional Republicans when he said he’d be glad to consider any ideas they had that met his list of criteria for health care reform. To someone watching who didn’t know how ridiculous contemporary conservative “thinking” on health care has become, this may have sounded less like a criticism than like a decision to reopen the whole issue to many more months of wrangling in Congress, even as he tried to urge congressional Democrats to get the job done and “run for the hills.”

Yes, the president has to walk a fine line in dealing with public and media perceptions that both parties are equally responsible for “partisanship” and gridlock. But at some point between now and November, he needs to better connect the dots, and explain exactly whose “partisanship” is an obstacle to “progress.”
It was a great speech, and that's not a surprise.  Obama will get a moderate bump for it.  But if it isn't followed up be some clear, decisive action (the forward kind, not the run for the hills kind), and if he doesn't continue this line of messaging to it's natural end (Republicans = Nothing more than grandstanding hyperbole slinging obstructionists without a clue... or something like that), there will be no change in public perception that will endure into the 2010 campaigns just now revving up.

It's a great start, in response to the messaging war Democrats have been losing grip on.  Now it needs a finish.

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