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Bush Needs to Step Up Communication Strategy

In my column at the Examiner today I take a look at the Bush administration's weakness communicating their message and responding to political attacks.

The administration has to be more proactive and have a focused strategy to convey their message and that has been either lacking or insufficient.

The problem begins with the president. He does a great job on the road touting good economic news. He speaks movingly and persuasively about the mission in Iraq when talking to groups of real people.

He has trouble, however, working that same passion into more formal speeches that actually get airtime from the networks. Without properly conveying to the public the virtues and successes of various policies, it is impossible to build public support.

Without sustained support for a policy or action it is almost certainly doomed to fail. It is time for the administration to step up its communications game with a more aggressive strategy.

Update: The Anchoress describes one of those appearances where Bush is good at communicating -- the kind with real people. He is also excellent in small groups in the White House like those hall of famers and the like. Unfortunately, those don't get much television coverage. She also has a message I agree with wholeheartedly.

I cannot imagine what it is like to be this man, to wake up every single day and deal with a seething, BDS-afflicted press out to take him down, and a "loyal opposition" bent on giving him as much hell as possible in a time of war.

He makes me nuts sometimes - I wish he'd fight back more - but I can understand why he won't waste his energy on anklebiters and partisan snipers when he has troops in harms way, and people at home to keep safe. And he has kept us safe. And yes, I still pray for him, every day. Do you? Have you stopped? Maybe you should start again.

Update II: Granddaddy Long Legs has an excellent post on this subject. Read it all.


Comments (55)

The eyes of the many are ho... (Below threshold)
kim:

The eyes of the many are hostile.
====================

The problem isn't with the ... (Below threshold)
groucho:

The problem isn't with the communication strategy, it's with the message. People understand it and are just not buying it anymore. Quite simple, really.

We are pack animals. When ... (Below threshold)
kim:

We are pack animals. When eyes are artificial, the dynamic is inauthentic. That explains the private magic, and the public impotence. Well, that and the lying MSM.
===========================

Naw, what part of his messa... (Below threshold)
kim:

Naw, what part of his message has been discredited. I mean for real, not in your MSM mirage.
================================

And what, really, has been ... (Below threshold)
kim:

And what, really, has been wrong with his execution. The economy may be the best you'll ever see; al Qaeda is on the run. Who could ask for anything more?

Oh yes, better pay for out soldiers. Look what the free market would bring their skills.
=============================

'our soldiers'. Well, your... (Below threshold)
kim:

'our soldiers'. Well, yours, too.
======================

I agree, Bush does not defe... (Below threshold)
bill:

I agree, Bush does not defend anything, I guess he thinks that's a virtue. The MSM and their, party the Democrats, are out to destroy Bush and he doesn't seem to know. One big flaw is there are no defenders that go out on TV nightly to drive the message.

With all the tens of thousa... (Below threshold)

With all the tens of thousands of words Bush has spoken in speech after speech, too many people are still focusing on a select few words; "sixteen words" from one address and "stay the course". Both have been horribly twisted, expounded on, examined and re-examined until they mean whatever they want them to mean.

The rest to them is just background noise they filter out.

Just once I'd like to hear Bush himself refer to many Democrats, like Reid, Schumer, Durbin and others as "crying ninnies". THAT would make my day.

The economy may be the best... (Below threshold)
groucho:

The economy may be the best you'll ever see if you're in the top 1 or 2 percent of income, otherwise things may not be so rosy. As for Al-Queda, do we really know what they're up to? Do we care about Osama or not? Which is it this week, I can't remember.

Wait a minute. Bush is a ba... (Below threshold)
ChrisO:

Wait a minute. Bush is a bad communicator? Why didn't someone bring this up earlier? Thank God for your insights.

When I saw the post title, ... (Below threshold)

When I saw the post title, I remembered again all the great hopes pinned on Tony Snow when he joined the Administration as press secretary.

Hey, ChrisO, Fred T is a go... (Below threshold)
kim:

Hey, ChrisO, Fred T is a goooood communicator.
============================

It takes a real pro to put ... (Below threshold)
BarneyG2000:

It takes a real pro to put lipstick on a pig.

Lorie, the problem w/ the C... (Below threshold)
fea nicks:

Lorie, the problem w/ the Chimp's message is that the American people are finally waking up.

The Chimp does well on the road because he always speaks to pre-selected audiences of predominantly Repusslican partisans, the true believers.

His message can't stand on any merits w/ the public in general as the public has already seen the Monkey of Oz behind the curtain.

Hillary is paying liberal b... (Below threshold)
Ted:

Hillary is paying liberal bloggers $20,000 a month: http://www.solidpolitics.com

From Lorie's article: "... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

From Lorie's article: "In many cases, the various battles in Iraq were reported as if in a vacuum, with casualty counts being the primary focus, rather than reporting objectives that were accomplished as a result of various missions."

First, I think "many" is a gross exaggeration in that first sentence. "All" or "almost all" would have been a lot more accurate.

Second, it bears repeating that those who want the US to win in Iraq will focus on the positives and those who do not want the US to win in Iraq (the democrats and their propaganda wing, commonly referred to as the MSM) will focus on the negatives.

I don't think we can fault ... (Below threshold)
Publicus:

I don't think we can fault the Bush Administration for failing to get its points across----we all know where the administration stands. We all know that he believes the war in Iraq is important, that he deposed the dictator Hussein, that there were elections in Iraq, etc.

We also know that the war has no end in sight, that there is a civil war, that Al Queda--who had no presence in Iraq--now operates there, etc.

People know whats going on. They are weighing the facts.

I think a really good solut... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

I think a really good solution to this problem would be to re-instate the Fairness Doctrine in the media.

Some democrats want to do this, but only apply it the sole segment of the media that is not totally dominated by socialist regressive propaganda - talk radio.

I say bring the doctrine back, but apply it to the bradcast network news and newspapers. That would be the death of the current incarnation of the "democrat" party in this country. Hopefully it would be replaced with something better.

The only way the democrat party continues to thrive is by keeping average Joe (and Barney, Hugh, Lee, ect.) informationally retarded.

It's true that Bush is a ba... (Below threshold)
Adrian Browne:

It's true that Bush is a bad communicator -- add to that the people that believe he used bait-and-switch techniques and has strayed from Compassionate Conservatism (we have the exact opposite -- a larger yet completely incompetent government) and also there are the people that just do not like what he's selling.

Instead of Public Relations-style obfuscation, I'd prefer the truth.

Wait. Are you seriously sug... (Below threshold)
Publicus:

Wait. Are you seriously suggesting that the Bush Administration's positions are essentially "secret" because it can't get its words out to the public?

Really?

Bush said he seeks advice f... (Below threshold)
BarneyG2000:

Bush said he seeks advice from a higher father. Maybe he should fire Jesus?

Fascinating news, Ted. May... (Below threshold)
kim:

Fascinating news, Ted. Maybe this is why Barney thinks TPM is 'necessary'. They get $2500/wk from Hillary.

I've been banned at two of the blogs, FireDogLake and Left Coast. Doesn't Hillary, or Soros, understand that bought and paid for opinion is perverting. No wonder they are losing the ability to talk their way out of a paper bag.

And I think it is really interesting that Hillary's push was against Gonzales. They really wanted McNulty in there.

Is Rocky teetering?
=====================================

Bush called Gonzo this morn... (Below threshold)
BarneyG2000:

Bush called Gonzo this morning with his full support.

We all know what that means.

Hillary is buying advertisi... (Below threshold)
BarneyG2000:

Hillary is buying advertising? Heaven forbid! Where is the precedent for candidates to buy advertising time/space on media?

BarneyGoogle,There... (Below threshold)
Sheik Yur Bouty:

BarneyGoogle,

There's a big difference between advertising and astroturfing.

They really wanted... (Below threshold)
Publicus:
They really wanted McNulty in there.

Please explain why the Democrats would want McNulty, a career Republican, hand-picked by Bush, to be the AG. Also, why would the Dems want a guy who was partly responsible for the D.A. firings that the Dems clearly opposed?

I think you are confusing t... (Below threshold)
Publicus:

I think you are confusing things. The Bush administration IS successfully communicating its messages. Many people simply don't find him to be convincing.

"I've been banned at two... (Below threshold)
fea nicks:

"I've been banned at two of the blogs, FireDogLake and Left Coast": Posted by: kim

That you were banned, kim, is not surprising, since bimbo eruptions have become passé after Clinton left office.

fea nicks, look up ad homin... (Below threshold)
kim:

fea nicks, look up ad hominem. You've supped on the degenerate rhetoric the left thinks will save the world.

P, McNulty is doing Schumer's bidding. Read AJStrata.
=========================

It funny watching the left ... (Below threshold)
Scrapiron:

It funny watching the left do the nazi goose step and then watch them try to back up. Doesn't they're interference in the presidents hiring and firing practice carry over to the next president? Doesn't that mean that Rove has 'his job' in the white house no matter who becomes president? The incoming president cannot replace him. Makes sense to me, go for it. Just another result of the stupidity of the dhimmi's, all of them.

Bush is a prime example of ... (Below threshold)
bryanD:

Bush is a prime example of Regression To The Mean. He's obviously a lesser specimen than Dad and Grand-Dad, and sensing this fact, he has surrounded himself with favorites and courtiers, instead of the wise counsel of able lieutenants. Was it one of the Ducs d'Anjous (or Bourbons or Berrys?) that insisted that only snub noses like his own would be allowed at Court? One can't expect the folks who prostrated themselves at the foot of Richie Rich, to actually make good on the field of partisan combat, can you? Their modus operandi has been political poisonings and other means not too safety averse.

Barney, have you ever seen ... (Below threshold)
kim:

Barney, have you ever seen 'paid for by so and so' on paid advertising? The key word is 'disclosure'. Look it up. It's useful.
============================

BryanD, if you can't contro... (Below threshold)
kim:

BryanD, if you can't control your jealousy, please expose yourself to it, instead of us.
============================

You want to examine a degen... (Below threshold)
kim:

You want to examine a degenerate Imperium, look at the MSM.
================================

Kim, you rock. ... (Below threshold)
Jo:

Kim, you rock.

bryanDumbass say what? How ... (Below threshold)
jhow66:

bryanDumbass say what? How much kool-aid did you sip?

"It funny watching the left... (Below threshold)
BarneyG2000:

"It funny watching the left do the nazi goose step and then watch them try to back up. Doesn't they're interference in the presidents hiring and firing practice carry over to the next president?" scrapie

Thanks for clearing up this issue for us. I have not heard it put so eloquently and so concisely before.

Barney, have you ever seen ... (Below threshold)
BarneyG2000:

Barney, have you ever seen 'paid for by so and so' on paid advertising? The key word is 'disclosure'. Look it up. It's useful.
============================

Posted by: kim at March 20, 2007 10:58 AM


Gee kim, look what I found on Hillary's Ad (DailyKos):

"Paid for by Hillary Clinton for President Exploratory Committee"


Ha HA

kim, look up Pink Flamin... (Below threshold)
fea nicks:

kim, look up Pink Flamingoes and rebt it.

Babs Johnson is your alter-ego.

those who want the US to... (Below threshold)
Brian:

those who want the US to win in Iraq will focus on the positives and those who do not want the US to win in Iraq... will focus on the negatives.

Ah, the Tinkerbell strategy shines again. Clap your hands and focus on the positive, and we will magically win!

Gee, and I always thought that those who want the US to succeed in its policies will focus on the TRUTH, good or bad.

I don't think you realize, ... (Below threshold)
kim:

I don't think you realize, fn, how divinely you made my day. Pass the theobromine.

Touche, B. It's just a scratch. Come closer, I'll bite.
============================

Brian,Ah,... (Below threshold)
Heralder:

Brian,

Ah, the Tinkerbell strategy shines again. Clap your hands and focus on the positive, and we will magically win!

As opposed to focusing on the negative, that will garner a sure victory. Can we dub that the Democrat strategy?

Gee, and I always thought that those who want the US to succeed in its policies will focus on the TRUTH, good or bad.

Brian,

The truth contains good as well as bad, though when you only report the bad, it not so much the truth is it?

The only thing Bush needs t... (Below threshold)
Hugh:

The only thing Bush needs to step up is his competence strategery. Oh. I forgot. That would be an impossible task for the Gang That Can't Shoot Straight.

With a 94-2 vote, the Senat... (Below threshold)
BarneyG2000:

With a 94-2 vote, the Senate passed a bill that canceled a Justice Department-authored provision in the Patriot Act that had allowed the attorney general to appoint U.S. attorneys without Senate confirmation. Democrats say the Bush administration abused that authority when it fired the eight prosecutors and proposed replacing some with White House loyalists.

I guess Bush couldn't communicate the need to further abuse his authority?

Hah, Schumer just called fo... (Below threshold)
kim:

Hah, Schumer just called for Comey to be the next Attorney General. That's the fella who gave Fitz unconstitutional powers. How ballsy is Schumer?
=======================

"Democrats say the Bush ... (Below threshold)
Lee:

"Democrats say the Bush administration abused that authority when it fired the eight prosecutors and proposed replacing some with White House loyalists."

I recall seeing a news story last week that said Gonzales testified during his confirmation hearing that Congress would be able to approve the replacements - while in actuality the Rove-ster was pulling strings behind the scenes.

Tsk tsk - the Attorney General lied under oath under his own confirmation hearing...?

Bush "The Communicator"....... (Below threshold)
nogo postal:

Bush "The Communicator"....ya know..even the most die hard Bush fans..must admit..his command of the English language is an embarrassment as someone who "speaks" for all of us...now I am not a Reagan fan(I can Never forget his trading arms to Iran)but his vocabulary was light years beyond "W's".
I have never seen a post here that was less articulate than our President..
(Yes I believe that knowledge of a reasonable number of words in English be required for citizenship)

I don't like watching the m... (Below threshold)
Heralder:

I don't like watching the man speak. Too many grins and fumbles. He has gotten better, though. He went from horrible to bad.

I'd rather listen to an hon... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

I'd rather listen to an honest man stumble though a speech than a practiced, polished, smooth talking liar.

As opposed to focusing o... (Below threshold)
Brian:

As opposed to focusing on the negative, that will garner a sure victory.

If the truth is that things are negative and that the "victory" we've all been promised is unattainable, then that's what we should be focused on, yes.

The truth contains good as well as bad, though when you only report the bad, it not so much the truth is it?

You're right. We should focus more on the school houses that we've built, rather than on the 25% or Iraqis who have had a family member murdered, the 70% who say they are worse off today than just a year ago, and the 50% who say more US troops would make things worse. Hey, but at least all those dead Iraqis have purple fingers, right?

When you're on the Titanic, you're a fool if you give any attention at all to how well the quartet is playing.

Brian,If ... (Below threshold)
Heralder:

Brian,

If the truth is..

Operative word - "If"

Certainly victory seems unattainable if you refuse to take into account any progress.

The problem is you end up with a false conclusion if you focus on only negatives, or only on positives. Seeing that there are a lack of positives reported in the mainstream, many try to focus on those to achieve a balance and to support the view that we should stay.

I like the Titanic analogy. First, however, we need to be on the Titanic for it to apply; which is our fundamental disagreement.


It's funny watching the ... (Below threshold)
hansel2:

It's funny watching the left do the nazi goose step and then watch them try to back up.

In nearly every post, Scrap, you claim how fun it is watching the left do this or that. Life must be one big rollercoaster ride for you with all this fun you're having - or maybe you're just every so slowly going insane and you don't know it.

THAT IS EXACTLY HOW I FEEL!... (Below threshold)
Lisa:

THAT IS EXACTLY HOW I FEEL!! And Yes--I do continue to pray for him everyday!! He will be remembered by my children's children's children as an honorable president!!

He will be remembered by... (Below threshold)
hansel2:

He will be remembered by my children's children's children as an honorable president!!

He will be remembered by your children's children's children as a liar , an incompetent and a failure of a President who your children's children's children will probably just be digging out from the muck this abomination of a man has created.

I suspect your descendents ... (Below threshold)
kim:

I suspect your descendents will be speaking Arabic or admiring Bush.
==================================




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