One botched crisis can make a huge difference in the public's view of a president. This week, President Obama is juggling two acute crises, the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and a terrorism plot in Times Square. Whether the country approves of his actions could color the rest of his term.
The Bush presidency, for example, never fully recovered after Hurricane Katrina. Jimmy Carter's poll numbers -- and his presidency -- hit a turning point during the Iran hostage crisis. Carter's approval ratings flopped permanently, but not immediately. Andrew Kohut from the Pew Research Center says the response to Carter's reaction was a very positive one at first.
"His approval ratings soared," Kohut says, "from a 30 percent level to a 55, 60 percent level. It was one of the biggest jumps we'd ever seen."
Kohut says the moral to the story is this: "The public is always willing to give the president credit for trying, especially in the initial time period when an acute problem occurs."
But the instinct to support the president doesn't last forever. Patience runs thin, and results matter. How do Americans make a collective decision about whether a president has succeeded or failed in a crisis?
Success Can't Be Spun
Among almost a dozen experts, from Republicans to Democrats, pollsters and spin doctors, each person gave the same answer.
"No amount of spin can overcome poor performance," Republican consultant Mark Corallo says.
"Bad behavior, I don't think, can actually be saved by good messaging," Democratic crisis consultant Lorena Chambers agrees.
Crisis consultant Lanny Davis, who worked in the Clinton White House, called it a "dog bites man" story that people in politics too often ignore. If you want to appear successful, he says, then you need to actually succeed.
"The misconception is that the message is the solution," he says. "And it's not only a misconception; it's a trap that crisis managers as well as people in the White House can easily fall into. You lose sight over what the American people are looking for: solutions."
Obama's Response Goes Beyond Crisis
Despite the professional consensus that results are more important than images, people inside the Obama administration are not taking any chances with their messaging"
Ever careful of its public image, BP has been careful not to invoke its name in regard to the massive ongoing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. "We refer to it as Gulf of Mexico response," said Andrew Gowers, the company's spokesman. The name of a disaster can be critical, both as a historic matter and the more immediate matters of image, public relations and legal liability.
What do you call a gigantic man-made disaster that is threatening to despoil the ecosystems and wreck the economies of the Gulf Coast? The answer is important, if you happen to be one of the companies responsible for it.
The massive slick spreading toward Louisiana has gone by several names since crude oil began gushing from a damaged drilling rig on April 20. Media accounts have referred to it as "the Gulf oil spill," "the Deepwater Horizon spill" and the "Gulf Coast disaster."
President Obama, leaving little doubt about whom he considers responsible for the epic mess, put a brand name on it in remarks in Louisiana on Sunday. The president dubbed it "the BP oil spill," after the company (formerly British Petroleum) that leased the now-damaged drilling platform. The Environmental Protection Agency refers to it the same way in its official pronouncements.
The name of a disaster can be critical, both as a historic matter and the more immediate matters of image, public relations and legal liability. BP has said it will honor "legitimate" claims from people and businesses seeking compensation from disruption caused by the spill. But since there are likely to be many disputed claims ("This is America -- come on," BP chief executive Tony Hayward told the Times of London on Wednesday), having your company's name inextricably linked to a disaster can't help when a jury begins assigning damages.
BP could face the same fate as another oil giant, Exxon, whose name is forever stamped on the 1989 oil spill in Prince William Sound, Alaska. That spill was named for the Exxon Valdez, the tanker that hit a reef and ruptured. Other calamities -- plane crashes, the Tylenol poisonings -- have been shorthanded by a corporate or product name, too.
By ASSOCIATED PRESS
NOVATO — California's first public power agency is now in business, delivering electricity to 6,000 Marin County homes and businesses.
Friday's launch of the Marin Clean Energy program will be a closely watched experiment in "community choice aggregation." Under the system, municipalities buy electricity on behalf of local residents and sets their own rates.
The concept has been fought by Pacific Gas and Electric Co., the state's largest utility. It says such programs could be costly to communities, exposed to the whims of a volatile energy market.
PG&E has engaged in bitter fights to stop community choice aggregation. It has poured nearly $35 million into Proposition 16, a June ballot measure that would require approval for such programs by two-thirds of local voters.
Oil spill changes everything
Posted by Michael Brune on May 2nd, 2010
Editor's note: Michael Brune is executive director of the Sierra Club and former director of the Rainforest Action Network.
The oil disaster plaguing the Gulf of Mexico and our coastal states puts our desperate need for a new clean energy economy in stark relief. We need to move away from dirty, dangerous and deadly energy sources.
We are pleased that the White House is now saying it will suspend any new offshore drilling while the explosion and spill are investigated, but there should be no doubt left that drilling will only harm our coasts and the people who live there.
Taking a temporary break from offshore drilling is an important step, but it's not enough. We need to stop new offshore drilling for good, now. And then we need an aggressive plan to wean America from dirty fossil fuels in the next two decades.
This BP offshore rig that exploded was supposed to be state-of-the-art. We've also been assured again and again that the hundreds of offshore drilling rigs along our beaches are completely safe. Now, we've seen workers tragically killed. We've seen our ocean lit on fire, and now we're watching hundreds of thousands of gallons of toxic oil seep toward wetlands and wildlife habitat.
This rig's well is leaking 210,000 gallons of crude every day, wiping out aquatic life and smothering the coastal wetlands of Louisiana and Mississippi. As the reeking slick spreads over thousands of square miles of ocean, it rapidly approaches the title of worst environmental disaster in U.S. history, even worse than 1989's Exxon Valdez oil spill. The well is under 5,000 feet of water, and it could take weeks or even months to cap it.
This disaster could unfortunately happen at any one of the hundreds of drilling platforms off our coasts, at any moment. It could happen at the drilling sites that the oil industry has proposed opening along the beaches of the Atlantic Coast.
Indeed, even before this spill, the oil and gas industry had torn apart the coastal wetlands of the Louisiana Bayou over the years. These drilling operations have caused Louisiana to lose 25 square miles of coastal wetlands, which are natural storm barriers, each year.
Another view: Why it won't be easy to replace fossil fuels
Chavez firing the groups, then annexing the product of their efforts that developed "one of the biggest reserves of oil in the world, thermal-electrical and hydroelectric sources" he then repopulated what should have been a slam-dunk asset; repopulated it with his brand of romanticized, emotionally charged "Booyah!" South American Style it-is-all-someone-else's-fault "I can still smell the sulfur" Socialism that while containing sunshine, red bandannas and many feel good components lacks - the level of operational expertise required to further what remains a capital venture - Venezuela is experiencing the downsides of a management crisis
Failures in management contribute mightily to economic crisis
using population/people to determine their true retail exchange and demographic - that is if they care to that extent. And I am sure that's how their bidness remains up essentially every year. By having taxpayers pay their way in (writing off construction/start-up expenses, securing favorable or no regional tax status that will remain a detriment to locals for decades), during (low wage pushing people into taxpayer based food, health and social services), locking the graveyard shift doors, etc (graveyard...maybe that is the business model), and back out the door writing it all off and leaving a huge-ass eye sore of an empty building that no one will be able to fill for years if ever
WalMart's capitalism really is a scourge in spite of the low price shampoo they're able to offer. WalMart is a pusher, WalMart has no per se brand. And to the extent that they do, it seems reason enough to assert *that* they do
True Value is positioning themselves to start-up their own line of flower & veggie seed. Now will they be scrubbing and culling their own seed having gone to seed? No. But I know people able to certify heirloom & organic in the millions of packs. Does WalMart care to make just the right phone call for their customers? I'm seldom left with that impression. And as dynamic as it is out there with CVS buying Long's, Walgreen's opening up across the streets from Rite Aids, etc, even they brand their own items Walgreen brand cough syrup, CVS brand daily multiples, Rite Aid bottled water oh shit!
Now there is a concept..."Prof. Uncle Sam Walton's Recycled City Water In A Bottle From Your Streets To You With Ginuwine French Bubbles!"
"...or poking your finger on his (or her) chest" they may well be wrong but they're able to consider that entry levels of not just assault; but battery upon an officer of the court - in fact people want to see oppression? Then start poking a female officer in the chest or push her on *her* ass...yeah, that would do it in the town I live in - though again, you can argue it all day long but that is an option they have access to likely especially in a tenuous crowd control environ involving people waving their arms about "skipping" up to cops on the backs of horses
For that matter, its against the law to sidle into a traveling military convoy on the freeway or public road unless you're authorized to do so, and not just to make a point. I think the "skipping" can be seen as an effort to lend brevity to a situation that others found less so. And some of them were on horseback with batons. You don't toss squeaky chew toys at K-9 units either no matter how cute the squeak is and for what?
For what will eventually be Americans and their inalienable rights to American Corporate Sports? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N8GRwgIKVN8
Then who needs a judge - just insert parking structure invoice here, collect receipt & change if any
And walk out the door - who needs judges?
Of Pres. Barack Obama’s mental landscape insofar as the decades on-going US-Russian START accord is concerned that has produced the updated, recently negotiated and signed before the world’s view, in Prague, along with Russian Pres. Dimitri Medvedev – a daunting too often thankless task fashioned to enhance levels of balanced approach to matters involving a class of weaponry already well-able to disrupt & destroy the world on a Biblical scale several times over; while reducing what are understood as rogue elements with their attending plans for conventional, nuclear, pathogen based hopes and weaponry, etc, seeking disadvantage upon a world itself seeking stability and not the disruption of it
McLaughlin has done so from within what has become the morphing monster of a RW/hate-based propaganda machine of the GO-Tea Bagger Party; by asking point-blank coast-to-coast and round the world:
”We’re talking about the psychology of Barack Obama – does anyone on this set feel, that given the, uh, attack by a nuclear power on The United States with the bomb (certainly presumably ‘the bomb’) that Barack Obama is psychologically deficient in being able to say ‘I will nuke that nation’”
Asked from within not a sense of loyal but pridefully ignorant, divergent opposition to very fluid pliable stipulations addressed by Robert Gates; an ignoble republican opposition that remains consistent with any such misread by republicanism’s head long fall/flapping instead into the face of republican political obscurity
McLaughlin - doddering old Jesuit supremacist - does so in front of no-less than: Pat Buchanan, who has already passed prelim up & down hand-through-air chopping dismissal of Obama’s every other intention that *now* includes this one – and their White Queen Monica Crowley the ultimately condescending, smirking, thinly decorous, honey coiffed cat when not spitting along side Michelle Malkin shrieking their anti-American diatribes into the cameras of FOXnews – a Monica Crowley poor Monica that has now developed her very own ‘up & down hand-through-air chopping’ nervous tick
Aside for a moment that McLaughlin, Buchanan, Crowley and every other large or small ‘r’ republican up & down the rank & file line are, as it turns out, unable to digest even the words of their own both sainted *&* doddering Ronald Reagan on the matter:
"For the eight years I was president, I never let my dream of a nuclear-free world fade from my mind."
They do so by casting psychiatric aspersion upon a sitting POTUS – Barack Obama - the way they would otherwise reserve and do so where North Korea, Iran, the Taliban, etc, or some nefarious faceless amalgam of terrorist forces so-arrayed that republicans aid & abet with comforts instead
McLaughlin – receding old republican hack – may actually think he is doing so because that’s where ‘the ratings game’ is as with the case for Limbaugh, Coulter, Beck, Hannity, O’Reilly and many others and so he rises the vintage barnyard banty rooster to cash Obama out, a sitting Dem POTUS, for the twinkle the likes of spunky Michelle’ Backmann & Malkin, the Sarah Palin' of the world, the honey coiffed comely of a Monica Crowley who sits and enjoys McLaughlin’s googley eyed fawning at his stage-right hand, but, you know, either way he does so, they do so, untethered they all do so to the even greater peril & disruption of America as a nation.
Pleased, the matter of McLaughlin's media flirtation he concludes, after the general disintegration of a discussion on the issue of a US-Russian START accord he has framed as such himself amid finger pointing, shouting, hand-chopping disrespect (as is the RW’s way), but only after Mort Zuckerman states firstly that he believes Obama to not be found so deficient: “Alright, I think we all agree, except for Eleanor, who’s declining to answer” which of course she did not = The McLaughlin Group
A Most Grave Matter Indeed ~
Impugning the psychological stability of a sitting POTUS insofar as the development, deployment, verification, non-proliferation and handling of nuclear weaponry & materials in a dangerous nuclear triggered world plays as if some of the very most weak-gripped, loose-minded talk an American could ever expect to hear from a domestic enemy
The trajectory of frenetic republicanism is clear enough: that at the end of the RW's wantonly misrepresented stylings - republicans have proven, hopefully for the last time, that they have nothing to offer but feeble errant "No!" and disruption in their course of suggesting even Def Sec, Robert Gates to be a somehow tangentially duplicitous character unable to weigh properly cost, cause or effect while ultimately admitting that republicans never paid a single scrap of attention to their own bought and paid for corporate mouthpiece: Ronald Reagan
Use the tools below to keep track of updates to this Journal.
Today's Featured Forums