Expectation Management

March 10, 2010

Simon Hefler’s UK Telegraph article titled “The end of the road for Barack Obama?“, he says “the root of the problem seems to be the management of expectations.”

During the campaign,  Mr Obama dazzled audiences with rhetoric.  And the black community was excited at the option of a black president.  The mainstream media also fell for it. As Hefler put it,

“Mr Obama benefited in his campaign from an idiotic level of idolatry, in which most of the media participated with an astonishing suspension of cynicism.”

On 7 Sep 08, I posted a review about how Mr Obama was all theater, and the image was winning more than Senator McCain’s focus on substance.  I noted that during the campaign, Obama didn’t even travel with a press pool.  “Everything is scripted.”

At the time, I worried that “Obama may try to push us to ‘a Brave New World where highly paid symbolic analysts construct reality by manipulating symbols,’  but if he is elected, he will quickly find out how uncooperative the rest of the world is, at our peril.”

As Hefler put it, “The magnificent campaign created the notion that Mr Obama could walk on water. Oddly enough, he can’t.”

Vacuous promises of change are hostages to fortune if they cannot be delivered upon to improve the living conditions of a people. The slickness of campaigning that comes from a combination of heavy funding and public relations expertise does not inevitably translate into an ability to govern. There is no point a nation’s having the audacity of hope unless it also has the sophistication and the will to turn it into action. As things stand, Barack Obama and America under his leadership do not.


Obama – Image Matters

September 7, 2008

Maggie Gallagher recently wrote about the power of the image in the current political race.  She applauds Barack Obama for his mastery of the management of that image, and observes how it is hurting John McCain, who is more focused on substance.

“Poor John McCain. He’s so last-century. Still living in a world in which deeds matter, policies matter, what you would actually do with the power entrusted to you matters.”

For Obama’s part, the management of the image is strategical smart, politically smart.

What else could you do if you were “a lightly accomplished one-term senator, a former state legislator from Illinois, a Harvard law graduate who has no substantive record of accomplishments, and you are running against a war hero whom polls show that Americans overwhelmingly view as far more fit to be commander in chief?”

Gallagher claims is all theater:  “The man who would be president of the United States of America flies around the world in the middle of a political campaign, enlisting the U.S. military and the Berlin Wall as free campaign commercial backdrops, to lend him the emotional weight and substance — the aura as a commander — that he hasn’t yet earned on his own.”

Even his in-depth interviews are show.  According to accomplished journalist Andrea Mitchell, “they are what some would call ‘fake interviews,’ because they are not interviews from a journalist.” Unlike McCain, who is wide open to the press, Obama doesn’t even travel with a press pool.  Everything is scripted.

Unfortunately, real life isn’t scripted.  Obama may try to push us to “a Brave New World where highly paid symbolic analysts construct reality by manipulating symbols,”  but if he is elected, he will quickly find out how uncoperative the rest of the world is, at our peril.