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Here are some news stories and articles which might be of interest to you. I've posted the opening section, and if you want to read more, you can click on "Read the whole article" to go to the original item. You'll find a variety of things here -- current news, political analysis, opinion pieces, articles about religion -- things I've happened to read and want to share with you. It's your Reading Room, so take your time. Browse. You're certain to find something you'll want to read.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Obamas Violated First Three Rules of Selling

by C. Edmund Wright

Of course Barack and Michelle Obama failed in Copenhagen. Their strategy could not possibly succeed. In their academic arrogance, they thought they could sell a product they clearly do not believe in (the United States) and moreover, they could do so by stressing the benefits to the seller (Chicago) and not the buyer (the IOC). And to top it off, they committed the faux pas of talking too much about the sales force (themselves) and not about the product or the buyer.

Gee, what could possibly go wrong?

Anyone who has had to succeed in the real business world -- and that includes few if any on Team Obama -- instinctively knows that to get business done you have to believe in what you are doing and offer a product or service that is focused on the benefits to the customer. In the Obama World of Chicago pay-to-play power, business gets done by flexing muscle and clearing the field of your competitors. You don't have to sell anything. You don't have to believe in anything. It is fine to be self-focused. You simply have to apply the power of the applicable political machinery and you win.

Which could explain why the First Couple was so apparently lost in an attempt to actually have to make a sale to an audience not cowed by Chicago-style clout, inoculated by our own fawning Jurassic media, nor remotely interested in their life stories. Perhaps that is how and why they botched it so badly.

That is not to say that Chicago was a slam dunk in the first place. I have no way of knowing what their ultimate chances were. But the embarrassing first round knockout was a definitive rejection of both the Obamas and their approach. Their hearts were in selling the Obama brand, not U-S-A.

The Obamas' sales pitch was awful by any definition. Of course. How can our President, who has made his political fortune at the expense of the reputation of the country, sell our country to the IOC with a straight face?

The answer is he could not. And although it would have been an out of body experience, I still thought he would at least attempt to sell America and some notion of our logistical competence and love of sports and so on. I didn't think he would believe it, but certainly thought the teleprompter would sneak in something good about the country for him to read...

Read the whole article.

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Fr. Phillips is the founding pastor of Our Lady of the Atonement Catholic Church, the first Anglican Use parish, established on August 15, 1983. Not that there is any confusion, but he is on the left, shown in his younger, less gray-headed days.