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10 2010

Has Barack Obama Lost His Magic?

Posted in Life | 3 comments

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My jaw dropped along with the rest when Scott Brown won the recent election in Massachusetts, grabbing Ted Kennedy’s senate seat which for decades has been an unquestioned Democratic right and tradition. 

Was this election a symbol of Obama decline? I think everyone is in agreement that it is.

But it is more.

It is a symbol of a loss of hope for each of us. 

So many of us had invested so much.

It was only a year ago that the world was fired up over the inauguration. Even the skeptics were optimistic that we had turned a page and that the “Yes we can” rhetoric could be a launching pad for a new era in Washington and beyond..

As an expatriate living in France, my phone was stuffed with text messages from my French and European friends, congratulating me and my country for the choice that we had made. 

A year later, my phone is silent.

In the interest of full disclosure, I have never been a huge fan of Obama (much to the chagrin of my ultra-liberal friends State side).  But I have been fascinated by Obama’s ability to capture and articulate the sentiment of a much beleaguered nation.  And I was even more impressed by his prescient use of social media with the My BarackObama.com site.  His ability to understand the true force of his community  was, in my opinion, one of the first real success stories in social media.

I went to his site today (now called Organizing for America).   Am I wrong but has it lost its fire?

Where is the energy and impetus of his followers that led him to the White House in the first place?

Is part of Barack Obama’s loss of magic due to the fact that he is no longer trying to connect to us in a conversational, social, open way? Has he forgotten that it was that kind of conversation that helped him win the campaign?  

Is he no longer listening?

I am not sure I know the answer.  But I would love to hear your thoughts.     

  1. Sarah says:

    Being a Social Media enthusiast I would say without thinking – Yes, it lacked in supporting his Social Media initiatives. However, as we need to think before we write – let’s reflect.
    To my view, Obama is no longer an ordinary person but he became a brand with values that he has conveyed and communicated throughout the year. People over the world have formed a view of him and value those ideals that he stands for and communicates to the people. They believed him and he gave him hope by making those promises. Comparing this behavior to a company – a brand manager identifies key values, USP, and a key message for a product of the brand. They repetitively mention those messages throughout the integrated communication plan to make people believe and trust. So in simple words – Brand Managers (Companies) make a promise. Thus, “If you make a promise, keep a promise” and if you fail to keep a promise, people will never forget.
    Obama is currently under a lot of pressure. Having build up a strong distinct image, he became a brand that people follow, watch and want to be close by being like him; he has a mission to keep his promis(es) he made. During this year people might wonder how many of those promises actually became true?
    If Obama has one advantage it is his ability to understand the realities on the ground. In fact, Obama has many qualities including the ability to remain firm and uncompromising on his path towards achieving his objectives, and this is what allowed him to win the election and become president in the first place. Will he now be able to regain the magic touch that has deserted him?
    Social Media will be definitely one way to re-connect to his fans and collaborate with the communities that he talked to during his campaign. He needs to involve his followers and make them participate to reinforce his relationship to the communities. The wind of change can once again start blowing.

  2. Buff Parham says:

    There is no question that the “magic” you refer to has disappeared. But I don’t think it’s entirely Obama’s fault.. No question that the financial meltdown that he inherited had a huge impact on his plans for his first year in office. But Obama never took complete ownership of the plans for recovery. He laid out grandiose plans in his Inaugural Address, but didn’t have a firm grip on all of the details it would take to pull it all off. And what disgusts me most is that he turned over health care, his signature issue, to the likes of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. Obama may have been sincere in his desire to “bring the parties together for the good of the nation”, but for Pelosi/Reid, 2009 was payback time. Fast forward to 2010, and we see D.C. more divided than ever. It’s a very sad circumstance, given our critical need to have national leadership that can move beyond partisan/philosophical differences and steer our nation to higher ground!

    “Ordinary” Americans are repulsed by what they see every day in Washington DC. They are afraid, and rightfully so, that their standard of living is in jeopardy, and that their children will live in a country that will be only a shadow of its former self. They know that the rest of the world is advancing rapidly, and they don’t see the U.S. keeping up in this new international race. Anger, frustration and even rage is everywhere! And meanwhile, the denizens of DC play their petty games of one upsmanship and appear to be insensitive to the real and palpable malaise across the land. Obama’s ability to tap into this is what got him elected–ironically, it may also be what causes him to wind up being a one-term president.

    There is still time for him to turn the situation around, but it is precious little. The midterm elections will sweep a lot of Dem’s out of office and will perhaps force bipartisanship as a matter of survival for those who make it through the elections. Only time will tell. This nation has survived worse crises, and I’m confident that we will weather this one too. But who we will be, and how we will live after this storm has passed is more than I care to contemplate at this moment.

  3. Brian C says:

    Bon Jour. Well written-thanks. and I fully agree/observe the same.

    As the editoralists are writing, Obama is too left-wing in his agenda-so he is making the partisan divide wider and also cannot win his blue dog democrat support. Hence a lot of partisan voting, gridlock, lame duckness, etc . going forward. I had my doubts from the beginning and now the koolaid is diluted with 3 more years to go. Is dissapointing since whether one likes him or not-the USA needed a better turnaround. Very tough job obviously but everyone still expected more. The CA governor results will be a definite sign and then on to the November elections. To comment on your questions, Obama is obviously not listening to the majority of Americans who want a different type of healthcare reform and one not as costly espeically in an economy like this one……things are finally improving here in Silicon Valley, but we have along way to climb back.