The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

Features

October 2, 2012

Slate: Why presidents don't need to be great public speakers

(Continued)

WASHINGTON —

Ronald Reagan was unsuccessful in convincing the public to support increased defense spending. He made repeated appeals to give support to the Nicaraguan Contras against the threat of Communism, but to no avail. His pollster Richard Wirthlin wrote the president a memo suggesting he stop pushing the policy because it was likely to lower his approval rating and only harden people against helping the Contras.

The relationship between presidents and the partisan feelings they provoke by pushing a policy has only grown more acute since Reagan's years. In our increasingly hyper-partisan era, presidential communication can actually diminish the chances that both parties can find common ground. Sometimes the best thing to know about the bully pulpit is when not to use it.

Each of these presidents — with the exception of Kennedy — also had a string of successful presidential campaigns. Still, they all — even Reagan — lamented at the end of their administrations that they wished they had been able to communicate better with the American people.

Barack Obama has been sounding this lament for several years. In interviews with Ron Suskind in 2010, Obama said, "The area in my presidency where I think my management and understanding of the presidency evolved most, and where I think we made the most mistakes, was less on the policy front and more on the communications front. . . . I think I was so consumed with the problems in front of me that I didn't step back and remember, 'What is the particular requirement of the president that no one else can do?' And what the president can do, that nobody else can do, is tell a story to the American people about where we are and where we are going . . . going forward as president, the symbols and gestures — what people are seeing coming out of this office — are at least as important as the policies we put forward."

Text Only
Features
  • Can black women have it all?

    In a powerful new essay for the National Journal, my friend Michel Martin makes a compelling case for why we need to continue the having-it-all conversation.

    July 29, 2014

  • This Weekend in Stanly County

    After a week at work, weekends are a good time to get out into the fresh air on these long, balmy summer days. Stanly County offers plenty of places for you to do just that.

    July 29, 2014

  • Ruth Moose Author inks book deal from 26-year-old draft

    After 26 years tucked away in a drawer, one might think the story had grown stale, that it had sat in the dark too long to be revived into something palatable.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Uwharrie Players No. 1 Anyone know whodunit?

    So whodunit?
    Forget Col. Mustard, the library and the candlestick, this time it was the drama student in the Jesse F. Niven Center with the bottle of poison.
    At this year’s Uwharrie Players Drama Camp, campers took the stage not just to act, but to figure out who poisoned Gladdis, the talent scout.

    July 21, 2014 3 Photos

  • Kudzu Quiche A Bonus in Study of Invasive Species

    High School students who chose to study invasive species during their week at the National Environmental Summit at Catawba College probably didn't think they'd be baking a kudzu quiche. But they did, and they served it, along with other kudzu creations, at the final festival.

    July 19, 2014

  • Pottery No. 1 Wheel of Clay

    Rome wasn’t built in a day and a potter wasn’t made in one either, Seagrove potter Sid Luck, 69, said at his pottery class at the Niven’s Center Tuesday.

    July 15, 2014 3 Photos

  • Archie Smith Psaltery Sounds

    About two years ago, Archie Smith got into an argument with his table saw.
    As he says, the table saw won.

    June 30, 2014 3 Photos

  • P1160049_zps0528ec83.jpg Jammin' at Junior's

    Benjamin Franklin once wrote: “ … in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” If Franklin was alive today in western Stanly County, he would need to amend his statement to include “and Friday night jam sessions at Junior Harris’.”

    June 17, 2014 2 Photos

  • KelliePickler_TheWomanIAm_LPCover.png Kellie Pickler set to release album with limited edition vinyl pressing

    NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Black River Entertainment announced the release of a limited edition vinyl version of country music singer/songwriter Kellie Pickler’s critically-acclaimed current album, The Woman I Am.  This is the first vinyl album for Kellie Pickler, and it features exclusive cover art, different from the CD version.

    June 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • wedding (12 of 21).tif Fairy Tales Can Come True

    Once upon a time in Stanfield a little girl was born, but experienced problems during her delivery. Five years earlier, a little boy was born in Georgia with similar complications. Both suffered a brain bleed during child birth and had ventricular shunts placed in their heads.

    June 16, 2014 3 Photos

House Ads
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Featured Comment
Twitter Updates
Seasonal Content
Poll

Will you participate in March Madness?

Yes I watch the games and complete a bracket.
Yes I complete a bracket.
No
     View Results