. . . Monday March 14, 2005

A Fine Mess(age)

David Kiley, who covers marketing and advertising for Businessweek, chimes in on the appointment of Karen Hughes to a State Dept job that will place her at the helm of an effort to improve America’s image in the Muslim world.

Hughes job, in a nutshell, is to market the image of America abroad, especially in the Arab world. Yikes. Hughes has been George Bush’s ideological “buddy” for years now. One of the reasons America and George Bush’s image is so damaged abroad is that the Administration’s policy and rhetoric is so devoid of truth and historical perspective. Hughes is a Bush cheerleader, not a strategist with an independent mind or opinion about how we might seriously affect the silent majority of Muslims who probably want to live with more freedom than a theocracy would allow, but don’t trust America to deliver it to them.

What’s even more interesting that the contant hiring of yes men and women is the fact that the line between campaign politics and actual governance has gone from blurred to invisible. Folks like Rove and Hughes are now making and executing policy decisions. If Bush wants to appoint Hughes to a new position, why not give her the job of making sure that everyone in the U.S. knows that all good things happening in the Middle East are happening because of W? That seems like a more reasonable goal and it’s an area in which she has at least some tangential experience.

But of course that assumes that experience today means the same thing it used to mean and it doesn’t.

Does a background in political messaging Texas style qualify one to effectively communicate with the Muslim world?

In the modern political era, it qualifies you for anything and everything.

Concentration is important!