Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Not quite fit to print

It's funny -- I write a chapter in my book about how business communicators need to watch what they say and not do anything to possibly alienate clients. And then I fire off a letter to the editor to the Trib.

But I couldn't help it. This stupid story they published Sunday ticked me off. It perpetuated this whole myth of Ronald Reagan being Teflon coated, when he was actually very unpopular in the first couple of years of his first term when the economy was in the shitter. (Sound familiar?)

Anyway, I sent it, it's done and they posted it in their online edition. I'm a bit insulted it wasn't deemed good enough for print, but it's probably for the best.

Can’t compare Obama and Reagan – yet

August 3, 2010

The analysis of President Obama's popularity rests on a fundamentally misleading comparison of the Obama and Reagan presidencies ("Obama, the Velcro President?" August 1, 2010).

The article states that "through two terms, Reagan eluded much of the responsibility for recession and foreign policy scandal" while "Obama has become ensnared in blame." But a true apples-to-apples comparison would look at the two leaders at the same point in their administrations.

When you do that, you find that in his second year in office, with the country mired in recession, Reagan suffered job approval ratings that were consistently several points lower than Obama's current rating, according to Gallup. The GOP went on to lose 26 seats in the House that year, and by January 1983 Reagan's job approval fell even further, to 35 percent, which was lower than Jimmy Carter's at that point in his administration.

It wasn't until the country had climbed out of the recession that Reagan's numbers improved and he began to acquire his much-vaunted "Teflon." Whether Obama's approval ratings follow a similar course as the economy recovers remains to be seen. But one thing is certain: comparing a small slice – less than one half of one term – of Obama's presidency to a full eight years of Reagan's offers little insight into this president's political fortunes.

In fact, it's amazing Obama's approval ratings are as high as they are, given all the challenges he's had to contend with. The only lesson to be drawn from Obama's job approval ratings is the one we learned during President Clinton's first campaign: it's the economy, stupid.

-- Rob Biesenbach, Chicago
I'm a bit crazed right now with work and the book and thinking about how to market the book, but this is another thing that points up that while I have a decent social media presence in my regular life and acting life, I haven't built an adequate platform in my business life. LinkedIn doesn't do enough. So I've got to work on that, in tandem with the book marketing ...

But for now, I have some client work to finish up.

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