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Our President Can Learn Something from the Info-Masters

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Word on the street has it that our esteemed President Obama made the Sunday morning talk show circuit this weekend. The intended purpose was to spread the good news about the health care debate (debacle).

 

We all know this president is the first one in decades who has achieved bona fide rock star status. Not since John Kennedy has there been so much adoration of an elected official. Granted, Mr. Obama is not bad on the eyes and is a personable man. Although he’s a gifted writer, I find his speaking engagements to be tediously political in nature, which is why I follow him about as little as I follow any other career politician. I don’t wish to judge politicians by their flowery double-speak; I want to judge them by their actions.

Well, the Sunday outing was almost a complete circuitd. It appears Mr. Obama passed up Fox News, as well as the Home Shopping Network, Cartoon Network, SPIKE TV, Vh1, The Fishing Channel, AMC, Lifetime for Women and all of the premium channels.

I am late reporting this non-news as I am an interested but disenfranchised-by-media independent citizen. The only thing that makes me crazier than the media is politicians and besides, listening to them is a waste of my precious time. I am proud (annoyed, dismayed) to report that I was working on Sunday, and was thus holed up in my office toiling on a long delayed project, far, far away from that evil contraption, the Boob Tube. I have a stack of books to read that could circle the globe (or at least my neighborhood) as well as a serious novel re-write to tackle. Someone has to mow the lawn, do the laundry and give the dog a bath and that someone is me.

One thing you can say about Mr. Obama, he has a love affair with the TV. He’s on every day, sometimes twice, thrice, five times a day. Everything is a sound bite, a snappy comeback or self-deprecating sly joke. We should dedicate one (or more) entire network(s) to Mr. Obama. Obama TV. That would make it easier for all of us to find him.

I infrequently suffer from insomnia (thank goodness), on those nights when the cat decides to usurp my side of the bed. You haven’t lived until you’ve been bed-hogged by a surly cat that will bite you back to three inches of space at the edge of the mattress. On those nights, I watch infomercials.

Billy Mays, God rest his soul, was the master. He was bombastic, loud, energetic yet friendly. Every time I see him on television, I have to lower the volume. Ron Popeil is another infomercial icon having experienced decades of successful pitching. Not as loud as Billy Mays, Popeil is smooth, efficiently displaying the usefulness and ease of his product and the satisfied faces in the audience. OxyClean. The Ronco Rotisserie. Yup. I bought both. OxyClean, meh… I could live without it, but I love that rotisserie!

It’s not unlike President Obama trying to sell his health care agenda.

I’m not an idiot. I’ve pored over the available information, listened to the impassioned arguments, the scare tactics on both sides and quite frankly I still don’t have answers to my questions. Is this about health insurance reform? Or is this about health care? (There is a difference.) How much will it cost? Will it lower my $6K premium and my $10K deductible? What’s it going to cost? Will I still have my own doctor? Will I have to wait forever to be seen by a specialist if (God forbid) one is needed? What’s the price tag on this baby? Who’s writing this bill? Where are special interests in this puppy? Are the prescription costs for my Zocor going up? What’s it going to cost? I have horribly expensive insurance and nothing to compare it to. So far, I have no definitive description of what to expect and no actual dollars and cents amounts as it relates to me. So far, the debate is about rather nebulous ideas floated about in the toxic space that is Washington DC.

In the end, the President would do well to study the infomercial giants like Billy Mays and Ron Popeil. He should fashion an attractive, easy to understand product, one that everyone wants and/or needs. There should be catch words like "set it and forget it!" — words that people relate to regardless of who you are. He should then pitch it honestly to the people and hope that millions everywhere will grab the phone in the middle of the night and dial the 800 number to Health Care Nirvana.

Or he can book some time on QVC.

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About Joanne Huspek

I write. I read. I garden. I cook. I eat. And I love to talk about all of the above.
  • Jordan Richardson

    Obama should be on TV and should be on TV often. In this era of the media, those who don’t know how to utilize it to their advantage risk falling under the wheels of the bus. Obama gets it and is approaching these issues smartly with an understanding of how the world gets its information.

    And honestly, your “questions” have actually been answered. If I know the answers to them from waaaaay the hell up here in Canada, how is it that you can’t find the information?

    Your comparison of health care to a “product” is precisely the problem, too. That you Americans need to be “sold” it is hilarious to the rest of us around the world already enjoying the very real “set it and forget it” benefits of UHC.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    It’s the commodity fetishism, Jordan.

    Everything trades on the open market and is for sale (for the right price, of course).

  • Maddy Pumilia

    “We all know this president is the first one in decades who has achieved bona fide rock star status. Not since John Kennedy has there been so much adoration of an elected official.”

    ?

    “The latest Gallup polling data shows the approval rating for pro-abortion President Barack Obama at this point in his presidency is lower than that of any recent president except Bill Clinton. Gallup’s most recent weekly ratings has just 52 percent of the American public saying they approve of the job Obama is doing.”

    “Former President George W. Bush had a 76 percent approval rating in September of the first year of his term while his father had a 70 percent approval rating. ”

    “Only Bill Clinton had a lower mark at this point in his first year, with just 50 percent of Americans saying they approved of the job he was doing.”

    Life News

    Rock star status? I don’t think so.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Let’s be clear about what that poll says.

    Here is the link from Gallup’s own website.

    As we know, presidential approval ratings are funny things and can change with the appearance of a small breeze. Bush may have posted a 76% (having trouble finding the data on that, actually) at one point and time, but when he left office he had a 22% approval rating – the lowest rating for an outgoing president since Gallup starting polling for presidential approval.

    So things change.

    As to Obama’s approval rating, let’s not let the Gallup poll tell the whole story with just one participle of data. As you can see, 72% of people polled suggest that Obama is capable of making hard decisions. 66% consider him a “strong and decisive leader,” while 64% think he can “get things done.”

    Obama also gets, and always has received, high marks from Americans on the empathy factor. He’s never polled below 63% on his ability to understand the problems Americans face.

    We have seen a decline in how people view Obama’s managing of the government and rightly so. The whole health care thing is a rotten mess, with dilly-dallying taking over common sense, and Obama seems so desperate to find the middle that the process is stalling.

  • Clavos

    We have seen a decline in how people view Obama’s managing of the government and rightly so. The whole health care thing is a rotten mess, with dilly-dallying taking over common sense, and Obama seems so desperate to find the middle that the process is stalling.

    So Maddy’s right. He’s not a “rock star.”

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    I won’t disagree that Obama is NOT a rock star. In fact, I cannot think of any term fit for Maddy’s young eyes to see that accurately describes the gentleman. But he sure as hell tried to nail down that status before being inaugurated.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Yes, the Republicans have succeeded. Where the tea parties and the birther issue were but a storm in the teacup, the healthcare debate broke the camel’s back.

    Personally, I think it was a strategic error. The Dems should have waited for at least some signs of success in any of their extensive programs – the doing of the economy and putting people back to work, most preferably – but no. They kept on pressing with the frontal attack.

    Very bad timing. The healthcare could wait.

  • Clavos

    Good point, Roger.

    Sounds like the seed for another article.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    You may be right.

    Perhaps I should close Part I of the last one with this idea – arguing that in a sense these wounds are self-inflicted. It will restore certain balance.

    They were overconfident.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/fran-parker/ Fran

    Speaking of Gallup polls:

    “Gallup finds that the biggest healthcare concern to Americans, in terms of both the nation and their own personal lives, is cost. The cost factor is deeply troubling on a personal level to the uninsured population, but also ranks as the top concern of the insured. At the same time, Americans are much more skeptical than optimistic about the likelihood that healthcare reform will reduce their own healthcare costs.”

    I think many of the self-employed among us would say, if we could afford the outrageous cost of healthcare/health insurance in this country, we’d have it.

    Forcing those who couldn’t afford health insurance before health care ‘reform’ to pay for it in taxes is the way to go?!

    I can hear it now, “sure, things are tough all over — yes, I know inflation will be eating you alive due to the money, errrr, loans taken out to give to the banking cartels and corporations, but now we also want you to pay for something you couldn’t afford before all that happened.”

    I’m sorry, but there are bigger fish to fry…but wait, we can only eat fish once a week from local waters due to mercury contamination…

    *sigh*

  • http://www.joannehuspek.wordpress.com Joanne Huspek

    Well, in the rustier areas of this strongly union Rust Belt State, Obama is STILL a rock star AND a Messiah. I don’t really give much credence to polls, since I think they are directed to a specific result.

    As for the answers to my questions, I don’t see anything carved in stone. Answers are changing with wind direction. There’s a lot of thinly (and heavily) veiled responses that frankly have me a bit concerned.

    Roger, I do think the health care could have waited until the rest of the economy was up to snuff. Makes me wonder why this wasn’t implemented when times were more robust. My worry is with LONG term cost. I know the young don’t give a damn (speaking as someone who was once young and also did not give a damn), but the future for our children and grandchildren is worrisome.