If you haven't seen it yet, here is the BuzzFeed video with President Obama to promote signing up for health care, whose deadline is Sunday.
I'm sure there will be those who will be critical of Mr. Obama for making what on the surface is a funny video, especially during troubled times. Of course, there will be people critical of Mr. Obama regardless of whatever he does, and there pretty much always will be troubled times when you're the president. But for those who make a reasoned complaint about it, rather than a kneejerk one, I do understand the concern. But I don't agree with it because I think any such complaint misses the larger point --
Though this video is charming and funny -- it's not done as a "funny video." It's done specifically for national political purposes to get young people to sign up for healthcare, with the deadline three days away. And the more people who sign up for the ACA, the better the plan works for everyone.
If the president had instead decided to make a speech about this, it would have taken time to write it, the practice, to likely go to another location, like a school, to deliver it and return. That would not only have used up a lot of resources, but probably taken a few hours of his time. Yet no one would have blinked about him doing it. This likely took half the time. But more importantly -- people watched. And if he'd made that speech -- there's a good chance that almost no one it was intended for would have seen it. But with this video, for BuzzFeed, and on YouTube, the very people who Mr. Obama wanted to see it...did. There have already been 15 million views. Now, obviously not all of those people are the target audience. But if only 10 percent were, that's 1.5 million people -- which is probably about 1.45 million more young people that would have watch a speech. And it was probably a whole lot more that 10 percent. It might have been a third. Or half. Or more.
So, this was a policy push for healthcare. Should he have done it? I understand why some thoughtfully might say no. But I think they'd be very wrong. I think it was smart. And it turns out, with 15 million views, very effective.
That it was fun, while making a political initiative push, should hardly be held against it...
(NOTE: At the present time, BuzzFeed is requiring that the video be taken down from YouTube due to a copyright claim. If that still hasn't been rectified, you can find the video here on BuzzFeed.)
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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