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Political Malpractice, Say the Clintonistas

You knew this was coming:

Two former advisers to President Bill Clinton accused the Obama administration of minimizing the economic crisis and botching a narrative that could have limited Democratic losses this midterm election cycle.

“The White House had the best and the brightest, but they, what would Bush say, misunderestimated, whatever the word is,” said Democratic consultant James Carville Thursday at a breakfast with reporters held by the Christian Science Monitor.

Pollster Stan Greenberg said Obama downplayed “an almost Depression-like economic crisis,” by inaccurately projecting the magnitude of job losses. “They predicated everything on the jobs coming back from March. They’re still in the middle of this crisis. This is a total misframing of this moment. Some of it’s policy … a lot of it is giving the people in this crisis a sense of what the scale of it is, and what has to be done to get out of it,” he said.

Does this mean that Hillary is running for something? No. Does it mean that either Carville or Greenberg opposed the stimulus or ObamaCare or other parts of the Obama agenda that enraged the electorate? Come to think of it, no. In fact, their message seems to be that Obama wasn’t anti-business enough.

But the Democratic pols can’t resist the temptation to take a poke at the White House, in large part because the central theme of Hillary’s 2008 campaign — that Obama was not ready for prime time — was accurate. It just wasn’t politically timely in a “change” election year.

The challenge for the White House now is to devise not only a policy agenda that makes sense but also to convince the Democrats in Congress and around the country that as a strategic matter, the “best and the brightest” know what they are doing. The Democrats who survived or who will be up for re-election in 2012 will not be inclined to follow the political advice of a White House that has paraded them off the political cliff.



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