When Barack Obama ran for President, what were his qualifications?
He had little or no executive experience unless you take seriously his argument that running for an executive position equals executive experience. He had no military expertise. He had no experience with energy policy or within the energy industry. He had little or no knowledge of either medicine or medical insurance. His national political experience amounted to two years in the Senate.
What, then, made Democrats and later the American people think he would make a great or even competent President?
The first time I heard Barack Obama touted as a Presidential candidate was immediately after his keynote speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. My Democrat friends told me that here was the man who should be the next President of the United States.
Why? I asked.
Because, they said, he gave such a great speech, a wonderful speech. He spoke so well, they enthused. He looked good.
And so it continued, even through the 2008 campaign. I heard less about Barack Obama’s policies than how well he spoke, what a great speechmaker he was, how you could trust him- you could tell he was honest by the way he spoke. He had a great temperament. He voice was so beautiful. He had a wonderful smile. He dressed well. So well apparently, that Columnist David Brooks knew Barack Obama would make a great leader because Obama had nice creases in his pants.
To recap, Barack Obama, in the words of his supporters, was most qualified to become President of the United States because he spoke well, was convincing, was trustable, and presented himself well.
In other words, Barack Obama should be the next President of the United States of America because he was Ron Popeil.
For those who don’t know who Ron Popeil is, he is one of the most successful direct-response marketers in the US if not the world. Among the products he has sold since the 1950’s are the: Veg-O-Matic, Mr Microphone, Popeil’s Pocket Fisherman, Showtime Rotisserie, GLH-9 Hair in a Can.
Given Obama’s lack of experience, given his vague slogan of “Hope and Change”, it’s not hard to imagine that the leaders of and major contributors to the Democrat Party saw him less as executive or Presidential material and more as a pitchman for the Democrat product.
In the most recent Pew Poll the eight areas where Obama scored the highest ratings were: a good communicator, warm and friendly, well-informed, well-organized, cares about people like me, a strong leader, trustworthy, able to get things done. All qualities that could apply equally to Ron Popeil or, in fact, any top salesman.
But wait! There’s more.
Not a lot of difference between the two, is there?
On the whole, I have to admit I prefer the clarity and directness of Ron Popeil’s approach. And that got me thinking: how would a President Popeil handle the great issues of today? Could he succeed where President Obama appears to be failing?
Who would win in a steel cage match-up of the two greatest salesman of our time, in a battle pitching their solutions to the great issues of the day? President Obama or Ron Popeil?
To be fair, let’s compare the two in their best, self-produced infomercial settings. President Obama, as befits his station, will go first and pitch his plan for the nation, then Ron Popeil will follow with a rough(sometimes very rough) approximation of the same plan.
First up, as it’s the topic on everyone’s mind, Health Care…
But wait, you say, Ron Popeil has no health plan for the nation. Au contraire, mon frere! He does and it’s a doozy.
First, President Obama on Health Care.
Next, Ron Popeil’s Health Plan.
Well! I think I can say without contradiction that Ron Popeil wins the Health Care debate. His plan is straight-forward and specific. There is no fuzziness about it’s cost. His plan is doctor approved(1:58 to 3:30) and benefits everyone, young or old. And there is no rationing whatsoever!
Amazing! I think you’ll agree Ron Popeil wins again. Not only on clarity and cost but also on how his plan benefits the American Public.
Most incredible of all is the segment between 4:28 and 5:00. In just 32 seconds, Ron reveals that he is able to deliver twice the military weapon systems and hardware for the same cost to the American taxpayer!
But wait! There’s more! In that same segment, President Popeil promises to sundown his plan and give a tax refund should these weapon systems not work as he has described! Astounding! Instead of asking for more money for a failed government project, President Popeil ends that project and returns that money to hard-working Americans. Now, that’s hope and change I can believe in!
Lastly, let’s look at the next big item on the Obama agenda: Cap and Trade and Energy.
First, President Obama’s Energy Plan.
Next, President Popeil’s plan.
Initially, this would seem to be a tie. Neither Barack Obama or Ron Popeil(8:53 to 9:23) reveal the cost of their plans to the American public. And Barack Obama’s listing of esoteric new energy sources easily matches Ron Popeil’s recitation of the exotic(1:30 to 2:18).
However, as before Ron Popeil’s plan is much more specific and detailed.
From 00:50 to 1:30, President Popeil not only shows us how he would minimize the use of oil but demonstrates how easy it is to go green. From 3:04 to 4:30, he demonstrates the real world application of these exotic new sources.
While it’s hard to escape the conclusion that the heads of the Democrat Party and their major contributors wanted a great salesman and not a great executive with President Obama. It’s also hard to escape the fact that he appears to be failing in this job. Stuck with an inventory of products the American people don’t want ie. socialized medicine, cap and trade, military disarmament, tax increases, massive deficits, Obama’s declining salesmanship demonstrates that a smile, a mellifluous voice, and a nice suit can only get you so far.
So then, let’s ask the question:
Could a President Popeil succeed where a President Obama is failing?
I believe he could.
Surviving a rougher childhood than Obama could imagine, Ron Popeil has made not one but two fortunes having lost the first. He was the president of his own company, Ronco, which he later sold for $55 million dollars. He is an inventor, who sells what he invents.
Having succeeded in the free market, he understands the concept of building value for whatever you sell. He doesn’t rush a bunch of poorly designed, ill-considered products to the marketplace or pressure the customer because “you don’t waste a crisis”.
In fact, Ron Popeil’s approach is the exact opposite:
Quality is one reason Popeil prefers to sell only items he has developed. “I’m an inventor first and a marketer second,” he says. “Other people in our business take the spaghetti approach. They throw a lot of stuff against the wall and hope something sticks. The failure rate is dependent solely on what you’re throwing up against the wall. I don’t operate that way. I’m willing to make a serious investment in an idea and take two to two and one-half years of my life to create it, to get behind it and understand it and take it to the marketplace.”
The more people see of Ron Popeil, the more they know about him, the more they discover there is to the man.
Just wait. With Ron Popeil, there’s always more.
With Barack Obama, there always seems to be less.
The above post was second in a series of of essays inspired by the television show, “Mad Men”. The first post President New Coke is posted below.