Another tip: Know your audience. Impugning the motives of those who have a reasonable concern about the growing size and scope of government isn't a good idea when so many feel that way. A Rasmussen poll reported this week a plurality (48 percent) of Americans want their governors to fight Obamacare's implementation in their state; that doesn't make them evil people who want to "impose pain and uncertainty" on other families. Roughly two-thirds of Americans feel our country remains on the wrong track, and the president's approval ratings are underwater. For the first time ever, a majority of Americans (53 percent) told Pew Research in January they feel the federal government threatens their personal rights and freedoms.
Speeches aren't given in a vacuum. Audiences put them in context. Americans know that no one's been held accountable for the IRS targeting of conservatives; nor has anyone been brought to justice for the murder of Americans in Benghazi, despite the President's initial promises to do both. Now in his speeches he calls them "distractions" and "phony scandals." He's lost his credibility. Given the disclosures about massive surveillance of citizens by the National Security Agency, it's not shocking that so many feel threatened by the government. It's all feeding the notion that government is growing too big and too out of control and too untruthful.
That's why the president's speeches aren't breaking through, why it's hard to take him at his word, and why Americans aren't listening to him anymore. You reap what you sow.