Why Didn't Obama Offer America a Compelling Narrative After His 2008 Campaign -- When it Really Mattered?
Ron Suskind’s Confidence Men recounts a moment when Obama, apparently really disturbed for the first time in his presidency, pounds the walls of the White House crying, “Where’s my narrative? What’s happened to my narrative?”
He should have called me. I’d have told him to drop his bipartisan, “last reasonable man in Washington” posture immediately after the debt-ceiling fiasco and to get out of town immediately on the equivalent of Harry Truman’s 1948 “whistle stop” tour against the “do-nothing Congress,” thundering as follows, in state after state:
"I told you in 2008 that ‘There's no blue America and no red America, but events since then have proved that there is a rich America that's getting richer and a poor and working America that's getting poorer. And I want you to send me a Congress that will help us bring back the United States of America!"
He could have added something about the conditions and representation of whatever congressional district he was visiting.
And it would have worked. There's no justification for Washington consultants’ and pundits’ debilitating aversion to such presidential "storytelling," as they disparagingly call it. The enduring question of Obama's presidency may well be the one these advisers and commentators have declined to pose:
Why didn't the man who roused so many Americans in 2008 by offering a credible narrative of their discontents and some strategic parameters for confronting them come back to them when it mattered? Wouldn't that have been at least as effective as staying in Washington’s political vise and watching his accomplishments and even his compromises whittled down by the likes of Mitch McConnell?