President-Elect Obama Starts Early, Forever Tied to Bush Administration

2 12 2008

Martin Moleski
mmoleski@igpr.com

I may be young, but I don’t ever recall the United States having two presidents at the same time. In fact, I’m pretty sure our Constitution prohibits it. I am, of course, speaking of the unprecedented action of a president-elect while the current president is still in office. Don’t get me wrong, some of our nation’s problems could probably be better solved with two presidents in office, but I tend to look at things purely from a political perspective.

First off, let’s talk about President Bush.  Am I supposed to feel bad for him at this point? The length of his lame-duck presidency is going on two years. He became somewhat more relevant during the beginning of the fiscal crisis, but it has been particularly difficult to watch him since November 4.  At this point, all he can say is, “I’m sorry,” and hope that his successor can deal with the problems that have happened during his administration. I’m not defending some of the actions his administration made during the past eight years, but I’m still a firm believer that the root of the financial collapse, which included banks giving Americans mortgages they couldn’t afford for houses they didn’t need, started well before he took office. If you don’t believe me, read this article and pay attention to the date. I’m sure you have your own reason for why we are in this mess, but I choose to pay attention to the facts.

Now, on to President-Elect Obama.

By starting his administration two months early, President-Elect Obama is taking a huge political risk. Again, think about it purely from a political perspective. America is in the midst of fighting two wars and a historic financial collapse where billions, soon to be trillions, of American taxpayer dollars are bailing out banks, financial institutions, the auto industry (?) and eventually states, such as Ohio, that are strapped for cash. Obama is walking on a frozen Minnesota Lake….in April. It’s just waiting to crack.

Obama ran a masterful campaign that focused on one word; change. It was the right message for this election, which is why John McCain tried to steal it.  So why on Earth would he try to tie himself in to the problems our nation faces before he even takes office? Obama will be 60+ days into his honeymoon period before he even takes office and Americans will already be questioning his decisions.

Some of those decisions he has made, while good for the nation, are beginning to show how difficult being president really is. For example, the nomination of Robert Gates to continue on as Defense Secretary is the right move for our national security, but it also begins to validate some aspects of the Bush Administration.  I know that may be difficult for some of the readers to comprehend. However, Obama spent two years bashing Bush’s handling of the war and then nominates the current Defense Secretary. While this is just one isolated example, I have to ask if this is the change Obama voters were really looking for?

President-Elect Obama had an opportunity to start fresh. Out with the old and in with the new on January 20. That opportunity is now gone.  The long-term implications of serving as president prior to being inaugurated comes one year from now when we ask ourselves, “Who was president when we learned the United States was in a recession?”  We live in a nation that wants our president to be the problem-solver-in-chief. It is not possible. My gut tells me that Obama will shoulder some of the blame from decisions made by his predecessor. Unlike President Bush, however, Obama will only have himself to blame.

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Don’t Stop the Marketing

5 11 2008

We all know the economy is not doing so well right now, and many businesses are cutting back on expenses in order to stay afloat.

One thing companies should not cut, if at all possible, is marketing, advertising or public relations and the agencies that do it.

PR-Squared has a great post about the reasons you should keep your agency, including the fact that an agency is cheaper than in-house PR. And it has been shown in the past that companies that stay in the public eye during a down economy benefit in the long run. Companies like Kraft and Jiff. Check out this article for results of studies that have been done about companies that continue to market in times like these.

Regardless of the studies, not everyone can afford to keep marketing. And that is where social media comes in. One of the beauties of social media marketing is that it is inexpensive to do in most cases.

Anyone can start a blog. You don’t have to pay someone to do it. All it takes is a little bit of your time each week to make it happen. And blogging is big. It’s a great way to reach your audience and have them reach back.

Twitter, Flickr, Facebook and MySpace are also excellent, free tools to use when communicating with your audience.

So, if you absolutely have to cut back on your public relations, marketing or advertising (we hope you don’t), keep social media in mind. You can still connect with your audience without spending a lot to do it.

Abbey
aswank@igpr.com