I know something about spin. I was a Marketing professor for thirty years.
But I never had to spin professionally; I was an academic. So I don’t know anywhere near as much about spin as a Kellyanne Conway; and far less than a successful branding entrepreneur, such as Mr. Frump.
But I know something about spin.
Campaigning versus Governing
Spin can be much more successful when campaigning. There the upside is almost infinitely greater. During the campaign, everything is intangible; nothing is established. What did your opponent really do while in office? Who knows? Which of your promises will be kept? Who knows? Spin has room to move.
During campaigns, spin reigns.
Actions taken while governing are much harder to spin than campaign communications. Soldiers die. Markets plummet. People lose healthcare. Businesses go bankrupt. And all the while, you were unambiguously the one in charge. Right? You are el Presidente, are you not?
Sooner or later governing puts spinmeisters in what might be called the Richard Pryor position:
“Who you gonna believe—me or your lying eyes?”
If a family loses its healthcare, a beloved spouse dies. Death of a family member is among the hardest things to spin away.
Welcome to the Obamacare wars of 2017! Pity the Republicans, now edging their way into the Richard Pryor position.
The dilemma for Democrats: to prevail in the long run, must they first occupy the Cinderella (or Joni Mitchell) position:
“You don’t know what you got until it’s gone.”
Can Obamacare be saved, if it is not first lost?
Losses averted, can easily be spun as never plausible in the first place.
Losses once taken, are never forgot.