Well, this is rich. In the process of complaining about how the White House seems to be a combination of Mayor Daley and Barney Fife – no, really, that’s explicitly the two figures that they used – Politico reports:
One senior House Democrat said it is baffling “how one group of people can be so good at campaigning and so bad at politics” — a phrasing nearly identical to that of a second veteran House Democrat who expressed the same sentiment.
(H/T: Instapundit) No, what’s baffling is that there are senior members of the Democratic party who are actually still possessed of the belief that the Obama administration was good at campaigning. I mean, I understand that it’s necessary to keep telling the rank-and-file that they won in 2008 because their leader was off playing… what’s the phrase? “12-dimensional chess?”… but surely the higher-ups need to be firmly in contact with Reality Non-Unicorn, yes?
No, seriously, the Obama’s campaign strengths in 2008 were not in campaigning. They were in the following:
- Gaming the primary system. As witnessed by the fact that the Obama campaign got the nomination without managing to win the popular vote in the California, Florida, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Texas primaries – or, in fact, the actual popular vote in total. Essentially, they took advantage of every quirk in the nomination process to finesse delegates out of the system. Which is fine – but it’s not campaigning.
- Fundraising. No argument here: the Obama administration squeezed a godawful amount of money out of the American voting electorate. Which is fine – but it’s not campaigning.
- Keeping their mouths shut and letting people – particularly the ones in the media – project their own views of the candidate onto the candidate. I believe that he even said something along those lines, at some point. Objectively speaking, that’s fine – but it’s not campaigning.
- And, of course: Letting the other side self-destruct on its own time and at its own schedule. Which, speaking as somebody who was privately shouting at the GOP every single day on precisely that issue, was frustrating, demoralizing, and infuriating – but it’s not campaigning.
And since then… well. You tell me. The White House spent ten months and double-digits’ worth of House seats (latter payable November 2010) to pass a hideously unpopular health care monstrosity when it already had a lopsided majority in Congress. The White House has killed the electoral hopes of every post-2008 candidate that it’s personally intervened for. The White House can’t even get the card check and cap-and-trade bills out of neutral. And as it stands right now, thanks to this administration’s priorities and goal achievement strategies the Democrats are planning to run in November on… the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Which I had to look up, too – and I’m a political junkie who has written about it.
So why are people so surprised that this administration is awful at politics, too?