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June 1, 2012

Credibility is King

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Written for: Communicado Magazine
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Now that the candidates have been decided for the 2012 Presidential election, the talk has turned to more specifics. First thing I want to point out: Talk of the election turning on being a referendum vs. being a choice. Isn’t every incumbency a referendum?

It’s not a bad way of pointing out what the Republicans don’t like about President Obama’s style and decision making. I’ll give them credit for re-positioning incumbency in a new way. But, I think if voters look at President Obama’s performance objectively, it’s not nearly as bad as Republicans suggest.

Especially if you compare President Obama’s performance heading into re-election to Bush 43’s performance heading into re-election. PBO wins that contest hands down. However, where incumbency has its weakness in this election is world incumbency.

Leaders around the world are not being re-elected. The people of both France and Greece have made their voices heard and there are likely more to come. This is where President Obama and his team need to reinforce the progress they’ve made in the last 3 years. They’ve stopped the hemorrhaging. Objectively, they have a good story to tell. And they should reinforce that voters ARE still in the position to make a choice. This is where the Republicans can be vulnerable.

Mitt Romney recently gave President Obama a grade of F across the board as President. The follow up question to that was, “Even with regard to killing Osama Bin Laden?” Romney then said he gives the President credit for killing Bin Laden along with the armed forces and other intelligence officials. But, didn’t he just say he gets an F on everything? This is an example of how the Romney camp loses credibility.

When the anniversary of the killing of Osama Bin Laden came along and the President went to Afghanistan to meet with Afghan President Karzai, he also addressed the nation from Afghanistan. All very thoughtful, very citizen of the world and very Presidential. Republicans called this “chest thumping.” Again with the credibility.

It was a victory for the U.S… It was a victory for the world and President Barak Obama led the charge. He should take credit for it and it’s in bad taste to turn that victory into a campaign attack. He handled the anniversary with tact and diplomacy and that’s what the Republicans should call it.

Besides, they have plenty of other issues to point-the-finger; Obama care which is still very controversial, the mounting national debt, unemployment. Republicans: Stick to the debatable facts and you could win.

Romney should also stay away from Donald Trump. Mr. Trump is still screeching about President Obama’s place of birth. Really? AGAIN with the credibility.

Recently, former HP CEO Carly Fiorina was on Meet The Press discussing Romney’s ability to grow jobs. She said, “Well run companies create jobs, poorly run companies cut jobs.” HP had just announced they were cutting 8% of their workforce – 27,000 jobs. How much of that is due to the work and decisions Fiorina made before she left and is now trickling down? Hypocrisy? Credibility.

So Republicans, take some advice from one of your more sensible members… Colin Powell. He was also on Meet The Press and he called all of the above ridiculousness and a waste of time. He thinks the party needs to re-focus on the actionable and debatable issues if they really want to win. I agree.

So I’ll leave you with this: There’s been lots of talk about Romney’s prowess as a businessman, but, why not so much talk about his time as a Governor? Many of our most successful Presidents had been Governors. Isn’t that more closely related to being President of the United States? Let’s take that up next time…