You see it all the time in politics: Whenever things aren’t going well for a president or a party, they blame poor communications. “Voters didn’t understand our message,” is the familiar refrain. President Obama is playing that tune right now. In a New York Times Magazine piece due out Sunday, Obama reportedly says White House inattention to message and the public’s perceptions is the reason his administration has struggled in recent months. No surprise. Obama has to point to the message, PR and the voters themselves. Otherwise, the president would have to blame his policies. And politicians don’t do that.
But guess what: It is the policy. A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll released this week showed 55 percent of those surveyed don’t agree with Obama on the issues, compared to 42 percent who agree. Perhaps to underscore the point, the same poll showed 59 percent say Obama has the personality and leadership skills a president needs. People like Obama; it’s his policies they can’t stomach. That’s not a problem with message or with the communications staff. It’s a policy problem.