The Norman Transcript

Government

October 2, 2012

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

(Continued)

WASHINGTON —

Describe a situation when you convinced an adversary of something.

If Obama wasn't naive about the political reality, he may have had too much faith in the play he kept running: Look reasonable so people will see that Republicans are overstepping. It didn't really work. It didn't cow Republicans. Their approval ratings sank, but their positions didn't change, and Obama's status with voters didn't improve as he'd hoped it would by using the GOP as a foil.

The president also probably had an outsize opinion of his own powers of persuasion. "One of the things I'm good at is getting people in a room with a bunch of different ideas who sometimes violently disagree with each other and finding common ground, and a sense of common direction," Obama told "60 Minutes' " Steve Kroft. "And that's the kind of approach that I think prevents you from making some of the enormous mistakes that we've seen over the last eight years."

This was a theory largely untested by reality. Obama had worked with Republicans in Illinois, but that was a much smaller playground and he'd only done it for eight years. In the United States Senate, there was virtually no evidence of his persuasive powers on any meaningful issue. In the early days of his presidency, Obama couldn't even get his own economic advisers to agree, let alone Republicans.

Mitt Romney propagates a similar notion. It's the myth of smart people in a room and the ability to wrangle a way forward from knowing how to conduct them. But what if the smart people in the room don't want to agree with you? If they're members of Congress, you can't fire them. You can't engage them in collective action for the good of the share price. They are trading on an entirely different market.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Government
  • Officials say transparency lacking in Wal-Mart zoning

    Norman city staff recently admitted to withholding information from the public regarding a controversial zoning change in southeast Norman. If approved by the city council, the proposal will allow a Wal-Mart supercenter at Cedar Lane and ...

    July 25, 2014

  • Fracking Operation Norman library to host community dialogue about fracking

    Are Oklahoma oil companies an oligarchy that is controlling state policy? Is fracking safe? These and other topics will be the subject of an upcoming Fracking Forum from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Aug. 11 in the Norman Public Library’s Lowry Room, 225 ...

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • City manager calls Moore strong while addressing Chamber

    MOORE — Moore’s City Manager Steve Eddy could have quoted Dickens: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” Eddy, with help from Mayor Glenn Lewis, reported on Tuesday on the State of the City to the Moore Chamber of ...

    July 23, 2014

  • walmart City leaders say ‘yes’ to Wal-Mart supercenter postponement

    Despite complaints that a postponement request was in the eleventh hour, a zoning change in east Norman was put on hold Tuesday night. The proposal to rezone property at Cedar Lane Road between 24th Avenue Southeast and Highway 77 ...

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Moore City Council paves way for Sam’s Club location

    MOORE — The Moore City Council approved a $5 million bond Tuesday to be repaid with sales tax and utility revenues. “A good amount of street improvements needs to be done,” Moore City Manager Steve Eddy said. “This will be paid for with ...

    July 22, 2014

  • Another brick in the Wal-Mart

    Norman could soon have five Wal-Mart stores, including three supercenters and two neighborhood markets. A proposal for the newest supercenter will come before the Norman City Council at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday via a request for a zoning change on ...

    July 20, 2014

  • Local group celebrates ruling

    A local group, Mothers of Many, expressed its elation with Friday’s 10th Circuit Court ruling striking down Oklahoma’s state ban on same-sex marriage....

    July 20, 2014

  • Leftover loss still hurting

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Cities, counties and school districts remain frozen out of a federal program that has sent millions of dollars worth of trenchers, trailers, semis, bulldozers, boats and forklifts and other equipment over the years....

    July 19, 2014

  • City and state briefs

    Transportation needs listed The White House released a new report this week from the Council of Economic Advisers and National Economic Council on the long-term economic benefits of transportation investment and why conditions in the ...

    July 17, 2014

  • Griffin Park 6 Proposal requests improving, expanding youth sports facilities

    Improving and expanding Norman’s youth sports facilities will generate revenue in tourism dollars, say advocates of Norman Forward, a grassroots initiative launched last week. The package proposed by Norman business leaders and community ...

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo