The Communicator Speaks
On election night this commentator suggested that Obama's true strength lay in his potential for combining action with oratory. So far he appears to be fulfilling this potential.
In addition to some well received picks for Treasury (Geithner) and NEC (Summers) which have had the media swooning and the markets reaching for the smelling salts, Obama has established an Economic Recovery Advisory Board (modeled on Pres. Eisenhower's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board) and appointed former Fed Chairman and fabled inflation slayer, Paul Volcker to head it.
All decisive action. But being in PR what has really caught this writer's attention is the series of three, well-choreographed press conferences that he held in the days running up to Thanksgiving. While most President Elects would be keeping a low profile at this point, PE Obama has judged correctly that what is needed now is not just smart action but lashings and lashings of communication. He has, of course, left himself lots of wiggle room: on day one announcing a huge stimulus package without outlining how huge or where the money was coming from; on day two promising budget cuts without telling us who exactly was going to suffer. But frankly none of that is as important as just being out there, ahead of the story. Where for three months politicians have been reacting to the story as it unfolds, for three days PE Obama decided to be the story and let the world react to him. And by drip feeding positive news across a series of conferences while leaving us hungry for more details that is exactly what he has been able to achieve.
By the way, on the subject this - from the Economist - is very useful: