At a fund-raising concert in San Francisco Monday night, the president mocked Romney’s star turn, saying, “What was being presented wasn’t leadership; that’s salesmanship.”
It is that distaste for salesmanship that caused Obama not to sell or even explain health care and economic policies; and it is that distaste that caused him not to sell himself and his policies at the debate. His latest fund-raising plea is marked “URGENT.” But in refusing to muster his will and energy, and urgently sell his vision, he underscores his own lapses in leadership and undermines arguments for four more years.
Romney has shown the same reluctance about selling at various times in his campaign. But both men owe it to voters to get over this. It’s hard to think of a momentous political change which hasn’t occurred without a great sales effort, whether it’s the civil rights movement, the overturning of apartheid South Africa, President Reagan’s economic reforms, the first President Bush’s assembly of the coalition to force Iraq out of Kuwait… politicians owe it to whomever elects them or supports them to persuade them that what they are doing is right. There’s nothing sleazy or underhand about this. It doesn’t undermine their integrity as leaders, in fact it strengthens them.