It's the Messaging, Stupid

Once more, Michael Tomasky nails it. His piece in The Daily Beast, titled “Unemployment and the Sequester,” is a warning to the President that he needs to “explain to the American people the relationship between sequestration and the economy” and do it quickly.

Why? Because he is running out of time, that’s why. Last month’s job’s report was woefully weak. Most economists expected a jobs gain of around 190,000 for March. 88,000, the actual number reported,  suffice to say, isn’t cutting it. Worse, yet, the sequester hasn’t begun to take effect. When it does, look out below, because the ensuing shit storm is going to be knee-deep.

Of all Barack Obama’s failings, none have plagued him more than his inability to succinctly draw a narrative for the American people. Name an initiative that he spearheaded – be it the stimulus, the auto bailout, healthcare reform – that wasn’t badly mangled due to lousy or non-existent messaging. The result has been that Republicans have been able to jump all over them and rebrand each and everyone. Anybody remember the good old days of death panels?

And now, with a fragile recovery hanging in the balance, the GOP is poised to hang Obama out to dry with a sequester that he himself was forced to accept in exchange for them agreeing not to default on the debt ceiling. Everywhere you go, all you see are Republican congressmen and senators stating this is Obama’s sequester. And what response do you hear from the White House? Crickets.

Make no mistake about it, as the sequester begins to take hold, the economy will begin to head south. And when that happens, the voters will turn on Obama like a relief pitcher who just blew a two run lead in the ninth inning.

That analogy will be fitting. Because Obama, fresh off a flogging of his opponent in last year’s election, is acting more like the kid who almost got caught with his hand in the cookie jar. Now, more than ever, he must summon what little ability he has to communicate and explain to the nation just what the stakes are. Otherwise, as Tomasky correctly points out, the “people are naturally going to blame [Obama] instead of the people who are actually responsible.”


Author: Peter Fegan

Progressive but pragmatic. Lover of music, die-hard Giants' fan and reluctant Mets' fan. My favorite motto? I'd rather be ruled by a smart Turk than a dumb Christian.

What say you, the people?