Back when I was Governor Hunt’s press secretary in the 70s and 80s, I dreaded Monday morning Cabinet meetings.
Every Cabinet secretary would report to the Governor on the wonderful things their departments were doing. There were no problems or foul-ups worth mentioning, of course.
Every Monday, the consensus was the same: The people of North Carolina just aren’t hearing enough about all the great things we’re doing. So, Gary, why don’t you get out the message about that?
I think the same thing is happening to the Bush Administration today.
Bush has taken a pounding – on the Iraq war, on the economy and on ethics.
But his solution isn’t a new policy. It’s new PR.
On the war, he packages a “strategy for victory.” Gives a “victory” speech at the Naval Academy. Stands in front of one of those tiresome backdrops that spell out for us the message we’re supposed to take away.
Now it turns out that Bush’s “strategy for victory” is really just a Strategy for PR Victory. It apparently was developed with the help of a former Duke University academic (there you go) who found from polls that Americans will support the Iraq war if it looks like we will win. (Well, duh, as my teenage son would say.)
This week, Bush came to Kernersville, N.C., to try the same trick on the economy.
As The New York Times reported, Bush came here “to tell Americans that the economy was better than they thought.”
I assume he will next give a speech about how ethics in Washington are better than we thought.
It reminds me of the old story about the dog food company that had the best-looking packaging, a premier marketing campaign and a top-dollar advertising program. But the company went bankrupt. Apparently, dogs just wouldn’t eat the stuff.
Bush has the same problem. Americans just aren’t swallowing what he’s feeding them.