How To Run The Country

by: Chris Bowers

Mon Oct 12, 2009 at 00:02

An anonymous White House aide responds to the largest LGBT rights demonstration in a decade serves as an interesting guide on how to run the country:

LESTER HOLT: John what we saw in that protest today, was it simply frustration or does it represent a serious problem the President is having with an important part of his base?

JOHN HARWOOD: As a practical matter Lester I don't think it's a serious problem. we've seen and certainly Bill Clinton learned that they Democratic President can get punished by the mainstream of the electorate for being too aggressive on social issues so for now I think the administration feels that if they take care of the big issues - health care, energy, the economy - he's going to be just fine with this group.

HOLT: But in general when you look at the left as a whole, have there been conversations about some things they thought would have been done but haven't?

HARWOOD: Sure but If you look at the polling, Barack Obama is doing well with 90% or more of Democrats so the White House views this opposition as really part of the "internet left fringe" Lester. And for a sign of how seriously the White House does or doesn't take this opposition, one adviser told me today those bloggers need to take off their pajamas, get dressed and realize that governing a closely divided country is complicated and difficult.

Here is what I have learned about running the country from this:

  1. Mock those who do not dress to your standards, implying that their attire is reflective of deeper, intellectual deficiencies.

  2. Believe that the country is closely divided even when you have a clear majority.

  3. Give anonymous quotes implying that your boss doesn't take a group seriously even as your boss is speaking to said group.
Basically, it seems to involve simultaneously internalizing and projecting a sense of paranoia.

Which is, you know, a pretty sound technique for building up a political party, much less a country. The key to governing is to use anonymous quotes to stir up resentment against people who publish their thoughts through independent online mediums. Or, if bloggers don't work for you, really whatever other group of people you feel is useful to stereotype and build up public resentment against.

Chris Bowers :: How To Run The Country

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Wow. (4.00 / 7)
There's so many layers of dumb-fuckery to plumb, here, I don't know where to even begin. The technocratic and elitist mindset of the person who made the statement?  The stenographic laziness of the reporters?  The easy spin into right-wing talking points?

It's like projectile vomiting.  So much comes out so quickly and gets all over everything that there's no possible way to clean it up quickly.  We really need to learn how to counter this, or we're always going to be stuck cleaning up the messes and never spending any time getting rid of the barfing idiots.

Health insurance is not health care.
If you don't fight, you can't win.
Never give up. Never Surrender.
Watch out for flying kabuki.

until we either put someone into office or kick someone out of it... (4.00 / 6)
...they will continue to treat progressives like this.

Getting the "Progressive Block" to vote no on legislation would work wonders, too. I have sincere doubts that that will happen, no matter how awful the bill, because any bill will be 'better than nothing.'

[ Parent ]
Aravosis: (4.00 / 4)
And let me just add that if we're all insignificant children who don't understand politics, and who the White House doesn't worry about, then why did a White House official feel the need to lash out at us via the NBC Nightly news? I'm not feeling very insignificant at the moment, are you?

[ Parent ]
I'm rubber and you're glue (4.00 / 2)
doesn't work for me.   This is equivalent to thinking that be stalked is a compliment.    I favor kicking ass and taking no prisoners.  I really want to make those so called Democrats pay at the ballot box.  

[ Parent ]
layers of dumb-fuckery (4.00 / 3)
Layer 1: Mocking your base.

Layer 2: Your only window from inside the beltway bubble outside to the "the mainstream of the electorate" is through a time-machine to 1994.

[ Parent ]
This sounds like Harwood editorializing while paraphrasing... (4.00 / 3)
Honestly, that's not in quotes... He's just saying that "someone said" blah blah blah... Maybe someone in the White House said something to that effect, but not only is that an "anonymous source", but it just sounds like his own paraphrasing of something to the effect of "They need to be patient.  Governing the country is hard work."

This is highly suspect if you ask me.

It's not even a quote... (4.00 / 5)
This is incredibly suspect, although it does sound like Rahm.  They are certainly scared of Clinton's don't ask/don't tell fiasco, but the world has changed significantly since then.  They seem resigned to do something positive on this front, but I think they want the momentum from health care reform to do it!

REID: Voting against us was never part of our arrangement!
SPECTER: I am altering the deal! Pray I don't alter it any further!
REID: This deal keeps getting worse all the time!

[ Parent ]
Sure sounds like Rahm... (4.00 / 4)
...or someone sympathetic to him.

Self-refuting Christine O'Donnell is proof monkeys are still evolving into humans

[ Parent ]
Momentum from health care reform? (4.00 / 3)
Mike, it's a rock and is going to sink like one.  You wait till people start paying for health care they can't afford and that doesn't pay their medical bills.  

[ Parent ]
the vapor of prostitutes (4.00 / 2)
I guess it's possible that Harwood is paraphrasing to the point of misstating what was said. It's also possible that some dimwit said something that offensive to Harwood because he correctly assumed that Harwood would be sympathetic to such wankery.

These clods living inside the beltway bubble, pundits included, are stumbling around in a fog created by the vapors of their own vapid cocktail party chatter designed to save themselves the discomfort of thinking too much about what whores they all are.

[ Parent ]
Stop Slandering Sex Workers! (4.00 / 6)
I'm serious.  When I was a teenager, I hitch-hiked all over the country.  The prostitutes I met--from Midwest truck stops to Times Square--were generally friendly, and never gratuitously insulting.

Nor were they jaw-droppingly stupid, come to think of it.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

[ Parent ]
Glad I'm not the only one (4.00 / 4)
who had that thought. Sex workers deserve more respect than to be compared to the Versailles courtiers. For one thing, they actually work for a living and don't hurt people without their consent.

Montani semper liberi

[ Parent ]
Plus, they're no more greedy than... (4.00 / 2)
...your average banker. And their ethics may even be better! 99% of them provide a service in exchange for your money. The same can't be said of all investment advisers in the last years...

[ Parent ]
I am beginning to think the Left is incredibly stupid. (4.00 / 3)
They are constantly getting played by the media that are attempting to sow discord among the ranks. This has been an ongoing pattern that people should by now figure out.

[ Parent ]
Well, See (4.00 / 6)
They beat McCain/Palin, so of course they know everything.

What else is there?

What?  They didn't win by as big a margin as House Dems?

Details. Details.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

Wouldn't Worry About It (4.00 / 2)
Although it's nice to know that at least one person in the White House fantasizes about me at my keyboard (sorry, the "pajamas" are staying on).

I think the take-away here is that we all have our a way, it's the tie that binds.

In fact, just last week a friend was telling me about the time that Rahm got mixed up with a tour group of fourth graders and ushered out the White House door. Of course, the snafu was discovered, but the school bus got as far as Anne Arundel before the Secret Service caught up to it and pulled him off. From now on, he's required to wear an identity bracelet.

So I think the  humor's fair game all-around.

Pajamas??? (4.00 / 2)
Who still can afford pajamas in this economy?  

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

[ Parent ]
"Who still can afford pajamas?" (4.00 / 1)
bailed out billionaire bankers and beltway prostitutes and insurance CEO's

[ Parent ]
Thrift store shoppers? n/t (4.00 / 1)

I probably have better things to do with my time than this.

[ Parent ]
Thrift Stores? Even They Are Going Out Of Business! (0.00 / 0)
San Pedro--where I work--lost its Salvation Army store:

Proving that no business is truly immune to the economic downturn, a thrift store that has served downtown San Pedro from a prominent location for more than 25 years has shut its doors.

The Salvation Army Family Store closed Sept. 17 after experiencing a significant drop-off in drop-offs and customers alike, officials said.

"Because of the downturn of the economy, it's natural to think that people are holding on to their donations a little longer," said Aldo Accinelli, business administrator for the Salvation Army Long Beach Adult Rehabilitation Center.

"We just didn't have enough donations and enough customer traffic to keep the doors open on that location any longer."

The 7,000-square-foot Salvation Army thrift store was located on a key downtown corner of Sixth Street and Pacific Avenue, not far from the Warner Grand Theatre, and had been in business since the mid-1980s, according to property owner Gary Fox.

Fox was surprised when the store gave notice, saying it appeared to be a successful business in the area.

"It was always considered one of the best stores they had," said Fox, a West Los Angeles resident. "It just came as a shock."

Nancy Scott, who owns ZFabrique, a craft store nearby, said the closure was a "huge loss" for a downtown shopping district that has struggled with a growing number of store vacancies.

"It's very sad to see them go, it was an anchor on that corner," she said....

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

[ Parent ]
Pajamas are a bad idea. Especially regarding Social Security. (4.00 / 1)
You know, Pajamas are sooo Yurpean! And just look at the lame birth rate in Yurp, and the dire problems for Social Security that come from it. Folks, don't errect any additional barriers, making reproduction harder! Sleep naked! And not alone!!!

[ Parent ]
I wear sweatpants. Very 'Murkin. (4.00 / 2)
Imagine that...

[ Parent ]
Hey, me too! Let's start "Sweatpants Media"! (4.00 / 1)
And maybe it's not only us, but sweatpants are the popular choice for progressive bloggers? The advantages are overwhelming: You enjoy a liberal dose of comfort and liberty of action, while still looking adequately dressed in case you go out into the public for getting some cigarettes, a coke or a pizza. Best compromise between pajamas and a suit!

[ Parent ]
Virtual tour of Penn State's Natural Fusion solar home -sleep in sweats (0.00 / 0)
Speaking of sweatpant pajamas, that's the choice of this couple who volunteered to live in a demonstration home!

[ Parent ]
Well, maybe his plaid plus logo are pj bottoms! n/t (0.00 / 0)

[ Parent ]
Thos pajama media bloggers, sponsored by fat cats, of course. (4.00 / 2)
But I really think the WH shouldn't pay any attention to those stubborn right wingers. Roger Simon and his ship of fools will never "realize that governing a closely divided country is complicated and difficult" for the Obama administration. It would be different if a rethuglican would be president, of course. But it's totally useless for Dems to pay attention to those nuts, so imho the WH officials and advisers are simply wasting their time. They should read more liberal and progressive blogs instead!

[ Parent ]
The peasants are revolting! (4.00 / 3)
If only.

not everything worth doing is profitable. not everything profitable is worth doing.

Well, why don't they take a bath? (4.00 / 1)
What?  You say they can't afford the water bills?  Tell them to get a job!

You say they can't get a job?  Tell them to start their own business!

You say they can't get the loans to start a business?  Tell them to get off my lawn!

Health insurance is not health care.
If you don't fight, you can't win.
Never give up. Never Surrender.
Watch out for flying kabuki.

[ Parent ]
How to run the country (4.00 / 1)
We need reporters who actually report the news factually and who do not make up stories or paint pictures of events mostly imagined. President Obama gave his speech last night which clearly supports equal rights for every group. The march today was expected and respected.  Yes, he has to repeal DOMA and DADT. However, he must also pass a Health Care Bill this fall. Harwood is simply taking liberty with this story and I do not trust his WH source who of course remains un-named.

isn't that good? (4.00 / 2)
this shows they're frustrated because they know the left won't take a betrayal on the public option (what else? isn't that the front line now?) kindly and rahm is frustrated he can't do what his big health buddies want

I saw a QH that big health wants to kill the bill now. coincidence or did rahm tell them he couldn't do what they wanted

I would be more worried if rahm didn't think about us
if he thought he could sell us out

keep it up pajama boys and girls

rahm is frustrated he has to pay attention to his left flank!

Barack Obama... (4.00 / 5)
has been an arrogant prick since his first diary on dKos.

Fuck him and the institutional DC Democrats he rode in on.

They can't survive without us and some of them need to get fired so they realize that

I would love to see some of them fired. (4.00 / 3)
Can we start with Rahm, Geithner, and Summers?

[ Parent ]
Yeah, somebody should talk to their boss about that (0.00 / 0)
Just saying.

I am in earnest -- I will not equivocate -- I will not excuse -- I will not retreat a single inch -- AND I WILL BE HEARD.  

[ Parent ]
I tried, but he's not taking my calls. (0.00 / 0)
Maybe I should have called Rahm. "Hey Rahm, you really should fire yourself."

[ Parent ]
Maybe tell him Jamie's on the line? Or Lloyd? (4.00 / 1)
That might do it.

I am in earnest -- I will not equivocate -- I will not excuse -- I will not retreat a single inch -- AND I WILL BE HEARD.  

[ Parent ]
It's anachronistic (4.00 / 3)
C'mon, bloggers in pajamas is so 2002. Can this adviser be completely unaware of a now mature, professional progressive media and political structure? Or just disingenuous and contemptuous...

...Adding, maybe this 'adviser' (*cough* Rahm) ought to have a chat with Axelrod and Plough about the importance of online Dem organizations. They seemed to like our help and money.

Self-refuting Christine O'Donnell is proof monkeys are still evolving into humans

At least they now know ( I think) (4.00 / 1)
that the internet isn't a series of tubes.  

[ Parent ]
I keep reading here how the Dems have little to fear next year from the GOP. (4.00 / 1)
What Messrs. Bowers and Rosenberg forget is that in 2006 and 2008, Howard Dean was running the DNC and using the 50-state strategy, which rebuilt decayed Democratic Party campaign infrastructures so they could compete with the Republicans.  But since Rahmbo and the Most Holy Obamassiah ditched all that in favor of the DLC's preferred method of only focusing on perceived swing states and running granny campaigns (something Mr. Bowers blogged about late last year), we really cannot be certain the GOP won't take back at least the House of Representatives.  Next year is looking to me like a repeat of 1994, something Obama and Co. seem perfectly content with as it gives them even more excuse not to change a damned thing.

[ Parent ]
What Dems Have To Fear (4.00 / 1)
is not so much House loses next year as long-term failure.  True, disabling the 50-state strategy is stupid as it gets.  But there's plenty of stupidity on the GOP side, too.

More to the point, my arguments are based on long-term political trends, and aren't meant to say what must happen, only what's far-and-away most likely.  The 50-state strategy was absolutely vital for winning two wave elections in a row.  But incumbents are much better equipped to survive without it.  And that's just the problem.  Go back to their same old minimalist ways, that work for party hacks and no one else.  That is a recipe for disaster, but almost certainly not right away.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

[ Parent ]
It'll be a cumulative effect. (0.00 / 0)
Even if neither chamber of Congress reverts to Republican control next year, the losses will still be enough to put the Republicans within reach of reclaiming control of the Legislature in 2012.  And I don't think there's any reason to believe that, given the perpetual selling out of the Democratic base by the party leaders, such losses won't translate into yet more excuses for further inaction by the White House - which in turn will feed voter perceptions that the Democrats can't get anything done in spite of having large majorities in COngress and one of their own in the Oval Office.  And let's face it, a year is a very long time in politics and anything can and likely will happen.  We should not expect the GOP to sit idly by while the Democrats implode; they'll keep on the attack until they've achieved their aims, and they will exploit any and every opening they can.

If we look at the pattern of 1994, 2006, and 2008, there was a real 'throw-the-bums-out' mentality going on that was fed by the failures of the party in power, which the party in opposition capitalized on.  It is not a given that Democrats' nominal control of Congress will be protected without the 50-state method employed by Dean.  Bear in mind that throughout the 1980s, 1990s, and most of the 2000s, the Democrats employed the losing DLC method of focusing almost exclusively on perceived swing states, which allowed party infrastructure in 'red' states to decay into virtual oblivion and didn't exactly help the 'blue' states either.

Meanwhile, the Republicans appear to have employed their own version of the 50-state method (I might be wrong about that) throughout their rise to power, and it has only been in the two most recent electoral cycles that their campaign methods have failed to overcome those of the Democrats.  This happened largely because, as right-wing governance was exposed for the utter failure it is, the GOP became demoralized as it saw its corporate base place its bets on the enemy political party, and public acquiescence to its terror campaign eroded as the fear element was replaced by anger.  But, if we consider that a fifty-state method combined with a populist campaign was able to change the political parties' roles in tandem with voter outrage, then we can see a pattern emerge: voter backlash as a result of dominant party failures joining with a degraded campaign strategy to cause a shift in the balance of power.

Now, how do we explain this degradation in the Democrats' campaigning strategy?  Simply put, from 1992 to 1994 the DNC focused so much of its efforts on re-electing Clinton that it neglected everything else down the political ladder.  Money for embattled incumbents that could've been spent keeping Congressional seats safe were witheld because the DLC decided that resource was better spent protecting Clinton going into 1996.  We all witnessed the consequences of that folly.  Based on what Mr. Bowers wrote last November, it seems the same mistake is being made all over again, with the DLC reverting to the same malign neglect of the overall party infrastructure in favor of putting everything into Obama's re-election campaign.

[ Parent ]
Well, I'd have to say handing $22 trillion to the banksters... (0.00 / 0)
... has to be in the running for "as stupid as it gets." I mean, if I were handing out prizes.

Yes, that was a thoroughly bipartisan effort. And?

I am in earnest -- I will not equivocate -- I will not excuse -- I will not retreat a single inch -- AND I WILL BE HEARD.  

[ Parent ]
Pissing on your base (4.00 / 4)
isn't usually a winning strategy.

I have to wonder: whom does he think will vote for him in 2012? The Republicans despise him no matter how hard he tries to conciliate them. Independents tend to be turned off by the vacillation of politicians, and if he doesn't come through on health care and the economy, they sure as hell aren't going to support him.

So who's going to vote for him? Does he really believe that there's enough voters who are personally loyal to him, regardless of what he may fail to accomplish, that he can just cruise to reelection on the strength of his charm and speechifying?

Please tell he's not that foolish.

The same groups who caves and capitulates each and (4.00 / 3)
every time:  1.) better than the _______ (R) running;  2.) think about the surpreme court; 3.) It was your fault Gore lost; and 4.) DFH purity trolls.  

[ Parent ]
not this voter (4.00 / 2)
either they deliver on hcr or they are history

[ Parent ]
AND GORE DID NOT LOSE!!!!!! (4.00 / 3)


[ Parent ]
ways too many sssssssssssss (0.00 / 0)
same groups who cave and capitulate

[ Parent ]
Why, don't you know? (4.00 / 1)
People will vote for him because...he's not a Republican?  Never mind that he governs like one and therefore nobody really thinks such distinctions matter anymore.

[ Parent ]
Short answer? (4.00 / 2)
Apparently, yes.

Montani semper liberi

[ Parent ]
Obama's pissing on the banksters? (0.00 / 0)
We should be so lucky! Some of it might trickle down!

I am in earnest -- I will not equivocate -- I will not excuse -- I will not retreat a single inch -- AND I WILL BE HEARD.  

[ Parent ]
I guess he's referring to the 88% of the AP/GFK poll (0.00 / 0)
While 88 percent of Democrats said they approved of his performance in office, just 18 percent of Republicans approved.

But pls note that we don't get any details about this result. Imho it's reasonable to assume that the possible answers, as always, included the options "strongly approve" and "somewhat approve". How may of those interviewed only "somewhat" approve Obama's actions? I guess many, if not most, here fall into this category. And a "somewhat" positive view is nothing the WH should really brag about. Not to speak of the 12% of Democrat voters who are not impressed at all. If many of the most activist supporters of the 2008 campaign fall into this category, this is reason for concern! Really, if the administration official thinks the numbers are a reason for comfort, he is living in a bubble, just like the Bush gang before.

Who said it? (0.00 / 0)
There are only a handful of people really. I doubt John Harwood is allowed to bother Rahm or Axelrod on a Sunday. Doesn't sound like Anita Dunn, and her brief is countering Fox news anyway. So I'm guessing it was Dan Pfeiffer (big mouth, sarcastic, no particular friend of liberals, seems to be their internet strategy guy).

Not an outlier quote (4.00 / 5)
There have simply been too many such quotes coming from the Obama WH by now to view this as the unrepresentative sniping of a disgruntled subordinate, let alone the willful misrepresentation of a GOP-leaning reporter unhappy with and trying to undermine said WH, and anyone still trying to spin it this way seriously needs to undergo emergency head from ass extraction.

The Obama WH, like Obama himself, is clearly and inherently two-faced, disengenuous and passive-aggressive, trying to have it both ways, by saying all the right things to its left base, while actually serving what it views as its true base, the center and center-right. Call it pragmatic, call it cynical, call it cowardly, call it dishonest--or call it brilliant, if you are so inclined, god help you--it is what it is and to deny it is simply nuts. This WH is Clintonian in its morbid fear of being seen as too liberal, and doing all that it can to diabuse the media and public and establishment that it is, and this quote is absolutely representative of this mindset and MO. And this transparent insecurity will be its undoing if it doesn't get past it.

You don't govern effectively by governing timidly, apologetically and reactively. You just don't.

"Those who stand for nothing fall for anything...Mankind are forever destined to be the dupes of bold & cunning imposture" -- Alexander Hamilton


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