I couldn’t help but notice the following kicker in Maureen Dowd’s column today:
“I think that folks here in Washington like to grade on style,” Obama said dismissively of his Syria critics. But why is it so often the president’s style to be unable to sell the substance — even on issues where most people agree with him?
The substance of the Syria deal is that we do not go to war; and that, in return, Assad acknowledges his chemical stockpiles and cooperates with the UN and Russia to secure and destroy them. So let’s see how well that substance polls:
An overwhelming 79 percent of Americans support the proposed deal for international control over Syria’s chemical weapons Obama has embraced.
Yes, Americans did not approve of the messiness, gambles and pivots along the way. So maybe almost 80 percent support for the result is what MoDo regards as an inability to sell the substance. God knows what an ability would do – get to Kim Jong-Un’s approval ratings? And there’s more from that poll:
Sixty percent say [Obama] “sticks with his principles,” roughly unchanged since January 2012. A plurality thinks the initial threat of missile strikes helped the situation by pressuring Syria to give up its chemical weapons — meaning Americans accept Obama’s argument about the impact of the threat (even if they oppose action) and don’t see his change of course as somehow diminishing it. A plurality also says Obama made a good case in his speech the other night — despite widespread pundit derision.
I guess in MoDo’s land, 79 percent approval for the substance of the deal is being “unable to sell the substance.” I think she’s mistaking her Washington coterie for the American people.