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.