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What’s a Vision?

September 5, 2012

Over at the National Journal (thanks to the pointer by Hot Air), Major Garret has an article on the, “invisible,” second-term agenda from the Obama administration.  Or more accurately, the fact that nothing’s really been laid out at this point.

The easiest way to trip up a Democrat in Charlotte for the national convention is to ask him to answer this question: What is Obama’s vision for a second term? 

The placeholder answer, of course, is “creating an economy built to last.” But this talking point has, even to Democrats, begun to wear thin. It’s often repeated, but lacks definition.

“Nobody really knows what that means,” said Joe Trippi, a Democratic strategist who handled Jerry Brown’s gubernatorial campaign in 2010. So even though Obama’s reelection slogan is “Forward,” there’s not much talk—at least not yet—of what the country would move forward toward, or of the specific policies that Obama would enact to propel the nation up and out of the current low-wattage economic recovery.

Vision is an interesting word.  At some point, there’s a need to articulate a picture, or a direction, that can be used as a rallying point.  As I often teach, having a vision enables the team around you to articulate goals and strategies to meet it.  There are two really easy mistakes to make with a vision.  The first (and most common) is being so specific that there’s no flexibility to actually achieve it.  The second is to not have one at all.

If you read the rest of the article, it’s full of different people casting out on creating their own vision, or at least hoping as to what the president will say when he speaks this week.  We’ve been assured that his speech will have more specifics than his opponent’s speech last week, but there’s not a lot of specifics on the specifics… if you get what I mean.

A vision is a headline that can be repeated by everyone.  It doesn’t have to be specific, but it does have to have the direction that motivates everyone.  If I have a concern, the speech on Thursday will more likely be filled with policy nods to the base of the party, but not so much direction on how that policy makes things better for the country.

But Obama’s campaign has already proven it feels hamstrung by parts of his past. And he remains vague about his priorities for the future. His campaign appears certain of just one thing: that it’s in opposition to Romney. Just as Romney arrived in Tampa certain of his opposition to Obama.

The president has an opportunity to present a clear direction for the country, I wonder if he’ll take it?

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Ellen D. permalink
    September 8, 2012 6:56 pm

    At least one piece of his vision appears to be clean, renewable energy. That is a worthwhile goal, but I have a lot of problems with his apparent strategy to get there. He seems to think that by writing Executive Orders, government picking winners and losers and/or through EPA regulations, he can make it so. Unfortunately, he doesn’t bother to listen to the people who are working on the problems that say the technology is far from ready yet.

    This strategy hurts everyone, but in the end it will hurt those he claims to be “protecting” the most, the poor and middle class. Mainly the middle class because I’m sure the poor will get energy subsidies.

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