Thursday, March 27, 2014
There is little worse for credibility than making a decision only to unmake it. The Affordable Care Act has seen a number of deadlines, requirements and other elements of the health care law changed to accommodate a flawed rollout. The result is to feed the opposition's schadenfreude and to make the President look like a bungler. It also has fanned efforts to change or get rid of the law altogether. What should the President have done? First, he should have been sufficiently aware that some parts of the rollout weren't coming together. That might be due to poor staff work but the boss takes the blame for what his staff fails to do. Second, he should have been cautious about promoting the law when he knew there were troubles ahead. Third, he should have moderated his remarks to allow for shifting requirements and deadlines. What Obama did instead, to use a cliche, was to lead with his chin, and he got decked time and again. It is hard to believe that his communications counselors didn't warn him. I'm sure they did, but the boss was too set on flacking his historic law. It is a case study of poor communication.
I disagree. In the PR and Communications world one of the best things you can do is to admit you made a mistake, show how you're learning from it, and turn the recovery from the mistake into a way to highlight your brands good qualities. Sure the admittance of the mistake and tying the recovery into showcasing the good side of the Obama brand could have been done better than it was, but the framework for a good recovery element was there.