23 January 2007

Where is the Draft of Bush's State of the Union?

I'm reading Politics Lost: How American Democracy Was Trivialized by People Who Think You're Stupid by Joe Klein. He makes it clear how much influence consultants armed with polling information and focus groups have over the message of candidates eager to win the approval of voters. I read a transcript of George's State of the Union address. It reads like a litany of issues that the American people have shown themselves concerned about: entitlement spending, climate change, the deficit, etc. (Once again close to half of this country's state of the union is about Iraq's state of disarray, but that is another matter.) Klein makes it clear how much care is put into the words and phrases that politicians use - each carefully tested for maximum approval. But this is the part that I would find fascinating. Where are those focus groups, those polled Americans, who were exposed to the words, phrases, priorities, and concepts that bombed? I would love to talk with them about how the draft concepts differed from what was finally delivered.

It could be that we'd better be able to predict Bush's actions if we could see the draft of his speeches. When campaigning against Gore, Bush spoke out against nation-building. One now wonders if he just stumbled into that occupation as an accident or whether he had always wanted to engage in nation-building but exorcised that from his campaign speeches when it polled poorly in focus groups. It may well be that only by reading the early, unpolled and unedited versions of his state of the union speech would we be able to predict what new surprises Bush may have in store for us in his these final two years of his presidency.

4 comments:

Life Hiker said...

I noticed that, although he was speaking to the American people, he did not ask anything of us. He acted as if he and congress (government) did everything.

Republicans have always said that the people are mostly responsible for their own society, but I got no flavor of that. He's totally isolated - not a leader.

We need a president who can rally the country to support priority initiatives even if they have to modify their own behavior. When the people are signed up, the congress will follow.

David said...

Perhaps he should have spoken to the "drive by media." They sign up most of the people in this country.

But you're right about Bush being isolated. Wonder how that happened?

It's likely next we'll have a president who will please the media and then she'll do what she pleases and congress will follow...her.

Norman said...

Life Hiker,

I think your comment . . . "When the people are signed up, the congress will follow" is worth repeating.

Thanks,
Norman

David said...

Norman. Two words: special interests.