The problem with seeing politics as just a media strategy is you have to keep appearing on more and more shows, and finding different things to say to keep the audiences interested. It can also lead to media blunders, as it did with the unfortunate remarks about disability. Such “events” come to have more significance for some in this media age than the realities of bad government and failed policies which affect millions of lives. That’s an argument for not doing so many of these media fests, and for spending more time behind closed doors trying to work out what to do.
Yesterday the President seemed to announce a vital change of approach to Afghanistan in an interview. Wouldn’t it have been better to have worked out with his team how and when they can get out of Afghanistan first? What has happened to the strategy on which he fought the election of reinforcing the positions and intensifying the fighting? And why did he say Iraq was easier, when I thought he had been against Iraq?
As somone who has always wanted to see the UK get out of Afghanistan, I have never called for us to reinforce the position or implied that more fighting will suddenly transform the position. The President is the crucial man who will determine the tempo, purpose and success of this long and worrying war. His statements can put lives at risk. They need to be thought through, and are often best uttered after he has taken the necessary actions.
The same is true of his economic strategy. We learn that this week he is going to spend another half trillion or was it a trillion on bailing out bad banks and other financial institutions. Is there no limit to the amounts he will commit to this? Is there no sense of any danger, or that taxpayers might reach the end of their credit worthiness?
The President talks well and understands the mood of the country. That is fine, but he needs to govern well, otherwise his talk will not be believed. Spin is just spin, unless it accurately reflects what is going on.