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Amateurism

| 8 Comments

So I just read that ex-Virginian governor Douglas Wilder - who is, btw, African-American - just publicly declined to endorse Democratic candidate Creighton Deeds, in spite of a strong appeal from President Obama. Last week, embattled New York Governor David Patterson (I think you have to add the 'embattled' in front of his title - it's in the style guide) declined to step down after being directly asked by the President.

I've got three thoughts about this. The first is a crib from Will Rodgers: "I belong to no organized party, I'm a Democrat."

The next is that things that are easy with 67% strong popularity are really, really hard with a 51% 'somewhat approve' rating.

And finally, from my corporate work, no question at this level is supposed to get asked until quiet discussions have confirmed the answer. That's a bush-league (sorry...) mistake, and a sign of political immaturity at the senior staff level. We need to fix that, please, Mr. President.
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8 Comments

As long as Obama is President I like him just the way he is: an electoral asset for the other party. I would be waking up in a cold sweat if he were competent. We have a lemon and this is as close to lemonade as we are going to get.

Obama needs to learn how to keep his failed attempts to pressure Democrats from hitting the papers the very next day. I mean, they're so effing obvious they're even ending up in The New York Times.

When they do hit the papers, the White House needs to learn how to credibly lie about it without making the embarrassment worse, as in the Paterson case.

Gotta disagree, Marc. It's hubris, and the fish is rotting from the head down.

Paterson actually seems to have taken a decent hack at the issues facing New York state; but his popularity rating is very low. And he'd definitely be in tough against Rudy G.

Marc's right about "this isn't the way to handle it," but it's not like Obama is the first President to do this sort of thing. So I don't see Phil's hubris - unless the reason this stuff was made public is a belief that revealing "The One" had spoken would change the public equation. Which would be hubris, as opposed to more conventional explanations of "they screwed up."

What's more interesting to me is the underlying party worry that NY state Congressional seats could be at risk in 2010. One part of the party's brain appears to acknowledge that it's on thin ice, while its federal legislators push the throttle forward on the things making them so.

Joe:
... it's not like Obama is the first President to do this sort of thing.

So it is said, and no doubt there are few things that some former president has not done, especially since a few of them routinely got drunk before noon. (To paraphrase one of our sober presidents: Obama badly needs some of Grant's whiskey.)

But seriously, can anyone think of an example comparable to this one? It's one thing for the president to lean on a pol who is embarrassing everyone with outrageous scandal or illegality - but that was the last governor of New York. Paterson's only crime is mediocrity.

For Obama to bully Paterson (and deliberately letting the bullying leak?) while slobbering over Andrew Cuomo is as stupid as it is rude.

It's rude. It's definitely stupid to allow to leak, because Team Obama achieved nothing and hurt themselves. I'm not sure it's stupid to do in the context of politics and parties, where "rude" is and has always been the norm.

"For Obama to bully Paterson (and deliberately letting the bullying leak?) while slobbering over Andrew Cuomo is as stupid as it is rude."

Paterson's crime isn't mediocrity. Heck, we could nearly empty the Capitol Building if that one was indictable. His crime is damaging his party's perceived electoral chances in other important races.

Sentences for that one are frequently capital, politically speaking.

Whether slobbering over Andrew Cuomo is stupid is another question. I'm going to withhold judgment for lack of background knowledge.

His crime is damaging his party's perceived electoral chances in other important races.

If so, then the guy trying to get rid of him is a far greater criminal. But poor Paterson is a schlub, and no match for the beautiful Obama. This isn't rational calculation, it's adolescent hormones. Only 13 year-old girls can truly understand Democratic politics. Marc should hire one as an advisor.

Only 13 year-old girls can truly understand Democratic politics. Marc should hire one as an advisor.

Given the total Democratic domination at a federal level, both executive and legislative (both houses) the Republicans should also hire a 13 year old girl. She can give them clues on things like whether a short, bald, grumpy old man is likely to be a winner.

Her advice will be more straightforward and likely more useful than the guidance of elite Republican pundits, who pretentiously write from their own, more embarrassing hormonal reactions, of knee-tingling, thigh-touching, gaze-fixated adoration, at the loved one's perfectly creased pant ... pant ... pant...

A certain thoughtless bossiness plays well to that crowd. Mr. President is gentle, yet insistent, and so spontaneous, never "creepy" (Peggy Noonan's favorite word) and calculating.

They did more good for Mr. Obama by defecting than he is likely to lose out on by publicly disagreeing with some minor political figures.

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