Dear Barack: Please hire Digby as an advisor

Digby nails it:

I heard an interesting passing observation from John Harwood on MSNBC in which he more or less characterized Senator Obama’s campaign as a process “reform” campaign that may be losing a little steam as economic events overtake his theme of post partisan transcendence. I think there may be some truth in that. When Obama conceived of his campaign, political reform and ending the war in Iraq were the winning Democratic messages coming off of the 2006 election. (And it’s not to say that they are no longer issues at all; Iraq is certainly likely to take center stage again simply because it’s McCain’s white whale.) But some people are starting to get seriously worried about their own lives and when that happens they become skeptical that abstract assertions about “fixing Washington” is the way to fix their problems.

When Obama won Wisconsin, I assumed he had pulled together the Democratic coalition and that Texas and Ohio would prove that. But since that primary, events have overtaken his thematic campaign. Gas prices are rising dramatically. The stock market has been volatile. The housing market just gets worse. Working people are starting to get nervous (they are always much closer to financial ruin than the professional class.) His “change” campaign may seem a bit distant and abstract in the current circumstances. Unlike Perot, who ran as a reformer in a recessionary climate in 1992, Obama doesn’t have the decades of business experience to use as a proxy for successful economic stewardship, so he probably needs to be more explicit in his economic message now. (And while Perot got 20% of the vote, his reform message was never taken up—- it was his deficit message that penetrated. With the help of other rich powerful jackasses.)

This problem is correctable. Senator Obama probably needs to ramp up his personal energy, which has been flagging, (people need to believe the president is superhuman in times of stress) and start talking about bread and butter solutions with a touch of fiery populism. That’s where the mood is leading. It’s boring as hell to the media and the comfortable creative class types who are looking for something transcendent, but it’s what’s necessary at times like these.

Read it all.

And, as expected, Hillary’s ever-vigilant supporters immediately twisted Digby’s post into a flat-out endorsement of their candidate and a rejection of Obama, but she was having none of it:

What is wrong with people? I didn’t say one word about it being Hillary’s turn. Are you delusional?

I was trying to analyze why the coalition we all thought was coming together after Wisconsin hasn’t stuck. I’m going on the assumption that Obama’s the nominee and simply saying that I think he needs to change his message.

Jesus H. Christ. I can’t stand this willful inability to see anything in this primary except in terms of puerile cheerleading or slash and burn character assassination.

Fuck it.
digby | 04.25.08 - 3:42 pm


Posted by Kevin K. on 04/25/08 at 03:58 PM • Permalink

Categories: PoliticsBarack ObamaEditorialsElection '08Hillary ClintonPoliblogs

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I’m tired of all the advisers and their marketing gimmics.  Campaigning is more about the advisers than the candidates.  Say this, do this, perform like this, perform like that, yada yada yada. 

It’s a lot of work to shovel through the stuff of the advisers to get to the guts of the candidates.

I don’t think transcendence and bread-and-butter are necessarily mutually exclusive. Maybe Obama reads Digby, because I noticed him linking “change” with practical solutions to economic issues in a couple of speeches yesterday. For example, he pointed out that Washington insiders (HRC and McCain) should have done more to address fuel efficiency standards during the past 30 years. He directly linked fuel prices now with their inaction back then. Good move. I hope he keeps it up.

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