Tuesday, May 30, 2006

In Memoriam + 1 

I didn't post here yesterday for no good reason other than I was working in the yard. I should have. I have a sister and nephew in Iraq now. They are relatively out of harm's way, but when you read stories of CBS News journalists getting blown away, one does pause.

Iraq has been a PR disaster for this White House but that doesn't mean in the grand architecture of world affairs this president is completely in the wrong. It is too early to tell. We forget that when Harry Truman led the world in the Cold War with the Soviet Union, he was highly unpopular as well. In fact, he was detested by time he left office, and his popularity came much later. (For the record, I don't think that is going to happen to this president.)

One cannot always keep people happy, and PR doesn't mean everyone is satisfied. It does mean that in a relationship, target audiences know what one is doing whether they like it or not. There is no mistaking one's intent. Sometimes, as happened this weekend to a client, one can infuriate target audiences. The question is whether it is the right thing to do. Does one have a position that is defensible?

The problem this president has is that his position doesn't look defensible and never did. Now he deals with a crisis of his own making. Regrettably, others after him will have to deal with it as well. On the other hand, his point about terrorists is and has been correct. They will stop at nothing to get their way including flying passenger planes and passengers into buildings, blowing up trains and subways and otherwise creating mayhem. Civilization cannot tolerate that for long.

So maybe he did the right thing by going to Iraq. I don't believe that statement, but I do consider it.

Believe in it or not believe in it, his PR team has been pathetic his whole presidency. I work political PR and I understand how hard it is to get a message out these days but they seem to handle it like college interns. Take one example. They sold the Afghan war as one thing - getting Usama - and when they didn't it looked like a failure. So what did they do with Iraq - they advanced it one one issue, WMD. It wasn't the only reason FOR THEM, but as far as they chose to inform the public that's all it was ever about. Well guess what, when you put all you eggs in one basket you're liable to get fucked, and that's what happened - and then they didn't learn from it.

Social Security is another great example, they were completely out messaged by the Democrats from the get go. I get that his "team" was great at campaigning, but they are completely inept at governing.

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