It's the economy, stupid
Incredibly, a poster at The Obama 527 Formerly Known As Daily Kos -- under the provocative title "Is dkos being played by Rove?"* -- gets it, and has a way forward, though I didn't look at the comments because I had not time to disinfect afterwards. Quoting Bareback Andy (no link) quoting email, this gem:
Just a few examples---yesterday Obama gave a fantastic interview at the Service Forum. Did the liberal blogs even cover this? No.
He gave a great speech on the trail. Are his town halls even posted or excerpted? No.
The liberal [sic] bloggers have become McCain[/Palin] central [Jeralyn]. They make people click on his ads, make the world spin around him instead of focusing on our candidate and what he is trying to do. There is ZERO coverage of what Obama is actually doing every day talking tough on the issues. There is ZERO coverage of Biden (who is on the trail but the blogs don't seem to care or cover him unless he is doing what they think he should be doing).
Town Halls?! Like Hillary did?!?! So, I googled for transcripts, and a hasty search found one, way back on September 5, in York, PA (with Bob Casey, ick, but that's another story):
[OBAMA] This is the second day in a row where we've taken a look at manufacturing here in Pennsylvania. Yesterday, we were in York and we were looking at hydroturbines that are being manufactured there today, specialty glass. And when you hear about some of the work that's being done, making the glass that's required for night vision goggles, developing photovoltaics as part of this company -- this is really cutting edge stuff.
[OBAMA] It's the kind of research and development and then transferring that technology into critical applications. That is what has built America. And when you meet the workers here, many of whom have been here 30 years, it gives you a sense of pride to know that great manufacturing work is still being done in the United States of America.
Now, unfortunately, we just got a jobs report today that showed we had lost another 80,000 jobs -- 80,000 jobs lost. We've now lost 605,000 jobs since the beginning of this year -- 605,000 jobs have been lost. The unemployment rate just jumped up to 6.1 percent. It's the highest that it's been in five years. We've had eight consecutive months of job loss. And so part of what I want to talk about is how do we create more shotglass operations all across America? How do we create jobs in America at a time when it seems like plants are closing all across the country and jobs are being shipped overseas? ...
But the other thing I've learned is people are anxious because of the kinds of statistics that you're seeing today released today. Everywhere you go, people are working harder and harder just to get by.
It's harder to save, it's harder to retire. Incomes and wages have not gone up since George Bush took office in any substantial way.
When Bill Clinton [a Democrat] was president [!!], the average family income went up $7,500. Since George Bush [a Republican] has been in office, the average family income has gone down $2,000. And so, people just don't have as much money at the same time as the cost for everything from gas to food to health care have all skyrocketed.
Not quite "And we get?" territory, because, stupidly, Obama's solution borrows a page from the Republican playbook: tax cuts. I really don't think Obama gets that the country is ready to listen** and ready to think. But at least I don't feel quite so invisible. That transcript could almost be... Bill or Hillary Clinton on the geekery and stats (on an off day, I grant, and I'd need to see a video to see if Obama makes a real connection to the audience). And that's how the local papers played it, too. Yes, this part of PA is Hillary territory, so he's pandering Hillary-style. And so what?
So, better. Comes now thereisnospoon with the heavyweight's response to the first-time frontpager quoted above. Here's the meat of the argument, which advocates a classic tiered architecture with the blogs at Tier Two:
2. It's OUR job*** as bloggers to do what the Obama campaign cannot do.
... We, on the other hand, have no such obligation. The Obama campaign has been successful largely because of its inspiring "new brand of politics" [and Donna, HoHo, the RBC, the TX caucuses, and FL/MI]. Unfortunately, as Bill Clinton might note, that makes it somewhat difficult for the Obama campaign to get quite as nasty with the opposition as it might need to [Oh, really?]. But that's OK--because that can be our job.
It's our job to push memes the campaign can't. It's our job to focus on Republican chicanery that would waste the time of an Obama campaign that needs to be focusing its messaging on core economic issues. By talking about McCain's egregious lies and horrible personal ethics, we can help push the press to cover stories that the Obama campaign can't seriously push themselves.
Ours is an important role to play. I would argue, in fact, that we harm both ourselves as independent analysts and the campaign itself by simply being extended mouthpieces for the Obama campaign. Everyone has a role to play: ours is to play hardball, to hit where it hurts, and to force the traditional media to cover what it might be uncomfortable covering otherwise.
Thereisnospoon is a rotisserie Rovian. His oppo is to professional oppo as rotisserie baseball*** is to major league baseball (unless it isn't, in which case an FEC complaint**** is definitely warranted).
First, thereisnospoon's post is incoherent both logically and ethically. Logically, you can't be an "independent analyst" and have a "job" with a campaign at the same time; either you're independent or you're not. Ethically, either you've got a duty to tell the truth to your readers and let the shit hit what fan it may, or you've got a duty to tell the readers only that which will help your candidate. One way, your writing and your message have integrity; the other way, they're purely instrumental, means to ends. Thereisnospoon wants to serve both God and Mammon; but that can't be done (Matthew 6:24). Which is really Cheetopia's branding problem right now, isn't it?
Second, what the polls are telling us now is that the Tier Two strategery as advocated by thereisnospoon is failing: The geniuses at Axelrod's shop and his branch office in the netroots at Kos have managed to turn what should be a cakewalk for Democrats into a close race. And why wouldn't it fail? The American people, no matter what the rotisserie Rovians in the "creative" [cough] "class" might think, really are not stupid. They know not only they, but the country are in trouble. So McCain throws them Palin, and how do the progs respond? They go after her seventeen-year-old daughter and her Down syndrome baby and her small town roots, and come down with a case of PDS as virulent as their CDS (currently in remission). Pathetic, disgusting, misogynistic, and above all ineffective, and all taking place at what used to be a flagship political site that still has the circulation of a cable channel. And no wonder Obama's numbers tanked: the American people identified Obama with his noisiest asshole supporters, which is exactly what they should do because, not being stupid, they're not giving Obama the benefit of "plausible deniability" after the filthy primary campaign he ran -- or at least the voters Obama's got to win over won't, unless and until he talks to them in their language (as Obama, to his credit, did in York). And if Obama's even trying to deliver an economic message -- that weak new ad he's running sure God doesn't -- his best friends at Cheetopia have succeeded in stepping on it. Sweet Jeebus, I had to Google that transcript myself! You'd think the trolls would be citing it every chance they got!
Third, thereisnospoon presents oppo as the only contribution that Cheetopia and the rest of Tier Two [Jeralyn] can make. That's just not so. Go back to the original post:
Are his town halls even posted or excerpted?
Doing that would greatly help with "It's the economy, stupid!" Doing that would also counteract the perception that Obama is all hat and no cattle, just like Bush before him. That's a Tier Two strategy that might actually work, and not blow up in Obama's face, or get in the way of his economic message, assuming he wants to deliver one nationally, instead of only at Town Halls. It's also a role that the blogosphere can play, and play well.
Now, to me, thereisnospoon's post is replete with the delusional self-righteousness of the typical OFB. I threw up a little in my mouth when I read "somewhat difficult for the Obama campaign to get quite as nasty with the opposition." It's exactly because of the kind of campaign that Obama and Axelrod's Tier Two operation on the blogs ran in the primaries that I have no trust or respect for the man, or the movement that represents him.*****
I do think, however, that the average American voter will be a good deal more forgiving than I am. The progs could help win them over by becoming bloggers again. I doubt that they will. But it might be useful if the sort of person who goes to parties reads this, and makes the adjustment.
NOTE * My answer: No. Not even Rove could fuck up The Obama 527 Formerly Known As Daily Kos as much as Kos himself has. Come on. Let's be realistic.
NOTE ** Which is why the hopey-changey, which really does treat the American people as stupid.
NOTE *** You'll never guess who invented rotisserie baseball. Just goes to show that anybody can have redeeming qualities, I guess.
NOTE **** I would dearly love to know how literally to take "job" in this context. The Kos sysadmins implemented the purge of Hillary supporters, as proved by the thought-crime screens some of us got. Having Kos subjected to an FEC complaint would be one for the Department of Schadenfreude.
NOTE ***** But then, what would I know? I'm a racist.
UPDATE For a contrary view, see Paul Hackett. I guess we're both agreed that if you want to win, do what winners do. Both Clintons won (Hillary won the popular vote in the primary), and I advocate that Obama become a Clinton Democrat, as much as he can (and the transcript I quote shows him trying). Rove won too (twice) and the progs, and Hacket, want to follow Rove. I'm betting they'll win out, because that's the road Obama already took in the primaries. Plus, snark is a lot more shiny and fun than boring bullet points about policy. Dance with who brung ya. Ick. Green is looking better and better.