First a disclaimer, I'm a huge President Obama fan and plan to remain so. Through all great loves comes a little rain. Now is that time.
I was watching The Ed Show on MSNBC and there was Robert Gibbs, White House press secretary, arguing with Ed. I've worked in politics and even as a press secretary and while there are lots of Rule Number Ones, the first one has to be Don't Get Suckered into an Argument. It's just as your mother told you, once the name calling starts you've lost. Gibbs got his face pushed into the dirt.
It was also pointed out that since Massachusetts had universal health coverage they were really not interested in a watered down, inexplicable bill. Although CW seems to say it was really about a vague and unfocused Dem vs. a lively Repub, not really on issues but on personality. The talk shows want it to be more of course. Don't enable.
But back to Gibbs. That few minutes with Ed pointed out the problem the White House has always had with the Health Care Reform bill. For such an articulate group they are remarkably vague and unfocused on this topic. And if they can't explain it why are they doing it? More to the point, what is it they are actually doing? Lies are vague, truth is specific. They continue to insist they are explaining it as they meander through a morass of generic and nuanced bits of information as if they had a thousand post-its to choose from and pick one at random.
Harry Reid seems to have the arm-twisting ability of a poodle and Nancy Pelosi can twist arms with the best of them but seems to be a one-woman band in that department. Wasn't Rahm Emmanual brought in for that purpose? He's been remarkably unproductive if this is the best a Democratic Congress and White House can acccomplish. And when you can't even get Howard Dean on board for a health reform bill, c'mon folks, you're doing a whole lot wrong.
Everyone is now giving the White House advice as it passes first anniversary and heading to State of the Union. I have to assume even someone as accomplished and pragmatic as Barack Obama has been taken aback at how hard it is to govern this nation. I know he'll continue to rise to the challenge and I still have high hopes for his presidency and sure he inherited a mess. But it really is time to let go of the "for eight years we had...." Yes, we know. That's why you're president. Move on. This is your time now and it's time you learned how to shape the message. Yes, it's a multi-tasking job but you should not be doing anything you can't explain in one succinct paragraph. The occasional sound bite would be helpful. Those who are interested will stay for the details.
The message and explanation has to be more powerful than insurance lobbies or Republican nay sayers. So much time has been spent spinning this that the message has gotten lost. It sounds too much like take your medicine, it's good for you. And if Robert Gibbs can't hold his own with Ed Schultz he's the wrong person for this job.