So I've been watching the the mid-term elections recently in the U.S., and I wish I had had President Obama’s luck in how he is being depicted in the media these days. It’s remarkable and makes me quite jealous, which is itself surprising since I’m usually not the jealous type...except for that one kid in grade school who always had those super sharp pencils and that spiffy 13th Imam lunchbox, and that stupid laugh that...I’m getting off track. Anyway…
I’ve watched the press on the Sunday morning shows and on cable talk about Obama’s “communication issues,” because it’s no secret that while Obama has been stumping around the country for floundering Democrats, voters are expressing their affinity more for Republicans this year. No matter where Obama campaigns or what he says, the GOP is consistently being favored by between 8–12% by independent voters, and even by many who voted for Obama in 2008.
Many of the anchors and analysts I’ve heard don’t know why Obama can’t seem to excite voters like two years ago. Why, it must be some anomaly in the president’s message delivery, they say; surely it cannot be the president’s policies, inability to stimulate the economy, or massive spending or chronically high unemployment that are making independent voters lean Republican and many Democrats too demoralized to come out November 2nd.
I feel for President Obama, entirely. Hey, you won’t catch me saying I don’t know what it’s like to be misunderstood. Huh! I am the king of being misunderstood.
Take my first weeks in office: soon after assuming Iraq’s presidency I knew some fellow Ba’ath Party members were not supportive of the direction I wanted to take our country. Obviously I had to communicate to them that I respectively disagreed. So I held a televised meeting, called out the few dozen disagreeing colleagues by name, and had them marched out of Parliament, taken out back and shot. But did the international community hail me as just an ordinary politician shoring up his base? Hardly! I was the newest, ''bloody despot on the world stage,” they said. But honestly, wasn’t it just a simple case of miscommunication?
Here’s another one: after Iran’s radical Islamic revolution in 1979, I felt I had to let them know my deep concerns over the choice in regimes they had made. So I launched an 8-year war that cost a million lives. The world was aghast with my so-called brutality, especially when I tried to tell the Kurds in the northern Iraq that aiding the Iranians while we were at war with them was not helping the situation. But they wouldn’t listen, so I guess I kind of, you know, dropped 14 tons of sarin and hydrogen cyanide on them. Emergency U.N. meetings were held, sanctions passed, ambassadors were recalled, people cried…and yeah, you guessed it, again I was the bad guy, when the only thing I was guilty of was not communicating my message effectively. Had I been a little more adroit in my communication skills those unfortunate images of dead Kurdish children in the streets would never have surfaced. What a pickle I got myself in on that one, huh?
And just like President Obama is asking voters, “Do you want more of the same?” when he’s been in office nearly two years, so did I ask Kuwait that in 1990. The Kuwaiti people rejected my offer to have them excuse the billions I owed their country. So, you know me, I tried to tell them –as politely as possible, mind you– that not excusing the $40 billion I owed them was not a positive step for our two nations. My message led to an all-out invasion of the country, and a subsequent war with the United States and its allies that cost us thousands of Iraqi soldiers and nearly my presidency. A little heavy-handed on my part? Nah, just a minor burp of miscommunication. No harm really done. It ain’t no thang!
Quite unfortunate, I tell you. Quite unfortunate, indeed.
So I hear ya’, MSNBC, the people obviously haven’t seen where the Obama administration wants to take the nation; through all of the historic spending, radicals in the government, higher taxes, more government takeovers and intrusion, and humiliation of America’s image abroad, it’s obvious that the President and Democrats in Congress just aren’t communicating their message clearly enough.
This reminds me of how I tried to tell the cantankerous Shia in southern Iraq that it would not be productive to have them try to topple my regime after the Persian Gulf War. Well, I told them, and a 100,000 dead Shia later they understood what I meant. I turned to my neighboring countries for understanding and support. But was I hailed as a gallant leader trying to hold his country together..? No, I was dubbed “The Butcher of Baghdad” for that one. Well, folks, what can I say? My actions then were so clear-cut and necessary I have no doubt that some miscommunication on my part was at hand, unfortunately. Ahh, if only I had been a better orator.
And when I was on the gallows explaining to the court-appointed execution squad all the things I had done to help the Iraqi people and bring peace to the Middle-East, you think I got my message across (granted, I was a bit nervous. Never was one for public speaking…)?
So I hear ya, Mr. Obama, really; my sympathies, totally. Sometimes no matter what your policies are or how you behave, it all boils down to a communications issue. Such a pity, I tell ya’.
Former Iraqi President and amateur poet