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Topic: Dan Pfeiffer

Compare Obama Scandals to W., Not Nixon

The Obama administration’s scandal trifecta has caused some Republicans and even some media figures to start throwing the most dreaded comparison you can throw at a president: Richard Milhous Nixon. But though Democrats understand that the politicization of the IRS will, at the very least, energize their opponents next year, they’ve also rightly understood that at this stage talk about Nixon is, at best, premature. Thus when the White House sent out one of the president’s inner circle yesterday to do all five Sunday news talk shows, their strategy for surviving the scandals was clear. After the worst week of the Obama presidency, senior advisor Dan Pfeiffer played the one card that has always worked for the Democrats in the last few years: alleged Republican extremism. To listen to Pfeiffer, instead of the president needing to be accountable to the country for what’s been happening, it’s the GOP that owes the country an apology for preventing Obama from implementing his policies by prioritizing the scandals.

Turning the tables on your opponents is always a useful tactic, especially if it is done as shamelessly as this. After all, the same media that has turned on the president in the last week spent the previous four years lapping up this stuff. But if Pfeiffer’s boss thinks he can live through this siege of bad news merely by repeating the same media strategy he’s been employing all along, he’s mistaken. Talk about Nixon or impeachment doesn’t hurt Obama. But what he and his advisors are missing is that the most dangerous comparison to him right now is a president with whom they are much better acquainted: George W. Bush.

Mentioning Bush in the same breath as Obama is bound to offend both Democrats and Republicans. The former because they despise W. even more than a GOP demon from the past like Nixon, and the latter because they rightly believe evaluations of Bush as a failed president are unfair and the product of liberal slanders and media bias. But the 43rd president’s second term provides an object lesson in how a president can be done in by an impression of incompetence.

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The Obama administration’s scandal trifecta has caused some Republicans and even some media figures to start throwing the most dreaded comparison you can throw at a president: Richard Milhous Nixon. But though Democrats understand that the politicization of the IRS will, at the very least, energize their opponents next year, they’ve also rightly understood that at this stage talk about Nixon is, at best, premature. Thus when the White House sent out one of the president’s inner circle yesterday to do all five Sunday news talk shows, their strategy for surviving the scandals was clear. After the worst week of the Obama presidency, senior advisor Dan Pfeiffer played the one card that has always worked for the Democrats in the last few years: alleged Republican extremism. To listen to Pfeiffer, instead of the president needing to be accountable to the country for what’s been happening, it’s the GOP that owes the country an apology for preventing Obama from implementing his policies by prioritizing the scandals.

Turning the tables on your opponents is always a useful tactic, especially if it is done as shamelessly as this. After all, the same media that has turned on the president in the last week spent the previous four years lapping up this stuff. But if Pfeiffer’s boss thinks he can live through this siege of bad news merely by repeating the same media strategy he’s been employing all along, he’s mistaken. Talk about Nixon or impeachment doesn’t hurt Obama. But what he and his advisors are missing is that the most dangerous comparison to him right now is a president with whom they are much better acquainted: George W. Bush.

Mentioning Bush in the same breath as Obama is bound to offend both Democrats and Republicans. The former because they despise W. even more than a GOP demon from the past like Nixon, and the latter because they rightly believe evaluations of Bush as a failed president are unfair and the product of liberal slanders and media bias. But the 43rd president’s second term provides an object lesson in how a president can be done in by an impression of incompetence.

Right now, Republicans aren’t satisfied with damning the administration for its incompetent response to the failure to protect diplomats in Benghazi, the IRS scandal or the Justice Department’s spying on journalists. The implications of the lies that were told about Benghazi, the politicization of the IRS and the DOJ’s campaign of intimidation against whistle-blowers go much deeper than that. Indeed, Democrats lately seem to think that putting all of these problems down to stupidity is a safer strategy than the alternative. They believe Americans will forgive the government for not knowing what it is doing a lot quicker than they will deceit or a malevolent manipulation of power.

Perhaps. But what they are forgetting is that what made Bush’s second term so problematic was not so much the allegations about him “lying us into a war” as it was the impression that he lost control of the government. The tipping point was Hurricane Katrina and the attempt to portray that disaster as not only being Bush’s fault but that government agencies were not up to the task of handling the problem. The Iraq war dragged down his presidency not so much because many Americans came to the conclusion it was a mistake but because for a crucial period, the bloodletting seemed to be beyond his control. The financial crisis in the closing months of his term solidified the idea that Bush wasn’t in command and couldn’t fix problems.

Let me specify that I think much of this case against Bush was off base. Indeed, Iraq showed that Bush could take a crisis on and largely fix it, as the surge he adopted in 2007 won the war even if Obama’s subsequent withdrawal may wind up losing it. But the lesson here is that once a president is branded as out of touch and incompetent, not even a war-winning strategy shift can make it go away.

So while Democrats may think they are taking the easy way out by trying to persuade the public that the government just didn’t know what it was doing in these scandals, this is actually a fatal mistake. For a party and a president that are ideologically committed to the cause of big government to play this card undermines everything they stand for. As bad as Bush seemed to be doing, it is even worse for his successor to behave as if he hears about every problem in the media the same as everyone else and that he had nothing to do with any of it.

Pfeiffer and the rest of Obama’s advisers need to understand that rather than the incompetence argument being a plea bargain that will get him off the hook, it is actually an admission that the lame duck portion of this presidency has already begun. Accusing Republicans of being extremists won’t change that verdict.

By the same token, as much as Republicans are right to focus on the lies about Benghazi and the illegality of what the IRS has done, they need to remember just how badly Bush suffered from being labeled as a president who didn’t know what he was doing. Calling Obama a liar may be more satisfying than calling him incompetent, but it is the latter that may do more damage in the long run.

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Pfeiffer’s Hypocrisy: IRS and Abu Ghraib

Speaking on Face the Nation, White House adviser Dan Pfeiffer tried to deflect blame for the brewing IRS scandal by arguing that the only way the scandal might have involved President Obama is if the president had actively sought to interfere in the IRS inspector general’s report. According to Politico.com’s coverage:

Pfeiffer said that the administration followed the “cardinal rule” of all White Houses. “You do nothing to interfere with an independent investigation and you do nothing to offer the appearance of interfering with investigations,” Pfeiffer said. Once informed, the White House officials responded after they had the facts, he said. Obama has come under fire from Republicans and others for being slow to respond and for saying that he learned only recently of the investigation into IRS officials targeting tea party groups. “What we waited for were the facts,” Pfeiffer said. “It’s important to get out there fast, but it’s important to get out there right.”

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Speaking on Face the Nation, White House adviser Dan Pfeiffer tried to deflect blame for the brewing IRS scandal by arguing that the only way the scandal might have involved President Obama is if the president had actively sought to interfere in the IRS inspector general’s report. According to Politico.com’s coverage:

Pfeiffer said that the administration followed the “cardinal rule” of all White Houses. “You do nothing to interfere with an independent investigation and you do nothing to offer the appearance of interfering with investigations,” Pfeiffer said. Once informed, the White House officials responded after they had the facts, he said. Obama has come under fire from Republicans and others for being slow to respond and for saying that he learned only recently of the investigation into IRS officials targeting tea party groups. “What we waited for were the facts,” Pfeiffer said. “It’s important to get out there fast, but it’s important to get out there right.”

To be fair, Pfeiffer is right that much of what we know about the scandal is because the inspector general’s office at the IRS was doing its job, although the bipartisan outrage has resulted from realization of just how corrupt the IRS became under Obama’s watch.

However, where Obama’s hypocrisy shines through is when Pfeiffer’s answer to this question is juxtaposed with the manner in which many partisans treated the Abu Ghraib prison scandal in Iraq. Here is Slate.com’s Fred Kaplan, for example:

The White House is about to get hit by the biggest tsunami since the Iran-Contra affair, maybe since Watergate. President George W. Bush is trapped inside the compound, immobilized by his own stay-the-course campaign strategy. Can he escape the massive tidal waves? Maybe. But at this point, it’s not clear how. If today’s investigative shockers—Seymour Hersh’s latest article in The New Yorker and a three-part piece in Newsweek—are true, it’s hard to avoid concluding that responsibility for the Abu Ghraib atrocities goes straight to the top, both in the Pentagon and the White House….

That scandal was not uncovered by investigative reporters but, in parallel to today’s IRS scandal, when the internal Defense Department investigation leaked to the press. Yep, that’s right: The Pentagon had learned about the abuses, had investigated them, and moved to shut them down. It was only after the abuses ceased that The New Yorker and Sixty Minutes II published word of what went on at Abu Ghraib. Make no mistake: the abuses at Abu Ghraib were inexcusable. Frankly, I wish Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld had heeded the policy recommendation the policy shop in which I had worked had put forward: dynamite Abu Ghraib as soon as control over Iraq is consolidated, because the prison was already a symbol of the worst excesses of Saddam Hussein’s rule. With the report’s damning findings, Rumsfeld rightly offered to resign. Twice. Whatever Rumsfeld’s faults, he did not view accountability as a dirty word.

With all due respect to Mr. Pfeiffer, that the IRS inspector general identified the abuse is neither here nor there, just as with Abu Ghraib. The fact of the matter is that the abuse occurred, and the IRS sought to use its powers to play politics, and then apparently held the report until after the elections in order to further insulate Obama’s team from public accountability.

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Mea Culpa from WH to Krauthammer

In Jonathan’s last post on this, he wrote that White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer owed Charles Krauthammer an apology, after accusing him of lying about the Winston Churchill bust being removed from the Oval Office. So you have to hand it to Pfeiffer for doing the right thing and issuing what had to be a very uncomfortable public apology yesterday. Not that Pfeiffer doesn’t deserve to squirm a bit after putting out such a misleading statement:

Charles,

I take your criticism seriously and you are correct that you are owed an apology. There was clearly an internal confusion about the two busts and there was no intention to deceive. I clearly overshot the runway in my post. The point I was trying to make – under the belief that the bust in the residence was the one previously in the Oval Office– was that this oft repeated talking point about the bust being a symbol of President Obama’s failure to appreciate the special relationship is false. The bust that was returned was returned as a matter of course with all the other artwork that had been loaned to President Bush for display in his Oval Office and not something that President Obama or his administration chose to do. I still think this is an important point and one I wish I had communicated better.

A better understanding of the facts on my part and a couple of deep breaths at the outset would have prevented this situation. Having said all that, barring a miracle comeback from the Phillies I would like to see the Nats win a world series even if it comes after my apology.

Thanks,

Dan Pfeiffer

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In Jonathan’s last post on this, he wrote that White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer owed Charles Krauthammer an apology, after accusing him of lying about the Winston Churchill bust being removed from the Oval Office. So you have to hand it to Pfeiffer for doing the right thing and issuing what had to be a very uncomfortable public apology yesterday. Not that Pfeiffer doesn’t deserve to squirm a bit after putting out such a misleading statement:

Charles,

I take your criticism seriously and you are correct that you are owed an apology. There was clearly an internal confusion about the two busts and there was no intention to deceive. I clearly overshot the runway in my post. The point I was trying to make – under the belief that the bust in the residence was the one previously in the Oval Office– was that this oft repeated talking point about the bust being a symbol of President Obama’s failure to appreciate the special relationship is false. The bust that was returned was returned as a matter of course with all the other artwork that had been loaned to President Bush for display in his Oval Office and not something that President Obama or his administration chose to do. I still think this is an important point and one I wish I had communicated better.

A better understanding of the facts on my part and a couple of deep breaths at the outset would have prevented this situation. Having said all that, barring a miracle comeback from the Phillies I would like to see the Nats win a world series even if it comes after my apology.

Thanks,

Dan Pfeiffer

Hopefully, this will encourage campaign officials on both sides of the aisle to think more carefully before issuing “fact-checking” statements without due diligence. This was an unforced error by the White House, and Pfeiffer is smart to step back and offer a mea culpa instead of digging in further.

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It Is Not Going to Help

If you had to make a list of things wrong with the Obama presidency, “not enough like the campaign” would probably not be on it. On the contrary, campaigning seems to be all the administration does: too many speeches, pep rallies, fake events, and attacks on opponents and not enough serious governance. But that’s not how the Obami see it. So we hear that “the White House is infusing its communications strategy with some of the ironclad discipline and outside-the-box thinking that made the Obama presidential campaign famous — and successful.”

What this boils down to is a grudging recognition that the president is overexposed (OK, that’s good) and a determination to be even less forthcoming with the press (hold more “carefully choreographed interactions with the press,” they declare) and more aggressive with opponents (“more direct, rapid response to criticism”).

Sigh. Yes, this gang imagines that less transparency and more hyper-partisanship are the way to go. Sadly, there is no brave soul there to say, “Ah, Mr. President, I think we are already getting slammed for being too secretive and thin-skinned.” More than the particulars of what they are proposing, what is so cringe-inducing is the reliance on a campaign perspective to pull them out of their tailspin. It confirms that, indeed, this is all they know, all they do well. When stressed or confused (much of the time now, it seems), they clutch for the security blanket of campaign events and campaign tactics.

At some level, even they understand that this is all arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic stuff. “There is no communications strategy that makes 10 percent unemployment look good,” concedes communications chief Dan Pfeiffer. And there is no communications strategy that is going to lure Evan Bayh back to the Senate or explain how we have let another year pass as the mullahs build their nukes or make the proposed budget look fiscally sane or make ObamaCare look good to the two-thirds of Americans who hate it. What is wrong with the Obama presidency is not a botched communication strategy (although the president himself has become a bore and whines too much). The core problems are Obama’s insistence on a radical domestic agenda, pursuit of dangerous and unpopular national-security policies, and the absence of a chief executive who is practiced and skilled in governance. And, honestly, acting more like a candidate and less like the president isn’t going to help matters.

If you had to make a list of things wrong with the Obama presidency, “not enough like the campaign” would probably not be on it. On the contrary, campaigning seems to be all the administration does: too many speeches, pep rallies, fake events, and attacks on opponents and not enough serious governance. But that’s not how the Obami see it. So we hear that “the White House is infusing its communications strategy with some of the ironclad discipline and outside-the-box thinking that made the Obama presidential campaign famous — and successful.”

What this boils down to is a grudging recognition that the president is overexposed (OK, that’s good) and a determination to be even less forthcoming with the press (hold more “carefully choreographed interactions with the press,” they declare) and more aggressive with opponents (“more direct, rapid response to criticism”).

Sigh. Yes, this gang imagines that less transparency and more hyper-partisanship are the way to go. Sadly, there is no brave soul there to say, “Ah, Mr. President, I think we are already getting slammed for being too secretive and thin-skinned.” More than the particulars of what they are proposing, what is so cringe-inducing is the reliance on a campaign perspective to pull them out of their tailspin. It confirms that, indeed, this is all they know, all they do well. When stressed or confused (much of the time now, it seems), they clutch for the security blanket of campaign events and campaign tactics.

At some level, even they understand that this is all arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic stuff. “There is no communications strategy that makes 10 percent unemployment look good,” concedes communications chief Dan Pfeiffer. And there is no communications strategy that is going to lure Evan Bayh back to the Senate or explain how we have let another year pass as the mullahs build their nukes or make the proposed budget look fiscally sane or make ObamaCare look good to the two-thirds of Americans who hate it. What is wrong with the Obama presidency is not a botched communication strategy (although the president himself has become a bore and whines too much). The core problems are Obama’s insistence on a radical domestic agenda, pursuit of dangerous and unpopular national-security policies, and the absence of a chief executive who is practiced and skilled in governance. And, honestly, acting more like a candidate and less like the president isn’t going to help matters.

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Flotsam and Jetsam

Sen. Richard Shelby’s hold on all Obama nominees to get his pork is getting slammed from all sides. For starters, it takes the focus off the truly egregious nominees (e.g., Dawn Johnsen, Harold Craig Becker).

And he’s done a bang-up job of giving the White House a rare moment on the high ground. “The White House on Friday shot back at Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) who recently took the unusual step of placing a blanket hold on all of the administration’s nominees. White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer accused Shelby of seeking political gain in preventing the government from doing its job.”

But it remains gloom and doom for Democrats at the DNC meeting: “In regional meetings and in the hallways of the downtown hotel where they were meeting, DNC members voiced frustration about their fortunes and, with a measure of urgency, plotted about how best to navigate through what is shaping up to be one of their most difficult election cycles in recent history. Some party officials sought to ward off complacency with pointed reminders about just how perilous this year could be.”

David Broder notes that there was no follow-up by the White House after the televised question-and-answer time with House Republicans, which suggests to Broder that “the president and his people may not realize the degree to which Republican frustration with Pelosi’s management of the House has created opportunities for Obama — if he is willing to engage as directly as he did in his Illinois Senate days.” Or maybe the whole question-and-answer routine was just more spin, and Obama has no intention of altering his far-Left agenda.

John Yoo takes Obama to task: “Obama believes the president should lead a revolution in society, the economy, and the political system, but defer on national security and foreign policy to the other branches of government. This upends the Framers’ vision of the presidency. They thought the chief executive’s powers would expand broadly to meet external challenges while playing a modest role at home.”

Back in September, the Los Angeles Times called on Eric Holder to come clean on the New Black Panther Party case. Now the Providence Journal turns up the heat: “Instead of letting questions fester about a potentially troublesome matter, the Obama administration should come clean about its decision to dismiss a case involving what looked like racist voter intimidation in 2008. Then, hopefully, everyone can move on. …The Justice Department may enforce our laws, but it is not above them. Instead of stonewalling, it should share with the public who made this decision to drop the case, and why.”

The State of the Union bounce seems to have faded: “The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Saturday shows that 26% of the nation’s voters Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as President. Forty-one percent (41%) Strongly Disapprove which Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -15. That matches the President’s ratings just before the State-of-the-Union Address.”

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand might be asked why the repeal of the Bush tax cuts is good for her state: “Federal income-tax rates in the top brackets will be restored to their pre-2001 levels next year, the Bush-era cuts in capital gains and dividend taxes will be partially reversed, and itemized deductions for high-income filers (including deductions for state and local taxes) will be curtailed. If all of this comes to pass, it will spell trouble for the New York state budget for a simple reason: New York’s finances are balanced on a narrow pinnacle of high-income households, and higher federal taxes drive top-earning New Yorkers to lower their overall tax burdens by sheltering incomes, earning less, or moving to lower-tax states.”

Jonathan Chait calls Jamie Gorelick a “corrupt hack” for lobbying for lenders who don’t want the federal government to drive them out of the student loan business. Conservatives may not agree with the reason, but the conclusion — “cross Gorelick off the list of Democrats suitable to hold office” — is one that will get bipartisan support.

Sen. Richard Shelby’s hold on all Obama nominees to get his pork is getting slammed from all sides. For starters, it takes the focus off the truly egregious nominees (e.g., Dawn Johnsen, Harold Craig Becker).

And he’s done a bang-up job of giving the White House a rare moment on the high ground. “The White House on Friday shot back at Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) who recently took the unusual step of placing a blanket hold on all of the administration’s nominees. White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer accused Shelby of seeking political gain in preventing the government from doing its job.”

But it remains gloom and doom for Democrats at the DNC meeting: “In regional meetings and in the hallways of the downtown hotel where they were meeting, DNC members voiced frustration about their fortunes and, with a measure of urgency, plotted about how best to navigate through what is shaping up to be one of their most difficult election cycles in recent history. Some party officials sought to ward off complacency with pointed reminders about just how perilous this year could be.”

David Broder notes that there was no follow-up by the White House after the televised question-and-answer time with House Republicans, which suggests to Broder that “the president and his people may not realize the degree to which Republican frustration with Pelosi’s management of the House has created opportunities for Obama — if he is willing to engage as directly as he did in his Illinois Senate days.” Or maybe the whole question-and-answer routine was just more spin, and Obama has no intention of altering his far-Left agenda.

John Yoo takes Obama to task: “Obama believes the president should lead a revolution in society, the economy, and the political system, but defer on national security and foreign policy to the other branches of government. This upends the Framers’ vision of the presidency. They thought the chief executive’s powers would expand broadly to meet external challenges while playing a modest role at home.”

Back in September, the Los Angeles Times called on Eric Holder to come clean on the New Black Panther Party case. Now the Providence Journal turns up the heat: “Instead of letting questions fester about a potentially troublesome matter, the Obama administration should come clean about its decision to dismiss a case involving what looked like racist voter intimidation in 2008. Then, hopefully, everyone can move on. …The Justice Department may enforce our laws, but it is not above them. Instead of stonewalling, it should share with the public who made this decision to drop the case, and why.”

The State of the Union bounce seems to have faded: “The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Saturday shows that 26% of the nation’s voters Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as President. Forty-one percent (41%) Strongly Disapprove which Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -15. That matches the President’s ratings just before the State-of-the-Union Address.”

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand might be asked why the repeal of the Bush tax cuts is good for her state: “Federal income-tax rates in the top brackets will be restored to their pre-2001 levels next year, the Bush-era cuts in capital gains and dividend taxes will be partially reversed, and itemized deductions for high-income filers (including deductions for state and local taxes) will be curtailed. If all of this comes to pass, it will spell trouble for the New York state budget for a simple reason: New York’s finances are balanced on a narrow pinnacle of high-income households, and higher federal taxes drive top-earning New Yorkers to lower their overall tax burdens by sheltering incomes, earning less, or moving to lower-tax states.”

Jonathan Chait calls Jamie Gorelick a “corrupt hack” for lobbying for lenders who don’t want the federal government to drive them out of the student loan business. Conservatives may not agree with the reason, but the conclusion — “cross Gorelick off the list of Democrats suitable to hold office” — is one that will get bipartisan support.

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No Way! He’s Going to Say That?

The New York Times reports:

In a conference call today with Congressional staff, the White House communications director, Dan Pfeiffer, said that President Obama would reiterate his commitment to a comprehensive overhaul of the nation’s health care system in his State of the Union address on Wednesday night. Mr. Pfeiffer said that the president will share “additional details” but that the thrust of his message would be that he remains as resolute and committed to revamping the health care system as he was when he gave a speech to a joint session of Congress in early September.

They gotta be kidding, right? This is not a president who likes to admit error, but it seems rather risky to take this approach. What if everyone laughs? Really, Congress has already declared itself ready to move on. Less than a third of the country likes ObamaCare. And Obama lost his filibuster-proof majority on this issue. So he’s going to say he’s just as committed as ever. Even — especially — if he doesn’t mean it, he shouldn’t say it. It makes him look foolish, detached, and weak. If a president is really committed to something he’s not going to get, then he’s simply irrelevant.

Maybe the White House spin got ahead of itself. Maybe Obama is only going to say health care is real important, and we’ll get to it soon. If not, the self-delusion problem is much worse than we imagined.

The New York Times reports:

In a conference call today with Congressional staff, the White House communications director, Dan Pfeiffer, said that President Obama would reiterate his commitment to a comprehensive overhaul of the nation’s health care system in his State of the Union address on Wednesday night. Mr. Pfeiffer said that the president will share “additional details” but that the thrust of his message would be that he remains as resolute and committed to revamping the health care system as he was when he gave a speech to a joint session of Congress in early September.

They gotta be kidding, right? This is not a president who likes to admit error, but it seems rather risky to take this approach. What if everyone laughs? Really, Congress has already declared itself ready to move on. Less than a third of the country likes ObamaCare. And Obama lost his filibuster-proof majority on this issue. So he’s going to say he’s just as committed as ever. Even — especially — if he doesn’t mean it, he shouldn’t say it. It makes him look foolish, detached, and weak. If a president is really committed to something he’s not going to get, then he’s simply irrelevant.

Maybe the White House spin got ahead of itself. Maybe Obama is only going to say health care is real important, and we’ll get to it soon. If not, the self-delusion problem is much worse than we imagined.

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When Everything Is Bleak, Attack Fox News

The Obami are nothing if not persistent. Fox News may be the fastest-growing cable news network. The White House vendetta against those so stiff-necked as to refuse to view the world through the White House’s news prism may have backfired, making the Obami look paranoid and thin-skinned. But why change? After all, the White House is riding high and has the pulse of the electorate, right? Oh well, not at all. But Fox is still to be vilified and marginalized. The Hill reports:

Leadership of the White House’s communication shop may have changed, but its new chief made clear on Monday he shares his predecessor’s concerns about Fox News. The network is “not a traditional news organization,” director Dan Pfeiffer stressed, adding he agreed with former Director Anita Dunn’s take on the network. … “We don’t feel the obligation to treat them like we would treat a CNN, or an ABC, or an NBC, or a traditional news organization, but there are times when we believe it makes sense to communicate with them,” he added, noting the White House’s decision to dispatch counter-terrorism chief John Brennan to Fox News Sunday after the Flight 253 attack was one example of that.

I suppose when you have your communications strategy wired, when every election in the past few months has gone your way, and when you have a firm grip on the independent voters who watch Fox in huge numbers, you can afford to be arrogant. But when none of those things is true and the White House has spent days scrambling to undo the damage from an embarrassingly lackluster presidential response to terrorism, the administration might want to think about reaching out beyond their spin-cocoon. They might want to try to erase the image of their being incapable of interacting with those who fail to provide reverential coverage. After all, three years is a long time to continue their current downward trajectory, which is the result of this sort of arrogance and of their insistence on ignoring those who refuse to nod approvingly, parrot the line of the day, and avoid asking impertinent questions.

The Obami are nothing if not persistent. Fox News may be the fastest-growing cable news network. The White House vendetta against those so stiff-necked as to refuse to view the world through the White House’s news prism may have backfired, making the Obami look paranoid and thin-skinned. But why change? After all, the White House is riding high and has the pulse of the electorate, right? Oh well, not at all. But Fox is still to be vilified and marginalized. The Hill reports:

Leadership of the White House’s communication shop may have changed, but its new chief made clear on Monday he shares his predecessor’s concerns about Fox News. The network is “not a traditional news organization,” director Dan Pfeiffer stressed, adding he agreed with former Director Anita Dunn’s take on the network. … “We don’t feel the obligation to treat them like we would treat a CNN, or an ABC, or an NBC, or a traditional news organization, but there are times when we believe it makes sense to communicate with them,” he added, noting the White House’s decision to dispatch counter-terrorism chief John Brennan to Fox News Sunday after the Flight 253 attack was one example of that.

I suppose when you have your communications strategy wired, when every election in the past few months has gone your way, and when you have a firm grip on the independent voters who watch Fox in huge numbers, you can afford to be arrogant. But when none of those things is true and the White House has spent days scrambling to undo the damage from an embarrassingly lackluster presidential response to terrorism, the administration might want to think about reaching out beyond their spin-cocoon. They might want to try to erase the image of their being incapable of interacting with those who fail to provide reverential coverage. After all, three years is a long time to continue their current downward trajectory, which is the result of this sort of arrogance and of their insistence on ignoring those who refuse to nod approvingly, parrot the line of the day, and avoid asking impertinent questions.

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