PR, Politics and PresidentPosted: June 10, 2012
I reckon Obama has a pretty good PR team behind him. I keep seeing photos like this on Facebook and Twitter:
I’m not trying to be overly cynical here, but it’s easy to forget that shots like these are often (if not always) staged.
PR and politics mix now more than ever. Social media gives us all an extra platform to voice our opinions – politicians or not. It’s important for these leaders to keep up their persona.
But what is Obama’s persona? In the above pictures he wants to tell us that he’s “one of us”. He’s cool, down to earth and normal. His regular joke telling halfway through speeches and even the odd bit of singing adds to this.
But there have been concerns recently that he’s not quite being taken seriously enough.
The election looms
As he starts to think about re-election, Obama needs the American nation to get behind him and support him more than ever.
What better way to assert your authority than use the world’s most powerful military and secret service to assassinate a few people. No, I’m not joking. Here’s the deal…
Obama has been in office a grand total of two days. He issues executive orders to demonstrate a significant break from Bush’s reign. One of the most important was his pledge to “restore the standards of due process”.
The issue of Guantanamo Bay had and continues to hurt America and their image around the world. Obama talked about a new, more open system of government. He wanted to restore the public’s trust that their government would abide by their own constitution. He promised to close Guantanamo.
The trouble is, Guantanamo is still open.
He also broke his promise on military commissions (they were suspended on his first week in office, but in March last year, they were re-instated).
But this isn’t news, politicians break their promises all the time. Sometimes they may even have good reasons for this, times change and policy needs to adjust.
What is news is that 6 times more drone strikes (assassinations) have been carried out under Obama than they were under Bush.
What I am about to write has already been in the media, but what’s interesting is it has not been leaked. It’s come from the White House quite deliberately. It’s PR. And the reason Obama is happy to let you know about it, is because he wants to be seen not only as a fun, family man, but a serious commander in chief who can make tough decisions.
Cards containing faces and descriptions of terrorists, usually in Pakistan are laid out in front of Obama every week and he decides who to target. He nominates individuals to face the wrath of the American military. There’s no “due process”, just a flat out assassination. The drones go in – unmanned, remote control aircraft – and kill whoever Obama and his team have ordered the assassination of.
You may think from my tone that I’m against these assassinations. In reality, I don’t think it’s a simple moral issue and I’m in any place to make a judgement either way. But I do think all of the world’s governments need to be to held account and journalism offers a way of doing this.
Why is Obama doing this?
It took America a staggering 20 years to put an end to the father of modern day terrorism – Osama Bin Laden. What’s shocking is the Americans had Bin Laden’s named marked before the first world trade centre attack. They didn’t deal with him in the run up to 9/11 and it took them a decade after one of the worst days in American history to kill him.
With this history in Obama’s mind it’s no surprise he’s stepped up assassinations. He’s just trying to get rid of the next Bin Laden before it’s too late. Hindsight allows us to look back and see the Americans could have easily killed or captured Bin Laden before he took a single American life. But at the time the nation’s most powerful people just didn’t believe he was a threat. It looks like Obama is refusing to take the risks and make the assumptions his predecessors did. And for that, who can blame him?