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Monday, August 24, 2009

Monday Big Blue Smurf Blogging: What They Said
Posted by Jill | 6:01 AM
Today's honoree: DCap, who outlines a tactical plan (which is more than the White House ever did) by which Barack Obama can (assuming he even wants to) salvage something out of the health care debacle.

Money quote:
It needs to be re-introduced to the public again - with every single Democratic leader signing on and (here's the kicker) who will all be saying the exact same thing. It needs to clearly explain what it will do and NOT MENTION what it won't (as you see that is a losing marketing idea). Make it clear that all middle class and average Americans will benefit from this - and show them how. Give examples. Use Powerpoint, Lincoln Logs or Barbie Dolls if you want. Make it simple and make it quick. Don't use terms like "public option" or "rationing" or "co-op" any other words that have taken on a life of their own. I am sure your crack White House Chief of Staff can come up with a few choice terms - you pay him enough. Call it health financing reform. Don't go on the stump for it week after week after week. The longer you talk about it, the more likely people (and Rush) will find reasons to hate it.

If the GOP doesn't like it, let them filibuster - that is their constitutional right (80 votes is not). Bring in the coffee, pizza, cots and tapes of Debbie Does Dallas let them have a slumber party in the Senate chambers. And if any Democrat finds the bill distasteful and wants to go public with their criticism (which is their right) - don't threaten but make it clear there will be no support for them for their bills and their re-election. You must, must, must play hardball.

Reading DCap's excellent piece, it occurs to me that Barack Obama really is the second coming of Bill Clinton. He's another highly charismatic politician who is regarded by the Washington insider cabal of the Senate and the TV talking heads as an arriviste -- not one of them, an outsider, someone who doesn't belong.

Washington doyenne Sally Quinn told us everything we need to know about her peeps back in 1998:
When Establishment Washingtonians of all persuasions gather to support their own, they are not unlike any other small community in the country.


But this particular community happens to be in the nation's capital. And the people in it are the so-called Beltway Insiders -- the high-level members of Congress, policymakers, lawyers, military brass, diplomats and journalists who have a proprietary interest in Washington and identify with it.

They call the capital city their "town."

And their town has been turned upside down.

With some exceptions, the Washington Establishment is outraged by the president's behavior in the Monica Lewinsky scandal. The polls show that a majority of Americans do not share that outrage. Around the nation, people are disgusted but want to move on; in Washington, despite Clinton's gains with the budget and the Mideast peace talks, people want some formal acknowledgment that the president's behavior has been unacceptable. They want this, they say, not just for the sake of the community, but for the sake of the country and the presidency as well.

In addition to the polls and surveys, this disconnect between the Washington Establishment and the rest of the country is evident on TV and radio talk shows and in interviews and conversations with more than 100 Washingtonians for this article. The din about the scandal has subsided in the news as politicians and journalists fan out across the country before tomorrow's elections. But in Washington, interest remains high. The reasons are varied, and they intertwine.

1. THIS IS THEIR HOME. This is where they spend their lives, raise their families, participate in community activities, take pride in their surroundings. They feel Washington has been brought into disrepute by the actions of the president.

"It's much more personal here," says pollster Geoff Garin. "This is an affront to their world. It affects the dignity of the place where they live and work. . . . Clinton's behavior is unacceptable. If they did this at the local Elks Club hall in some other community it would be a big cause for concern."

"He came in here and he trashed the place," says Washington Post columnist David Broder, "and it's not his place."

"This is a company town," says retired senator Howard Baker, once Ronald Reagan's chief of staff. "We're up close and personal. The White House is the center around which our city revolves."

And in 2007, she said this about Barack Obama:
The biggest problem that Obama has is this: We don't know who he is. Who are his people? Whom does he surround himself with? Whom does he listen to? Who gives him advice? He's so new to the national political scene that he hasn't had time to choose the team that would be with him in the White House. The more we see him in action, he's still just campaigning. He still has the quality of an unknown. And as attractive and likable as Obama is, we still need references.

Shorter Sally Quinn: "What you doin' in our neighborhood, boy?"

It's not about Obama's race, it's that he isn't one of THEM, the way Bill Clinton wasn't one of THEM. Like Bill Clinton, Barack Obama has made the mistake of assuming that his personal charisma would carry him through anything. And also like Bill Clinton, it worked for a while. But this bunch, and the Republicans they love, don't take well to people coming into their neighborhood and daring to stir things up. So like most people who move into an insular, cliquey neighborhood, the Obama Administration has done its best to try to "fit in", not realizing that there is nothing they can do, no accoutrement of WASP Washington establishment that they can affect, that will change that. And all the Martha's Vineyard vacations in the world won't make one iota of difference.

And like Bill Clinton, he thought it would. And that is why he is replaying the Clinton playbook on health care. Like Bill Clinton, he has the arrogance of confidence, and that is why he thought HIS journey would be different. But Bill Clinton went into his health care battle with a blank slate, because it had been well over a decade since the last Democratic president left office, and Jimmy Carter had never tried to do anything with health care. Barack Obama should have known better. He should have known, based on Bill Clinton's experience, what lay before him. But his arrogance of confidence didn't go so far as to tell the Chuck Grassleys of the world to go fuck themselves. Because he's still hoping to get invited to the neighborhood barbecue given by that family that's been in Washington for the last forty years.

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Blogger Barry said...
Say what you will about Obama, but he's surrounding himself with some damned bright and talented people. That's why I'm mystified that he continues to abdicate the authoring of extremely important pieces of legislation that will define his presidency (the stimulus bill and health care) to the clowns in Congress.

Seriously, what is he thinking? Their approval rating is lower than Bush's, and with good reason. They have taken both of these bills and turned them into bloated monstrosities that do damn little to achieve their purported goals. Why? Seriously, why??

Anonymous Anonymous said...
why? because if they're not invested with the final product, they won't support it. THAT's what he learned from the clinton example.

Blogger WenG said...
Barry, I disagree. Obama has judiciously surrounded himself with the Clinton bench, which mystifies - me - because after all, who won? I made of point of not voting for Hillary because I didn't want leftovers.

Anonymous tsisageya said...
More tactical plans from Jeff Huber at AtLargely. Here's the end:

“By moving forward in Iraq,” Obama told the VFW, “we’re able to refocus on the war against al Qaeda and its extremist allies in Afghanistan and Pakistan.”

Candidate Obama pledged to “get the job done” in Afghanistan when his opponents attacked him for having voted against the surge in Iraq. He would have been better off to refute claims of the strategy’s success. Today, more than two-and-a-half years after the surge commenced, counterinsurgency expert John A. Nagl says, “The insurgency is not over.” Pentagon correspondent Thomas E. Ricks says we’re “at about the midpoint of the conflict now.”

Bush was probably too dim to realize he was talking gibberish about Iraq, but Obama is too smart to believe the bull jargon he’s handing us about the Bananastans.

Obama has to realize that there is no strategy for Afghanistan, and that the organized but senseless violence his generals are conducting there will not further “the security and safety of the American people.”

At this point, Obama cannot escape the Bananastan trap without gnawing off a political foot. He needs to poop can his National Security Council and everyone in the Department of Defense who wears a bird or a star in their collar or whose title contains the word “secretary.” Then he needs to tell the nation that he was wrong about escalating the war in Afghanistan, and then he needs to bring our troops home.

I doubt that he has the political baby makers to do that.

It's titled: In Bush's Footsteps

Blogger Distributorcap said...
obama has several months ahead of himself to redeem himself

i dont think it will happen

i dont think he or his people - Rahm - no any better.

worse than the health debacle is his complete indifference to the torture debate

i am tired of voting for people because they are not republican - i think i have done it again