A Baffled David Alexrod

“For me, the question is, why haven’t we broken through more than we have? Why haven’t we broken through?” - David Alexrod, Senior Communications Advisor to the President

Given the rah-rah-rah Rahm is God pieces in the Washington Post as of late that left even the Dean of the Beltway David Broder scratching his head, it's rather refreshing to see Mark Leibovich of the New York Times take a more balanced and nuanced look at David Alexrod and the lost narrative of the Administration.

The article also provides a glimpse into the inner workings of the Obama White House. We learn that Mr. Alexrod is often at the President’s side, that he sits in on policy and national security meetings and that he is routinely the last person the President talks to before making a decision. That certainly speaks to the comfort and trust the President has in David Alexrod and reflects the measure of his power and influence.

Another insight into the Obama White House comes via a curious quote courtesy of David Gibbs, the White Press Secretary. The affable Alabaman notes that “the list of people who have to deliver bad news to the president is very small" with David Alexrod first on that list and the Press Secretary "probably second.” The quote is somewhat of a non-sequitor in the story nestled between Mr. Alexrod's deep loyalty to the President and the concerns of his friends over the grind of the job and his diet. The Gibbs quote, however, does seem to confirm other reports that Team Obama is perhaps at best a tight-knit, tight-lipped quintet.

Still the most telling part was learning that Mr. Alexrod expresses "bafflement" that the Administration’s efforts to stimulate the economy in a crisis, overhaul the healthcare system and prosecute two wars have been routinely framed and have been met by conservatives and their echo chamber in the media and policy establishment as the handiwork of a big-government, soft-on-terrorism, socialist ideologue. It's as if he's Rip Van Winkle having awaken from a forty year slumber and missed the radicalization of the Republican party. At some point, one has to take them at their word and act accordingly.

Tags: David Alexrod, Obama Administration (all tags)

Comments

34 Comments

But really

what do liberals expect? It is not that Obama and the White House have not tried to break through ao get their message out. There is only so much they can do. I have seen a lot of criticism of the WH messaging but very few suggestions for change. President Obama is working against a media that is wired for right wing control. When Obama does craft an effective message there is no follow through by the back up players in Congress. Obama has held two prime time addresses that focus on health care, yet he is accused of not leading. When the president steps up and sets deadlines for the House to pass the Senate bill, immediately Hoyer and others say they are not in a rush. Obama's team is not perfect but I think they are doing a good job overall.

by Lolis 2010-03-07 12:06AM | 4 recs
RE: But really

For me this a far more telling quote from the article:

But then he (Axelrod) shot back: “Have I succeeded in reversing a 30-year trend of skepticism and cynicism about government? I confess that I have not. Maybe next year."

This is part of general trend. Coming in after Bush and the mess he left behind both in perceptions of the government and the general mess would always be tough. Add that to the recent study that showed "trust in government" closely tacks economic conditions. The US is a lot like the Titanic... it won't turn on a dime.

by vecky 2010-03-07 01:37AM | 1 recs
Change

really involves changing values (see Chalmers Johnson's Revolutionary Change) and it can happen overnight. 

I do agree, however, that the US is a lot like the Titanic . . . we're sinking fast in a sea of debt while starved of the tax revenues that could keep us afloat while captained by a man who seems more interested in negotiating with the iceberg that has sunk us.

Shaming is a powerful agent of change. We need to shame the GOP into submission, a tall order perhaps but a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. Rather than reach out, I'd welcome a sustained bludgeoning of the GOP. Frankly, that's how Reagan did it to us.

by Charles Lemos 2010-03-07 01:53AM | 0 recs
RE: Change

No change has ever happened overnight. Even revolutions take time to build.

Thanks for taking the analogy and butchering it. Not helping. As for the shame I don't buy it (hello Sen. Vitter) ... but hey, maybe some more articles bashing the GOP would help rather than you know...

by vecky 2010-03-07 02:05AM | 1 recs
RE: Change

does overnight. One example from Bogotá.

Here's the full article:

Dream Works: How two mayors broke the mold to rejuvenate their cities

 

As mayor from 2001 to 2003, Mockus used humor, peer pressure, and visual reinforcements as tools of cultural persuasion in Bogotá, a period in which the homicide rate fell by 70 percent, traffic fatalities dropped by half, water conservation increased, and drinking water and sewer service reached nearly all homes for the first time in the city’s history. He prompted 60,000 people to pay an extra 10 percent in taxes — voluntarily.

How did he help to foster those changes? By handing out thousands of thumbs-up and thumbs-down cards to citizens who used them as a peaceful way to judge one another’s behaviors in the public sphere, by hiring mimes to make fun of traffic violators, and by placing yellow stars at all the locations in which there had been a pedestrian death in the previous five years, just to name a few. The approach worked, he said, because it combined three regulatory systems: law, morality, and culture.

Germany and Japan post WW II are other examples of quick rapid change.

I've brought up this up before but remember Michele Obama's UCLA speech where she said that Obama was going to require us to work. Well that never came to fruition. Obama mobilized millions during the election. He needed to sustain that mobilization in government. And the peculiar aspect is that Obama wanted to model himself on Ronald Reagan as a transformative president. Reagan didn't really pass historic legislation apart from his tax cuts but he used every opportunity to disparage government and the Democrats by extension and Obama has failed to make the case for government day in and day out.

by Charles Lemos 2010-03-07 02:25AM | 0 recs
RE: Change

So what would you have done differently to keep the millions of volunteers mobilized? I was a volunteer and the realiity is we have jobs, hobbies, and friends. It is hard to mobilize a group of people without a short term goal and a sense of urgency. Maintaining both of those things for four years is a simply impossible. People like my brother donated a crazy amount of time for Obama for a few weeks.

Obama has been hurt by other Democrats who undermine his efforts publicly and as often as he can. This makes people like my brother wonder what the point is. His current lack of interest has nothing to do with the case that Obama is making for government. In fact every time my brother hears or sees Obama he is inspired an reassured. By not giving up on health care (like the MSM would love him to do), Obama is creating the thing most likely to turn us around from Republican ideology.

by Lolis 2010-03-07 10:27AM | 0 recs
RE: Change

If he had just kept all of the paid organizers that had made his campaign work, it would have been a lot easier to keep his supporters mobilized. Instead, President Obama immediately fired all the organizers.

And instead of focusing on the needs and desires of the American people, Obama has tried to negotiate and engage in backroom deals with Congress and special interests (Big Pharma, Health Insurers, nuclear power industry, military contractors, etc.). President Obama should have been siding with the American people in challenging these interests, not kissing up to them. He should have continually worked to energize and mobilize his supporters instead of trying to be "bipartisan" and "looking to the future". If Obama had run as bad a campaign as he has run his presidency, he would never have gotten the nomination.

by RandomNonviolence 2010-03-07 11:40AM | 0 recs
Was there a President who did not make deals?

Please list a President, preferably from modern times, who did not strike deals with special interest groups.

Those health industry and power deals you list will bring us healthcare reform and new nuclear power planst, both of which are good things.

This guy is set to accomplish the biggest liberal legislative achievement since LBJ or FDR, depending on how you count it, and he's doing a bad job?

by NoFortunateSon 2010-03-07 05:26PM | 1 recs
RE: Change

Blah Blah blah blah... how are these "backroom deal"s when they were announced directly in front of the press? "The Deal" with Phrma was well known - $40 billion in rebates for drugs purchased by Medicaid, $60 billion in discounts for drugs purchased under Medicare part D. Are those things you can support, that help the American people, or not?

by vecky 2010-03-07 11:31PM | 0 recs
I'm not really sure these examples are appropriate.

First, the United States political system was designed specifically to provide stability via insulation from rapid change. I'm not aware of the specifics of the current political situation in Columbia, but I can think of no Latin or South American country that has the same level of political stability as the United States. This is no disrespect to Latin America. I was an overseas volunteer in rural Honduras. There, I witnessed how a lack of political stability can lead to grinding, generational poverty. he problem for the United States comes when change is needed rapidly. Like now.

Moreover, Germany and Japan were completely obliterated in WWII. You had nations leveled to the ground and societies completely destroyed, plus the guilt of wrongdoing associated with the surviving fractions. Not a single person in those countries was spared from being completely affected. The irony behind our society is how it has spared so many from sacrifice. Vietnam affected everyone thanks to the draft. So to prevent social upheaval, we don’t get rid of the war, we get rid of the draft. If we had a draft, do you think Bush could have marched us to war? Absolutely not! In the Great Depression, very few people were unaffected. So what do we do? We create the New Deal and social programs. Now, those affected, such as myself, can live their lives almost normally on social programs. Do you think U.S. politics would be the same if the 14.9 million of us unemployed were living under highway overpasses? If we were freezing to death in ditches because we had nowhere to go and nothing to eat, what would people say about social welfare? If everyone else saw the problem, and that the problem wasn't limited to supposed lazy xenophobia targets? No. My friends who work are envious that I get to sit home all day and get paid $653 a week.

Obama has called on us many times, but I argue that it is us who have not responded, not him who has not called out. No offense, but this isn’t a cult of personality, no matter what the pumas like to believe. It is no one's job to motivate ourselves other than us. No President motivated the Civil Rights marchers. No President motivated the suffragists. No President motivated the Vietnam War protesters. These causes had no Internet, no Cable News, no nothing. Yet these people motivated for change. And they achieved it. What have we done? Blogged. We've moaned and whined on the Internet. That's it. Leaving aside the controversial nature of Jane Hamsher's personality, do you know how many people showed up at her rally on the Capitol for healthcare reform? 500. 500 people. That's it. Despite everyone in this country continuously being victimized by the insurance companies, 500 people showed up. Put 100,000 people on the Mall, and you'd have single payer. We have become lazy and complacent as a society. We stand on our electronic soapboxes and shout out into the void. We expect everything to be done for us, and we don't left a finger.

As for Regan, he had it easy. Anti-government memes ran back to reconstruction and became most enflamed in the 60's. That was easy to tap into. Mistrust of government didn't subside simply because Barack Obama is President. Obama has to fight against it, and he'll lose a verbal argument on that. He has to show us that government works. And that will take time.

by NoFortunateSon 2010-03-07 05:22PM | 0 recs
RE: Change

Bogota is a single city. Once can just as easily site the example of NYC which also drastically cut the violent crime rate during the early 1990s. Germany and Japan were neither rapid nor unbloody, putting it mildly.

As for "our" organization - well what's stopping us? We didn't need a guy in the WH to issue marching orders in 2003, 2006 or 2008. Conservatives are organizing - also without the benefit of functional RNC or the executive branch.

As for the "case for government" - I think you misunderstand the rhetoric of liberals being "pro-government" and conservatives "anti-government". That is not the case. With the exception of anarchists and true libertarians both sides believe in government but differ on what to use government for. When conservatives rail against government they are actually railing against government being used for liberal issues. As you mentioned Reagan passed no significant legislation/policy on the "anti-government" front. Rather conservatives simply shifted government to suit their needs: more funding for the military/less for education/health/infrastructure. Less government power over business and corporations/more power over social/value issues (see Terri Schavio for an apt example). Conservatives/Republicans have a very different idea on who government should work for from liberals/Dems. Dems want government to help the "have-nots", Republicans want government to help the "haves". That's pretty much all the anti/pro-government rhetoric is all about.

by vecky 2010-03-07 11:21PM | 0 recs
RE: But really

Yes, so why haven't liberals mounted anti-anti-government campaign?

The sooner we start, the sooner we'll make some headway.

Carolyn Kay
MakeThemAccountable.com 

by Caro 2010-03-07 03:27PM | 1 recs
RE: But really

Becasue the issue is not about government per se - it's about what government does and who it helps.

Take the differences in the HC bill - the Dem plan aims to help the sick and poor, while preserving as best it can the system used by everyone else. The GOP plan (such as it is, their House draft being the closest I guess) aims to help the healthy and wealthy.

by vecky 2010-03-07 11:26PM | 0 recs
RE: But really

So why are we sitting on our hands, allowing Republicans to blame government for every ill in the universe, without even trying to tell people who is really at fault?

 

Carolyn Kay
MakeThemAccountable.com 

by Caro 2010-03-09 12:10PM | 0 recs
RE: But really

"what do liberals expect?"

Well, 1st on the list, I expect not to be called an 'effen retard'.  If it was just that, however, I could still let it go.  Combine the overall lack of respect with an outright conservative agenda indicates to me that this administration just doesn't give a darn about Liberals.  Let's count a few examples, shall we:

1.) Continuation of Bush bankster bailout policies & zero serious efforts to leash and collar them;

2.) DADT;

3.) Guantanamo Bay, Iraq, Afghan escalation, etc...

4.) Zero efforts to exert influence over the anti democratic Federal Reserve.

5.) The disappearance of the Justice Dept.  Where are the prosecutions?

In summary, every one of those items I've mentioned is either the direct responsibility of the Executive, or subject to substantial pressure.  Instead, we have a president who STILL does not understand that no one gives a bleep about bipartisanship except him.  Certainly not the Republics.  So perhaps we can all send David Axelrod a quarter and he'll have enough money to buy a clue.

by weinerdog43 2010-03-07 11:37AM | 1 recs
To be fair

It was only in the last Administration that the Republican Party switched over from cynically manipulating the crazies to really being owned by them.  Even now, there's still a recognizable gap between the Republicans and the Tea Party.  In the absence of the current economic disaster, the way the Republicans are behaving now would totally alienate the bipartisan-fetishist center, ruining them electorally; but everyone in the Administration has a job so the economic downturn is a thing on paper, a factor perhaps in polling but not in everyday reality, and therefore it's not surprising that they don't grasp that the Republicans don't need to act civilized people. 

Which is not to say that I think the Republicans could ever act civilized, but I knew Obama thought they could when I voted for him.

by Endymion 2010-03-07 01:54AM | 0 recs
I think

the 1970s was the pivotal decade that saw the beginnings of the transformation of the GOP. Recall that as of 1980 Republican Senators included men like Charles Mathias, Jacob Javits, Bob Packwood, Mark Hatfield. The Jesse Helms and the Storm Thurmonds were the exception but now they are the rule.

Look at the difference between Scott Brown and the last Republican to serve from Massachusetts, Edward Brooke. Scott Brown is no Edward Brooke.

by Charles Lemos 2010-03-07 02:09AM | 0 recs
RE: I think

the 1970s was the pivotal decade that saw the beginnings of the transformation of the GOP.

I actually argue it was the mid 60's with the Civil Rights Era, but that's besides the point. Above, you said:

And the peculiar aspect is that Obama wanted to model himself on Ronald Reagan as a transformative president. Reagan didn't really pass historic legislation apart from his tax cuts but he used every opportunity to disparage government and the Democrats by extension and Obama has failed to make the case for government day in and day out.

In essence, Regan was running with the wind at his back. The societal changes of the great backlash had already been in motion for a decade plus with signs of failing government all around.

It's impossible to tell where we stand now, for one cannot see the forest through the trees. But I think it i s safe to say Obama still faces much more of a headwind. He isn't relenting. It's just going to take more than a year and a month to magically change the world. At this time in Regan's Presidency, regan had an approval af about 43%.

I just cannot fathom the impatience on Obama being transformative.

by NoFortunateSon 2010-03-07 06:02PM | 0 recs
RE: I think

The 1960s certainly set the stage for the 1970s but the critical events that led to America's rightward drift came in the 1970s.

They include Roe vs. Wade, the Boston Busing Crisis, the Lewis Powell memorandum to the Chamber of Commerce, the Panama Canal Treaty, the fall of Nicaragua to the Sandinistas, the fall of Vietnam, the backlash against Affirmative Action, the establishment of right wing think tanks such as Cato and the Heritage Foundation (Hudson and the AEI are older but even their dramatic growth came post 1971), the evangelical movement among others.

If I had to pick a specific start date for the rebirth of the American right it might be April 8, 1947 and the formation of the Mont Pelerin Society or perhaps the 1955 founding of the National Review in 1955 but these years in the wilderness for conservatives.

It also bears noting that Nixon certainly governed as a moderate to liberal. There was such a beast as a liberal Republican in the 1970s, these have gradually gone extinct. There are those in the GOP who perceive Lindsey Graham or even Mike Huckabee as too moderate.

by Charles Lemos 2010-03-07 11:53PM | 0 recs
RE: I think

Is there "one" moment? The right dominated government during the 1920's - the first "red scare". The 1950's saw the McCarthy years and Taft, not exactly non-conservatives. The 60's famously saw Goldwater. Since then Liberal Republicans have generally been replaced by liberal Democrats, while conservative democrats have been replaced by conservative republicans. That's just part of the realignment that has been happening. The onyl significant change I can see electorally in the past few decades is that the Democrats have lost the social conservatives to the GOP. This is sort of expected given the rights mvt. and the Democrats embrace of minorities. I don't think the Dems will be willing to trade back either.

by vecky 2010-03-08 12:09AM | 1 recs
Regardless

One issue is whether Obama can be a transformative President like Regan.

I do not find fault in Obama making such a comparison. However, for Obama to be transformative will require a level of effort one or two orders of magnitude greater than that required of Regan.

In 1980, Regan had to simply hit a note already honed by Nixon and others before him to tune in to the seething rage beneath the surface of America.

After all, Regan laucnched his campaign in 1980 in Philadelphia, MS talking about States Rights.

by NoFortunateSon 2010-03-08 01:05AM | 0 recs
Closed Doors and Inner Circles

I think the problem here (in this post) is interpretation; it's the sort of "glass half full", rosy scenario view of Obama that's plagued a lot of left-side thinking since early 2008. I think many of us want Obama to succeed (i certainly do), sometimes so much that we can't see, clearly the flaws that have been in play all along: that Obama and his team are really very new and somewhat naive at what they're doing, and that, in a number of ways, they're not doing things very well.

It should be more troubling, I think, than Charles expresses, that the "people who can deliver bad news" to Obama are so few and amount, basically to Axelrod and Gibbs, two people who don't seem to entirely comprehend what's not working or why. The "bafflement" and blame the media (as well as the right wing noise machine) also strikes me as quite myopic - there's a slew of dissatisfaction on the left that's entirely not about "socialism," "big government," etc... but about a failure within the Administration to move, bravely, on some of the biggest issues we face with the economy, balancing national security with a better approach to anti-terror efforts, or especially healthcare reform. To think that their problem is a sales job that's failed because of the right... is to really miss a lot of the point, right now.

I think more Democrats should be more concerned about the narrowness and insularity of Obama's circle, a concern many of us (how else can I put it.... from our Hillary-iish perspectives) that has been expressed time and again: there is too much similarity of worldview and mindset within his small circle, too little tension, confrontation and disagreement. No wonder they feel blind-sided: they wonder why everyone can't see, well, what they see.

Finally, I think, all of this, while also of a piece with a number of other critiques that have come out lately (including, I think those Emanuel pieces), it's also a good indicator of why the relations between the White House and Congress are so problematic: they aren't adversarial enough with their own Democratic leadership, not particularly interested in Congressional views that diverge from their own... and unwilling to take on the elements of change that are hardest and most desperately needed, including up-ending a cozy, self-satisfied sense within the Democratic Party that nothing, really, is wrong with senior management. What's wrong is... everybody else. That's a bad place for any company's executives to be... and I'd argue that the piece is more revealing than they realize, in that it it doesn't just show why things have been going so wrong... but why it's unlikely that we'll see much improvement anytime soon.

by nycweboy1 2010-03-07 07:25AM | 2 recs
Why...here why?

Because the perception by the public is, same old politics. They see the Government spending a trillion dollars here and there and see no positive outcome. They see the deficit exploding, while congress continues to call for more spending. They see their budgets at home underwater and being forced to cut out everything they can to pay their bills, while congress calls for more spending and taxes. They see people like Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi dictates what is best for us, when they clearly see that neither has any clue as to what being a middle class workign american is like. They see the President talk abotu healthcare reform, but he never ever took the lead on it. He allowed the crooks in congress to figure it out. The President campaigned on changed and has given them business as usual. Its why the people and the press are slowly turning against him.

by BuckeyeBlogger 2010-03-07 09:39AM | 0 recs
Elements of the left ...

and -- that's a significant, if minority, current wthin Obama's coalition -- make a distinction between issues on which political compromise is necessary and issues where we think there is a principle is involved and you have to be willing to go down fighting if you can't win. On rule of law, civil liberties and concessions to theocrats like Stupak, the administration crosses the line for some of us. When they are doing as much harm as good, they lose access to our active support.

Different segments of the Democratic coalition have different bottom lines -- but to govern you have to show some awareness (not deference but awareness) of pretty much all of them. The administration players seem not have any real analysis of why they won -- how they became the focus of a dizzying array of discontents that they didn't have to manage in a campaign context, but which they do have to manage now if they want to get anything done. Forget the Republicans -- those isolated guys in the White House are getting to where they have no friends. That really does point to Jimmy Carter territory -- another good man and bad President.

The administration is tone deaf about their various coalition members' baseline principles, appearing to tromp over them without knowing that they are doing real damage. They could at least mitigate the damage if they had a better sense of the political configuration they depend on. Probably the only set they can count on never to desert are the majority of African-Americans (though they can't count on them to turn out.). But they can alienate just about every other potential friend one way or another. And you can't govern with no friends.

by janinsanfran 2010-03-07 10:38AM | 5 recs
RE: Elements of the left ...

Astute analysis. They were so good at campaigning, it's hard to fathom how they could not know this.

Another thing, Axelrod's bafflement at the dug-in opposition by GOP, even to Obama's attempted compromise position...is just plain weird. How could they not realize how bat-sh** crazy the GOP is?

I don't get their continued rhetoric of compromise and centrism. What do they imagine they are going to achieve that way?

And that points up another problem they are creating for themselves as they continue to talk "centrism" and make compromise after compromise with themselves--they are losing the respect of people who may not have expected them to win all, or even some, battles. But we expected them to fight them. Instead they ride in waving the white flag before a single shot has been fired.

It is clear the only compromise the GOP will accept is for Obama-Biden to abdicate and hand over the reins to the GOP crazy du jour.

And sometimes I feel even that wouldn't be enough.

by Coral 2010-03-07 10:53AM | 3 recs
RE: Elements of the left ...

It's wasn't the administration which made the concession to Stupak - it was the House leadership. In the general Euphoria of passing the "better" House Bill liberals forgot about that - even though the President put out a statement saying Stupak-pitts wasn't kosher.

by vecky 2010-03-07 11:42PM | 0 recs
unrealistic expectations

Some things to consider:

1.  Obama is really a conciliator, not a strong leader, and he doesn't have the congressional leadership to help him out.  That being said, there has been a major fail on messaging from day one.

2.  It's really really hard to change a right-leaning nation.  The bottom line is that the US is the most conservative (outside perhaps Switzerland) of developed nations.

3.  I think everyone underestimated how united and disciplined the GOP would be after Obama's election.

4.  A smaller more incremental approach to a progressive agenda may not get a lot of results, but it would be a lot easier to keep the GOP on the agenda.

I just don't think the American people are ready for a massive agenda, however necessary.

by esconded 2010-03-07 11:03AM | 1 recs
RE: unrealistic expectations

A sizable portion of the electorate thinks that the problem with the healthcare bill in Congress is that it doesn't go far enough. Over 60% want a strong public option. You certainly wouldn't know this from listening to Glenn Beck, House Minority Leader John Boehner, or the corporate media. But you would also never know this from listening to President Obama. And that is the problem -- President Obama has accepted and regurgitated all the right-wing talking points about how scary progressive positions are. On that playing field, with the progressive perspective completely hidden, his agenda looks extremist. But he didn't have to set it up that way. He could have focused on all the advantages of progressive positions and then compromised from there.

Americans are ready for real solutions, but not for watered-down pro-corporate crap.

by RandomNonviolence 2010-03-07 11:32AM | 3 recs
RE: unrealistic expectations

I'm pretty sure we can get a Public Option if we just ditch the subsidies for the working poor and middle class and the medicaid expansion. Maybe get rid of guaranteed issue and community ratings as well. Plus then it won't cost a penny so we can get rid of the taxes and keep the medicare overpayments to insurance companies too.

But those things are watered-down pro-corporate crap obviously. Must be a reason Sherrod Brown, Harkin, Rockfeller and like voted for that.

by vecky 2010-03-07 11:40PM | 0 recs
Obama trashed his base

The very first thing that Obama did after winning the election was to fire all the paid organizers that had helped him win. He acted like the best way to govern was to negotiate with all the special interests and elite powers in Washington. But the last year shows just how stupid this strategy is. Obama's strength came from grassroots organizing. He should have relied on the grassroots for power to challenge the elite, not negotiated with the elite to disempower the grassroots. Instead, he has cozied up to the special interests and elite powerbrokers and ignored his progressive base. And the fact that Axelrod doesn't understand this is very scary.

by RandomNonviolence 2010-03-07 11:25AM | 0 recs
We Ignore Lakoff at our own Peril

Republicans speak in bumber stickers while Democrats believe they can break through with nuance and policy speak. Look at the data that shows that when given each individual aspect of HRC folks like agree with it.

by phastphil 2010-03-07 11:44AM | 0 recs
It's the Media, Stupid

Axelrod really should have known this, it's unforgivable.  He IS the Media Consultant, for God's sake!  I believe he was really taken by surprise at the entrenched rightward and GOP slant of the Media.  I think he STILL believes there's a Lib'rul Media out there.

After the Rev. Wright debacle, where Obama's poll numbers went down so fast he was forced to go to Philly for the memorable "My-Grandmother-is-White" speech, Axelrod should have known that the Villagers like Broder, Quinn, Marcus, Dowd, Will, Timmeh, Dave, Tweety, and their ilk would NEVER counter the HateRadio-FOX smear machine, but would instead gleefully give the smears column space and airtime without any caveats or corrections, and thus help build and maintain the GOP narrative.

Ithappens every week:  The GOP pushes out a smear, and they discuss it like it was true. Last week, it was Eric Holder and the Al-Qaeda 7 until even the Village realized the RIght had gone too far.  This week, it's how Charlie Rangel and Patterson and Massa have sunk the Democratic Party.

Today, that same machine has successfully udermined everything the White House has tried to do. It has forced the White House to throw good people like Van Jones and Anita Dunn under the bus, it has forced the President to combat stupid brushfires like the Death Panels and the Socialist meme, it has  forced the White House to spend a lot of Political Capital on nonsense and left it bereft of its megaphone.

WE HAVE NO MEGAPHONE.

That is the problem.  NO MEGAPHONE.

Not Axe, not Obama, not Geithner, not Rahm.

WE HAVE NO MEGAPHONE.

The GOP has succeeded in slapping it out of the President's hand for all intents and serious purposes.  When the GOP was tricked into giving the President a share of its Megaphone in Baltimore, when the GOP counted on the teleprompter nonsense to further damage the President, it got the surprise of its life.  We got back the Megaphone, broefly, and the whole dynamic and narrative changed.

How do we win back the attention and respect of the American people, when the NY Times, the WaPo, Network News and every other major media avenue has been corrupted by the Right and is busy undermining everything we stand for?

I suggest the Internet and sites like Josh Marshall's, Markos Moulitsas' Crooks-n-Liars, ThinkProgress, and others like this one have been the main reason we won the Election in 2008, they are all we have to push OUR Narrative, and we better fight like rabid Wolverines to dominate this medium, and keep using these as our only Megaphone.

Already, FOXNation, HotAir, and POLITICO have been making inroads into our last media stronghold, and if I were Axe, I would immediately fund amply and appoint my strongest leadership to shoring this stronghold up, expanding it, and winning back the BIG Megaphone.  Or we lose, maybe forever.

All the arguments above about how Obama's policies may or may not be Liberal or Progressive enough remind me of sheep milling around arguing about which is the right entrance to use into the pen, when the wolves have already begun to close the circle, and will soon close in and bar the door.

by dembluestates 2010-03-07 07:04PM | 1 recs
RE: It's the Media, Stupid

Very astute post. For so long, the mantra has been that the media has been a liberal mouthpiece, but your post made me really think about it. (I always thought it was funny coming here and hearing that the media was pro-conservative while at other site they say the exact opposite.) It really has all changed. The NYT, CNN, CBS, NBC, etc no longer have the strangle hold on the media that they once did.

People have tuned out the traditional media voices in search of alternatives. I think you are correct that the future is people driven, not organization driven and that sites like this will continue to have a greater and greater influence on individuals.

Trying to grab back the megaphone is not an easy task as this is a conservative leaning nation. People gravitate toward the voices that resonate with them, so when you can have those voices piped directly into an iPhone, the once big megaphones are marginalized.  

Sure there will be people who are open to listen to all sides, but the progessive/liberal philosophy has taken a big hit because President Obama and Congress have not really changed the single most important thing; the corruption between government and big business.

The one saving grace is that the people hold the GOP in equal contempt and a third party may fragment the conservative vote.  

 

by tpeichel 2010-03-08 12:14PM | 0 recs
Axelrod is inept.

I know the blogosphere likes to blame Rahm for everything but, the fact is, Axelrod is in charge of messaging and he's been abysmal.

 

 

by Bush Bites 2010-03-08 08:56AM | 0 recs

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