Pulpit Bulls

Policy, Politics, and What's In Between

Barack Obama: Storyteller

Posted by Eric on May 22, 2009

3004717988_06761377b7 Yesterday’s Obama-Cheney royal rumble continues to dominate media coverage. And what better manifestation of the Obama team’s storytelling skills than this engineered war-of-words? This White House doesn’t just control the narrative, they create it. When Senate Democrats rebuked Obama on Gitmo, the administration wasted no time in reshaping the debate. Every storybook hero needs a villain, so the White House gave him one. The lines were redrawn in the sand: the President on one side and a cantankerous, scowling, and deeply unpopular Dick Cheney on the other. Whose side would you choose?

In many ways this isn’t wholly different than what the Bush crew did before; their narrative pitted Dubya, the swaggering cowboy hero, against the foreign evildoers Saddam and Osama. The rest was clear enough: you need tough, all-American gunslingers to take on the bad guys, not wimpy, pontificating Defeatocrats. But when circumstances changed, the narrative no longer worked. Suddenly, the GOP was swept out of power as the Democrats were voted in.

And things could change again. But right now, the Republican Party’s image is effectively being shaped by the Democrats. As moderates flee the GOP and reasonable Republican voices are silenced, their party is  being dominated by an abundance of characters who should provide the Obama Administration with the ability to continually recast the role of villain as circumstances demand. Yesterday it was Limbaugh. Today it’s Cheney. Who will it be tomorrow? Boehner? McConnell? Palin?

I wonder how that “hip-hop makeover” is coming along.

Image borrowed from Flickr user Jmtimages under the Creative Commons license.


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