Last night's SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE opening Joe Biden skit last night was unfortunately good political satire that played on several important key public perceptions of the Obama Administration. Even though this administration is only 10 months into office, more and more the public feels that this administration owns it's own problems with the economy, Iraq, Afghanistan as well as concerns about health care reform and the federal budget.
Comic actor Jason Sudeikis, unfortunately hit the nail on the head in many ways. Skilled comics often have the ability to satire things in a manner that no other editorial can do. All of this should send a wake-up call to the White House that public perception is a critical component even though reversing years of economic decline in just 10 months in office is a very difficult, if not impossible task. And complex foreign policy problems like Iraq or Afghanistan are very easy situations to get into, but difficult to win. Both situations involve homegrown civil wars between feuding rival religious groups within Islam. The history of any superpower winning these little civil wars around the world has never been good.
But the public isn't entirely free from blame either. They have a very short attention span, and seem to forget that problems with the last administration in creating some of the difficult problems. When the economy started to slow, where was the last administration? And instead of concentrating for success against the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, that war got diverted for the side war in Iraq. But is just 10 months, the public seems to have forgotten that.
Another problem is that both parties seem more incapable of dealing with complex problems than they used to be. Part of that is the complexity of red tape to do things now compared to years ago. In the 1930's it was far easier for Franklin Roosevelt to more immediately put Americans back to work through road construction projects and other public works projects. Today, millions of dollars in studies, environmental impact statements, and public hearings often needs to be spent before even one brick can be laid in order to start a project. This has blunted much of the stimulus efforts of Washington.
But SNL did nail one critical notion last night. Public perception is an all important entity. And the Obama Administration needs to manage the nation's problems as well as they managed their campaign for president. Public perception is everything. SNL was dead-on last night.