The Morning Joe Rebuttal for February 16th, 2010
1) I’m so motivated with Al Franken, that if there is even a remote chance that John Cougar can be the next Democratic senator from Indiana and join the usurpation caucus, then we win. No offense Evan Bayh, but you are an obstructionist more closely aligned with Joe Lieberman than Chuck Schumer.
In fact, the way that Evan Bayh is going out is the ultimate Lieberman like act of obstruction based politics. Block the fire exit while you get out. All I heard was hypocrisy, complaining about the things he was equally responsible for. You can’t claim the deficit commission was the final straw when you were taking the same stance on issues of war and health care, modest support until vote time. Yea, any of the spineless middle would’ve voted for that gutted mass called Senate health care reform, that’s not brave, that’s Bayh.
Those pictures that Morning Joe was pasting up as Democratically endorsed triage candidates in Indiana had all of the momentum of the off green wall paint in your junior high school cafeteria. Good luck with that if that’s your strategy.
2) That branding point made today by Melissa Harris-Lacewell is an important one that will be explored by historians for some time in regard to the failures of 2009. If the marketing message “People First, Health Insurers Last” had been evoked in March of 2009 it would’ve trumped “Death Panels” as it would’ve associated that as snake oil from special interests instead of rightful fear of government abuse from Chuck Grassley.
The fact that ‘Main Steet, Not Wall Street’ was out there but ineffective is another stinging indictment of where the Obama administration was throughout 2009. The Goldman cabinet will not endear you to Main Street. It’s an interesting but consistent aside that both sides of the slogan have new vitriol for the administration.
And lastly, the ‘Jobs, Jobs, Jobs’ high ground was ceded because the Democrats consistently pointed to the stimulus and health care as them saying yes, when Main Street was left asking ‘Where’s The Beef”? The conversation today about how China spent their stimulus with 40 high speed railroads OPENING next year versus us still with 67% of ours unaccounted for in the economy is all the answer you need as to what bedeviled our brand. Please note, that as much as Joe Scarborough used the China example today, he certainly railed against any sort of similar domestic action 12 months ago.
3) But the answer, the answer to the question that Gene Robinson asked and no one could answer: What is the central reason for the huge political shift? Not just anti incumbent. Not just health instead of jobs. Not because Republicans are so great or offered any alternative. Not because of message wars lost. The answer is mismanagement. The branch of government that Obama was elected to lead? The executive branch. I don’t need a Latin class to figure out that leading and execution are hallmarks of this position.
Even though it’s his watch and he gets the blame. The administration has some absolutely key failures that lead one to think about that career ascension conundrum: you ascend in your career until you get a job you’re not qualified for in too quick a timetable to effectively retrain or adjust and you tread water for a second until reality rushes failure over your head with the certainty of a 12 hour tide.
That failure is the departure of Howard Dean right at the administration outset, with Tim Kaine invisible for 14 months. That failure is Axelrod and Emmanuel using ‘Entourage’ mentality in a time of historic crisis where there should’ve been a Secretary Gates or Secretary Clinton at every post.
This vacuum of leadership that we’ve so consistently talked about, the missing branch of government needed to overcome huge obstacles in broken facets of BOTH other branches of government, simply misses the scale of necessity of the times. We could all learn something from George W. Bush.
Late in his Presidency, he came to power. He consulted with his dad and brought in Gates to shore up his power throughout government and turn the Iraq war while he still could. He got smart and realized the agendas of his closest advisers were divergent with his own. He seemed so lonely at the end, but often the correct path is the loneliest. No lobby money, no George Will, not a poll number in sight.
Obama has this moment in the 14th month. The template is there, erect the super squad and get to work.
That's all for today, see you tomorrow.