Monday, August 03, 2015


A lot of people seem to believe right now that President Obama has found his stride after a term and a half in office. They say he's had a string of victories lately and is finishing his presidency with impressive shows of strength. Obamacare has survived two Supreme Court challenges! Gay marriage is the law of the land! There's a nuclear deal with Iran!

There's truth in that. But on that Iran deal, I'm seeing the old Obama -- the one who struggled though his first six years in office, and who found himself continuing to battle even when he thought he'd won a fight. I remember hearing confident assertions that the public would grow to love Obamacare once it was in place -- a belief that led the administration not to promote its benefits in the long period of time between enactment and full implementation, thus giving the right an opportunity to portray it relentlessly as the worst piece of legislation ever passed by Congress. That one-sided battle for the public's hearts and minds still hangs over the health care law; the public is warming to Obamacare, slowly, but the law still isn't popular.

The administration never really sold Obamacare to the public. And now the administration is failing to sell the Iran deal:
American Voters Oppose Iran Deal 2-1, Quinnipiac University National Poll Finds...

American voters oppose 57 - 28 percent, with only lukewarm support from Democrats and overwhelming opposition for Republicans and independent voters, the nuclear pact negotiated with Iran, according to a Quinnipiac University national poll released today.

Voters say 58 - 30 percent the nuclear pact will make the world less safe....

Opposing the Iran deal are Republicans 86 - 3 percent and independent voters 55 - 29 percent, while Democrats support it 52 - 32 percent. There is little gender gap as men oppose the deal 59 - 30 percent and women oppose it 56 - 27 percent....
Nobody could have foreseen that a $1.4 million ad campaign opposing the deal would have this effect, right? Especially when there's no pro-deal ad campaign whatsoever, from any pro-administration group?

What has the president done to defend the deal? Has he given a prime-time speech? Oh, sorry, I forgot: The administrtion doesn't like prime-time speeches, and all the smart poli-sci types sneer at them, arguing that they're not effective. Oddly, the administration and the smart poli-sci crowd never sneer at presidential press conferences held at 1:30 on weekday afternoons -- the president had one of those shortly after the deal was finalized. The political insiders could watch it, but ordinary people who have jobs didn't get to see it, though they might have caught tiny soundbites from it on the news. Result: It's had zero effect on public opinion.

I'm surprised the president didn't go on a tour of the heartland to promote the deal at (again) midafternoon rallies in Ohio and Michigan and wherever -- the other utterly futile selling tactic that modern presidents inexplicably put faith in. Again, all the average American ever sees of these is brief soundbites on the news, so they're useless.

This deal needed a better selling job. The president doesn't need congressional majorities to uphold the deal, so maybe he he's been betting that he doesn't need to worry all that much about public opinion, but that may turn out to be a bad bet.

And if he does get the deal past Congress, there'll be another right-wing propaganda campaign pointing out every seemingly scary thing Iran is doing, all intended to make the deal is a top issue in the 2016 elections. The White House probably won't see that coming, either -- but, of course, the White House never would have believed that the right would still be fighting Obamacare tooth and nail in 2015. The right rarely thinks any fight is over, and Democrats frequently forget that, and pay the price.


Oh, did I mention that the antis are playing the Jackie Mason card?

You laugh, but this makes it harder for Chuck Schumer to vote yes. Possibly Cory Booker, too.


Philo Vaihinger said...

I oppose it because it's a treaty being handled unconstitutionally and it's a poor deal, anyway.

It's not even all that clear that something is better than nothing, when the something is this sad.

Steve M. said...

Sure hope you'll volunteer to fight in the war.

mlbxxxxxx said...

Never have understood the poor sales ability, and even inclination, of the Obama admin. Maybe it is a kind of arrogance. I think the admin has had a poor communications effort across the board and, for an admin that faced probably the most difficult opposition in modern times armed with some of the best communication tools available in the history of mankind, it has always disappointed and, frankly, confused me that they couldn't, or wouldn't, get it together and "catapult the propaganda." After all, they have access to the same communication tools the right has and when they needed votes to be reelected, they used them to good effect. Why wasn't the Obama for America GOTV machine used to sell Ocare, etc.? It's been very frustrating to see such potential wasted. This vote on Iran doesn't have to even be a squeaker, but he may actually lose the vote and have to veto -- not a very good option, imo. Why not an address to the nation? Isn't stopping nuclear proliferation worth an hour of his time?

Yastreblyansky said...

I can't believe the Quinnipiac numbers. Two weeks ago ABC New/Wapo found support for the agreement 56 to 37, and last week at CNN it had turned around to 44-52. There's a piece from last week at Vox on the all-over-the-map character of the polls, which are more than usually arbitrary because half the population (like Philo here) has no idea what's in the deal or how it works. No reason to be optimistic about Schumer, but I believe the public opinion is both way more complicated and far less firm than this new poll suggests.

petrilli said...

Nothing is beneath these people. Not Godwin's law, the Chamberlain-at-Munich card, the Jews-to-the-ovens card, and now, the cheapest of cheap shots in New York City...the Deli Card!

Victor said...

"The Deli Card?"
What's that?
The deli guy comes out to Democratic voters and says, "No Matzah Ball Soup FOR YOU!!!"

oc democrat said...

The 24 day wait BULL:

Once we want to inspect a site, it is VERY Easy to have a satellite take constant pictures of the site.

We aint talking Drugs and armaments. This nuclear stuff is large, and leaves a STAIN
for longer than any of us are going to live.

Instant inspections is a Huge CANARD!

Uncle Mike said...

Whenever I want accurate information about nuclear deals, I go to Jackie Mason.