Wednesday, April 13, 2011

I neither watched nor listened to Obama's speech on how he is (not) going to tackle the deficit, but I can't help but think all his critics - both on the left and the right - are missing something: they weren't the target, Obama wasn't speaking to them... yet they're criticizing Obama from their perspective.

This is a bit like some snobby film critic panning some throwaway action film; of course they're not going to like it, the movie wasn't made for their benefit.

The correct perspective is to look from the viewpoint of the intended target. Would a teenage boy like the latest version of American Pie? If so, then the producers have scored.

In this case, the question is: did Obama succeed in convincing the mushy middle of voters that he is on the right side when it comes to fixing the economy? Did he mouth the right platitudes? Did he appear earnest and sincere?

It doesn't matter whether he lacked specifics, these people aren't in the mood to evaluate the relative pros and cons of one platform or another. Nor does it matter if there are contradictions and the use of fuzzy math, these people aren't poring over budget documents.

All that matters is whether these voters think Obama is the guy they want tackling the nation's problems. If so, then he'll win re-election. If not, he'll lose. It's that simple.

And all of the pundits - on both the right and left - would do well to remember that. Their views don't matter, Obama has taken for granted the left and has long figured out the right isn't going to support him. He knows the battle is for the middle. Today's speech was aimed at them.