The New York Times reports this morning that President Obama is enjoying strong support from the American public, and that is translating into an increase in the number of people who are beginning to say that the nation is moving in the right direction. Whereas that might be bad news for those who philosophically disagree with Obama's approach to the economic crisis, it is good news to those who are hoping for an economic recovery. Consumer confidence will have to be restored before people go out to buy new shoes or TVs or cars. That's what it will take to get businesses to think that maybe they should wait just a bit before the next wave of layoffs because just maybe those employees will be needed. This trend comes only 11 weeks after Obama was inaugurated, the result of his non-stop efforts to address issues and keep in front of the American public.
I did not understand those pundits who were concerned that Obama was "over-exposing" himself with appearances on Jay Leno, town hall meetings, live press conferences, etc. His communications blotz has combined with his incredible ability to stay on point to help move the trend in the right direction. Mitt Romney now looks like a fool for criticizng Obama for going on the Leno Show (as if he didn't look like a fool when he first said it). What Obama knows is what George W. Bush did not understand: communicating to the public clearly and frequently and candidly is an integral part of the job of being president. It looks as if Obama is taking the concept and expanding it to include communciating to all people throughout the world.
I think there is a reason why we're not seeing protests in the US as we have seen in other parts of the world, from Europe to Asia. Many commentators attribute the reason to a difference in culture -- Europeans, they assert, simply have a history of taking to the streets. Maybe, but I do not think that is the real reason. I think Americans already staged their major protest during the elections when they elected Obama. He spoke of "us" and "them" with better style but the same substance as the protestors in other parts of the world. When other political leaders have been critical of the rage of the middle/working class who feel that they have been let down and exploited by those in government, banking and business in whom they put their trust, Obama said "I do not want to quell their anger. I think people are right to be angry. I'm angry."
So, we just might be seeing the most important stimulus to the economy that nobody has yet focused on: political stability. Where three governments have already fallen in Europe (Iceland, Latvia, Czechoslovakia) and more seem to be on the edge, the US seems secure in its leadership. Where the opposition parties are strong and aggressive in their campaigns to assume power elsewhere, in the US the opposition party is in total disarray, losing support and becoming a joke.
In the communications business, when developing a campaign, we always want to stress a client's differentiators -- the characteristic that sets an organization or a product apart from its competitors. Then that differentiator will be leveraged throughout the campaign. Sometimes it takes research, and sometimes it is totally obvious. In the case of the US, for right now, the global differentiator seems obvious: political stability. That can be a major asset in a global economy and could provide the US the competitive edge it needs to begin coming out of this mess ahead of the rest of the world. If that is the case, that will be good news for everyone worldwide -- except the Republicans in the U.S.