Fo Shizzle It’s Fizzle

The Politico mourns the shizzle sizzle fizzle which is the Barack Obama (D-Rezko) campaign.

The central criticism of the Obama campaign, which worries his supporters and pleases his rivals, is that he had a chance to make his “movement” about something, and missed it.

If there’s space for movement politics in this country right now, you’d think the movement in question would be the anti-war movement. But Obama, for a variety of reasons, chose to divorce his campaign and his surging popularity from anything that concrete, and focus it on his own story, his charisma and his ability to make change.

So here’s a piece from a college paper in Missouri that kind of captures the perception that that isn’t working. Not to make too much of what seems like a single, rather grumpy report on a mid-level Obama staffer’s appearance on campus; but it captures a perception I’ve heard repeatedly over the last few weeks:

“I thought it was pretty horrible,” said Macklin Rice, a senior studio art major. He “had the opportunity to lay out Obama’s platform and he didn’t. He kept talking about how he wants people to go out and knock door to door (to gain support for Obama), and there are 50 doors right here (in the audience).”

Well, the anti-war peeps are catching on (it’s Hip Hop night on Big Pink my peeps).

Now a BO blogger is catching on – From ThinkObama to Think, Obama – we’re not sure what this is all about but some Brooklynites are PO’d at BO:

Let’s review. I know, I know. I’m won’t leave it alone. But one more time, please, with the FEMA comparison in mind.

1) The initial mistake: not admitting all ticketholders after a long wait doesn’t look good, but you can plausibly go with a “fog of war”/”mistakes happen” explanation.

2) The uncoordinated response with clipboards begins to look bad. It shows that no one ever considered the possibility of things not going according to plan. That’s an event — and risk — planning fundamental.

3) The dubiously worded email with no clear contact info or instructions other than “wait” looks somewhere between mismanaged and dishonest, regardless of its arrival within 24 hours.

4) One week later, and no reply to an email sent looking for a refund. Who’s responsible for coordinating the response to stakeholder concerns? Apparently, no one.

5) Finally, failing to complete a refund transaction while on the phone with someone who has taken the time to ask for their money back — that’s just silly. There didn’t seem to be a problem taking the money off of the credit card.

Think now of mixed messages, dispersed families, trailers, deferred payments, and dubious promises. There was a similar progression from terrible disaster to bureaucratic failure.

That said, OF COURSE, it’s also a good reality check about one event in Brooklyn. No one was hurt physically, no one’s displaced, and there’s not ruin in this event’s wake (well, not beyond this little corner of the Web).

The proximate stakes were lower. The ultimate gamble, though, involves the future of our country. It’s the 2008 election. These are the small pieces that put an election together or lose it.

This holiday weekend I spoke with a family member of an elected official who holds national office. In discussing the Brooklyn event and 2008 race, she emphasized the importance in politics of being gracious when it comes to people’s money, regardless of the amount.

It’s good politics 101. The reason, of course, is that if you’re successful, you’re always going to have to ask people for more money.

That’s what was discouraging for me in the response of the New York office, and communication reviewed by the Chicago media team. Talented political fundraisers, who had already pulled in several million dollars, were completely oblivious to what would create a good experience for their donors. That’s bad campaigning.

Collecting names was a good idea. It’s always a good idea when you stumble. It creates opportunity. You can flag donors for special attention to make up for time of theirs you’ve wasted and disappointment you’ve caused.

You can win them back and impress them with how you recover from a mistake. That experience could ultimately be more compelling than a Barack-led pep rally. It’s always great to hear Senator Obama do his rhetorical thing, but again, direct experience means a lot. Showing as an organization that you know what you’re doing builds confidence and loyalty.

Want to know to the main reason posts on this topic keep coming? I haven’t heard another word from any part of the Obama campaign machine. There’s a huge ellipsis hanging in the air about how this story ends.

Of course we knew all this long ago – BO’s fake campaign. On May 2, 2007 we wrote When Sizzle Meets Fizzle to warn “Generation BO” (yes, the pungent “Generation BO” really is the official Obama campaign designation for their youth vote outreach — and we shouldn’t worry about Obama losing a public relations battle with rogue foreign leaders?)

One aspect of Obama’s sales job is the myth that his is a grassroots campaign, as opposed to all those other evil campaigns that seek control. To that end the Obama campaign has created a campaign web site that provides all sorts of bells and whistles to delude his young supporters that he is one of them.

Today, as Politico points out, “Barack Obama has apparently convinced MySpace (owned by News Corp.) to shut down his own unofficial Myspace page — without the consent of its creator — and re-direct its traffic to a new official page.”

TechPresident has more about Anthony, the creator of the MySpace page and his introduction to the “new politics”: Anthony had never been politically active before. “I was just blown away,” he told me. He put time into the site every day, answering emails from people wanting to “friend” the page, pointing them to voter registration information, and, once Obama threw his hat into the ring, telling them where to find out more detailed positions of the candidate.

We have written about this hypocrisy before, concerning several articles about Obama’s alliance with a slumlord: On April 25, 2007, Carol Marin, in a column for the Sun-Times summarized the articles and hit Obama hard “suddenly this gleaming presidential hopeful and paragon of new politics behaves just like any other dissembling, dismissive Chicago pol, ducking the discussion while pretending not to.”

We have additional evidence today of Obama’s “new politics”. Someone from the Obama campaign leaked a copy to the media of Obama’s smooth talk script when making phone calls.

Most of the smooth talk resembles the Obama campaign promise to its young supporters that they will have a voice in the campaign.

Sad isn’t it?


Barack Obama’s Mob

Big Media waking up? We wrote on April 30, 2007 Will Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald Destroy the Obama Campaign?about the pending doom facing the Barack Obama campaign. Here is what we wrote:

The national media are missing the big picture in their coverage of the hundred-million dollar plus scandal involving Barack Obama and his friend of 17 years, major donor, former Finance Committee Co-Chair and now indicted slumlord.

Debate moderator Brian Williams asked Obama about the scandal during last Thursday’s first Democratic Candidates for President debate. But Williams did not reference the political implications of the Obama scandal: the trial of Obama’s decades long friend and major donor and fundraiser will coincide with the 2008 primary calendar.

“Will Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald Destroy The Obama Campaign?” The legendary Patrick Fitzgerald indicted and convicted top Vice President Cheney aide Lewis “Scooter” Libby. Fitzgerald has now set his relentless prosecutorial eyes on a new target.

Fitzgerald’s United States Federal Prosecutor Office for Illinois has filed a 65 page indictment of Antoin “Tony” Rezko .

The trial has been scheduled for February 25, 2008 by U.S. District Judge Amy St. Eve. Judge Eve called the trial date of Febuary 25, 2008 a firm date. The trial preparations and news will coincide with the first Democratic Primaries and Caucuses in January and February 2008. The headlines are sure to draw attention to Obama’s shady deals with Rezko in the purchase of Obama’s $1.65 million house.

This weekend Big Media began to catch up on this story: “Rezko remains part of the history that is likely to trail Obama into the presidential campaign. His federal trial is scheduled to begin in February, during the opening rounds of the 2008 Democratic primary season.”

What is shaking drowsy Big Media from their Big Sleep? After beating up on Hillary about Norman Hsu the Washington Post finally discovered that Hsu was generous to Obama too. “Federal Election Commission records show that Hsu gave $5,000 to Obama’s Hopefund PAC in connection with the fundraiser and that people publicly identified with Hsu and his companies gave an additional $19,500 to the PAC in 2005 and 2006.”

Another shake to Big Media’s Big Sleep came last week:

A man who has long been dogged by charges that the bank his family owns helped finance a Chicago crime figure will host a Windy City fund-raiser tonight for Sen. Barack Obama.

Alexi Giannoulias, who became Illinois state treasurer last year after Obama vouched for him, has pledged to raise $100,000 for the senator’s Oval Office bid.

Before he promised to raise funds for Obama, Giannoulias bankrolled Michael “Jaws” Giorango, a Chicagoan twice convicted of bookmaking and promoting prostitution.

Giannoulias is so tainted by reputed mob links that several top Illinois Dems, including the state’s speaker of the House and party chairman, refused to endorse him even after he won the Democratic nomination with Obama’s help.

Giannoulias was the bank’s vice president and chief loan officer for most of the more than $15 million in loans.

Recall, Obama’s other long time friend Antoin “Tony” Rezko was widely known as about to be indicted when Rezko bought and paid for a yard attached to a house Obama could not afford. This allowed Obama, in what he wishes to wave away as a “boneheaded” move, to purchase the mansion he calls home. With this Rezko history fresh in everyone’s mind, has Obama steered himself away from Giannoulias? No.

“It’s unbelievable,” said Illinois state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias as the Great Gatsby party scene unfolded before him on Winfrey’s meadow under a gorgeous sky. Real celebrities mingled with Obama’s best donors and bundlers rewarded for their fund-raising efforts with a star-studded afternoon.”

Giannoulias perhaps is not aware that the Great Gatsby made his money in crime family bootlegging and that the Fitzgerald novel was a foreshadowing of the grimmer mob epic The Godfather when Giannoulias made that ill-chosen reference.

We have previously written about Giannoulias in The Senator From Rezko, Part II. Quoting a Chicago Tribune article Critics: Obama Endorsements Counter Calls For Clean Government we wrote

“But Obama’s record of local endorsements — one measure of how he has used his nascent political clout — has drawn criticism from those who say it reflects his deference to Chicago’s established political order and runs counter to his public calls for clean government.”

“In the 2006 Democratic primary, for example, Obama endorsed first-time candidate Alexi Giannoulias for state treasurer despite reports about loans Giannoulias’ family-owned Broadway Bank made to crime figures. Records show Giannoulias and his family had given more than $10,000 to Obama’s campaign, which banked at Broadway.”

“Obama endorsed former Ald. Dorothy Tillman (3rd), calling her “a very early supporter of my campaign.” Tillman was then under fire for her stewardship of the scandal-plagued Harold Washington Cultural Center, where contracts benefited members of her family.”

Obama’s real history is catching up with him. This past week the L.A. Times had a solid profile of Obama called Obama: A Fresh Face Or An Old-School Tactician?

Here are excerpts from the L.A. Times article reminiscent of our article Obama’s Dirty Mud Politics:

He managed to burnish a reformer’s reputation while swimming in the muddy waters of special-interest- infested state politics.

He worked on a nice-guy image while practicing the hardball and brawling tactics of Chicago-style politics.

Now, promoting himself as a fresh face on the national political stage, proclaiming his distance from lobbyists and the Washington culture of special interests, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) has to contend with his own history.

From Chicago to Springfield, his past is filled with decidedly old-school political tactics — a history of befriending powerful local elders, assisting benefactors and special interests, and neutralizing rivals.

Obama may be packaged as something new among presidential contenders, but in this town where politics is played like a blood sport he fit right in.

Our explorations into the real Barack Obama will continue in Barack Obama’s Mob, Part II