THE QUEEN OF BRANDING
“How can a man in a cave outcommunicate the world’s leading
—Richard Holbrooke, U.N. ambassador during the Clinton administration
“How is it that the country that invented Hollywood and Madison Avenue has such trouble promoting a positive image of itself
—Henry Hyde, congressman (R-IL)
KEITH REINHARD, IN FACT, HAD BEEN A LITTLE SLOW ON THE UP take. President George W. Bush had asked the same question—why do they hate us?—several weeks earlier when he addressed Congress in the immediate aftermath of 9/11. It also came up in even blunter terms at numerous White House meetings. The answer was always the same, too: We have to do a better job of telling our story.
In any large organization, once the guy at the top makes his wishes known, people two or three levels down fall all over themselves finding ways to show that they “get it.” Often, their advice has the practical effect of settling scores, expanding their turf, or funding their favorite project. And so it was in the Bush administration in the days following 9/11. The bureaucracy churned with new initiatives. And political appointees went into campaign mode, hewing to the message of the day, which in the run-up to the war in Afghanistan and through the first months of the war in Iraq, was that “we are not at war with Islam.” Unfortunately, by declaring “war” on terrorism, the Bush administra-