Think back for a moment to the day last year when the Obama administration announced that in addition to doing a weekly radio address, they would also be doing weekly YouTube addresses. Back then people were impressed that the White House was embracing social media and when they put up the first installment, it quickly went up over 1 million views.
Of course since then they addresses have kind of lost their appeal somewhat. In fact I just went over to watch this week's video and according to YouTube I was only the 311th person to view it. I mean I know the newness of it has worn off, but 311 views, seriously?
That got me to thinking. Why not use those weekly addresses to inform people on the issues. Not in a broad way like normal, but in an in depth way. The videos are usually around 5 minutes long and I personally think that is more than enough time for President Obama to break down some of the most important elements of the health care reform bill, the ones that effect the overwhelming majority of people. He could really change the game too by using visual aids like charts and graphs. Also because YouTube has a feature where you can link to information he could also reference studies that the viewer could think click on a link and go to and read themselves. And when you think about it, allowing President Obama to perform in that fashion is probably his best look. Republicans like to joke about him being "professorial" but you know what? When he breaks stuff down he really has a knack of explaining things to people in a way they can understand.
He could also use those charts and graphs to do addresses that focus on the unprecedented use of the filibuster by Republicans and on where I debt came from and how we can seek to reduce it. People love visual aids and they "get" them. For folks who don't read the paper every day or watch the evening cable news shows, its a way for them to see the information, coming from no less than the President himself, and judge for themselves who is to blame for everything and whether what the Democrats are trying to do is what is good for out country or not.
He could also use the end of the video to address some of the main lies about the health care reform bill and to also hit Republicans for their renewed push to cut medicare and privatize Social Security. Once again with links to them saying so in their own words.
At the end he could display some of the emotion that has been missing and pledge to get health care reform done one way or another.
If you ask me, that would be a helluva lot more productive than doing this health care summit that if anything will just give Republicans more reasons to complain over bullshit. And besides that, it would make the YouTube addresses relevant again.
Its one thing to have a Congressional Democrat or say David Axelrod trying to explain health care reform, its quite another to have the President of the United States taking the American people through the benefits of the bill 1 by 1 so they can understand what they are getting and why its necessary.
Right now the weekly address have turned into mind numbing broad strokes. The question at this point is why even do them if nobody cares about them anymore? The Republicans have now jumped in with their own YouTube addresses and they on the other hand aren't pulling any punches. Susan Collins made big news with her YouTube address by trying to hit President Obama on the way he is handling terrorism. Imagine if he clapped back with his own YouTube and had a chart comparing the treatment of underpants bomber to the shoe bomber. I'm telling you, folks would start to see what is really going on.
Now none of this would solve the actually policy problems of getting bills passed because we still have to deal with our own ConservaDems. But at the least when we make moves like going to reconciliation or using recess appointments the American people will understand why and won't blow a gasket when its all said and done.
Just a thought