Mark Penn's advice to President Obama on his State of the Union Address, Opinion: Obama must bring back the opportunity society, is the perfect example of the old saw, "when all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail." Penn is a public relations guy and his article is full advice to push the public's buttons by paying lip service to things we believe but just aren't much good. If Obama were to go to work on Penn's Jobs 1, 2, and 3, he might raise is poll number a bit now but the effort wouldn't do American much good.
Job 1: tell America the economy is on the way back.OK. The economy is on the way back but the truth is, it's nowhere near as good as it could be and the Republicans are the reason. They've done everything they could to ensure everything Obama did wouldn't work. If Obama tells America the economy is coming back, the Republicans won't have to bear the consequences of their obstructions and obfuscations. Better Obama should say he's managed to stop the slide toward utter collapse but much has yet to be done but, unless the Republicans are stopped, it never will be done.
Job 2: Create opportunityForget opportunity. Opportunity in America is dead. The plutocracy have rigged our society so that the only opportunity anyone has is the opportunity he had when he was born. We now are class-based society and even that capitalist tool, Forbes magazine, admits it. In America, The New Class-Society they say:
...social mobility in America, the latest research shows, is less than it was, and considerably less than most Americans believe."Why?" you might ask. Forbes continues:
Class is changing yet again, and the new incarnation of the class-society is at its most advanced in the U.S. A good education is now the most important determinate of class, and in America access to good schools--whether private or public--is increasingly reserved for the well-to-do.So, while Penn's advice might be on the right track and what Americans want to hear, it won't work because most Americans cant' afford good educations and the Republicans never will allow the government to help them. If Obama tries to raise the hope of a good education, he'll be deceiving America. Better he should tell America the Republicans are destroying opportunity in America and, until they're gone, we'll have no more.
Job 3: the deficit.The deficit is what the Republicans want America to talk about. It's big and it's scary. But, like most paper tigers, it doesn't have teeth or claws. The deficit is not a threat to America. The danger is believing we must ignore our fundamental problems and do something about the deficit.
America's deficit was created by bad Republican policies; Bush's tax cuts, Bush's wars and a Medicare drug benefit designed to subsidize the pharmaceutical industry not serve Americans. Once we take care of these blunders, the deficit will evaporate. Obama should lay the blame for the deficit where it belongs, squarely on the backs of the Republicans.
Mark Penn is a PR guy. He's advising the President to tell America what it wants to hear instead of what it needs to know. That's bad advice.