There’s a reason why the Republicans are becoming more and more likely to take back Congress in November.
I write a lot about the importance of the PR side of government– what a political maneuvering implies (or looks like) versus what it actually is. About a month into the BP oil spill, I wrote that Obama “doesn’t understand that an integral part of solving problems is…the superficial stuff: the photo-ops, the meet-and-greets with the citizens, or the burgers from the local diners (What it Looks Like vs. What it Is, June 6).” That same lack of ability to enchant the public domain could very easily prove fatal for the Democratic majority in Congress.
For weeks, right-wing politicians (eg. Mitch McConnell), loony talk show hosts (eg. Glenn Beck), and former gubernatorial, potentially-future presidential, bible-thumping conservatives (eg. this lady) have been wreaking havoc all over the country. They’ve been making bold statements– statements that I believe are offensive and ill-advised. But the fact is this: it’s not what they’re saying that is doing so much harm; it’s the way they’re saying it.
Today, Glenn Beck held a well-publicized and well-attended rally on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. He and his cronies have been building up hype about this “momentous” event for weeks. The significance of the date and location– the Lincoln Memorial, forty-seven years to the day after Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech– brought even more attention to Beck’s cause. The conservatives who planned the rally did everything in their power to made sure that everyone knew what was going on, everyone was talking about it, and, regardless of political affiliation, everyone was listening.
Guess who hasn’t made a big speech in months? Guess who’s wave of momentum is crashing beneath his feet? Guess who is watching and waiting, vacationing and keeping his distance while his majority is quickly slipping out of his shaky grasp? That’s right, Barack Obama and his cronies.
They don’t get it. If the Tea Baggers continue to infiltrate every news cycle, they’re going to win. It doesn’t matter what they’re saying. America is hearing one message– their message– louder and more routinely than any other message. It doesn’t matter if they don’t have evidence or factual support. If the Democrats and their leader don’t engage the conservatives and their leaders, and fight the poison that’s being spilled into the political atmosphere, the Beck message will become the Beck reality.
Proper publicity is not something to disregard. It is of the utmost importance. Mr. President, you cant just be right, you need to look right. Woody Allen said that seventy percent of success in life is showing up.
Please show up.