Last night Big Media was finally able to publish the story they wrote a year ago. The victor last night was Big Media. The victors last night were Chris Matthews and Tim Russert.
But let’s not excuse what happened last night by blaming others. Let’s not make excuses by cheering about the delegate count or the delegate distribution in Iowa (Obama gets 16 delegates, Hillary 15, Edwards 14). Let’s not cheer about Hank Aaron nor the continuing endorsements coming in for Hillary. Let’s not cheer about Hillary strength in nationwide polls.
We need to take responsibility for what happened in Iowa. Let’s survey the damage and the opportunity.
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Dodd, Biden and the rest are now out of the race. Richardson gets to participate in Saturday’s debate but goes nowhere. Edwards gets to participate in Saturday’s debate but goes nowhere (conventional wisdom before Iowa was that for Edwards Iowa was a “must” win – Edwards lost. Conventional wisdom was right and Edwards will have a tough time raising money, organization, and support.)
Iowa was a problem for Hillary for several reasons. Obama was from a neighboring state and spent a lot of money there and Edwards practically lived there for years. A bigger problem was the unified field of opposition against Hillary (Big Media, Republicans, and the Democratic candidates). This unified field of opposition meant that “going negative” against an individual in Iowa could easily backfire and there were too many opponents (include Big Media, Big Blogs, and Republicans) to take everybody on in a fight. Another complication was the ability of independents to vote in Iowa; a complication which exists in New Hampshire as well.
The race is between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama and Big Media. Barack Obama is the Chris Matthews candidate and we need to treat him as such.
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Our biggest failure in Iowa and beyond: we let down young people. Young people wanted change and excitement and truth and we gave them words and policy, and logic.
We effectively abandoned young people to a flim flam artist. We did not provide the truth to young voters. We were afraid they would get angry and disillusioned. We abandoned them. Young people thought the change and therefore the excitement was with the other side. We were excited by Hillary because we know she represents change worth having but we did not engage young voters by arming them with all the facts.
Flim flam artists target the young with excitement and hoopla, and hope. That is the way it always is. Hillary campaign strategists viewed Obama as a political adversary to be counteracted within normal political discourse involving policy. But Obama is a flim flam artist. You defeat flim flammery and flim flam artists by exposing them for what they are.
Again, you do not defeat a circus parade. You cannot persuade a bystander, using logic, not to be excited about the circus parade. You cannot cite statistics about how the parade is financed, how ugly the clowns are beneath the makeup, the amount of cheap glitter and paint employed to create the excitement.
Reading and viewing assignments for the Hillary media team this week: Elmer Gantry (book and movie), The Music Man (movie). Understand the opposition.
How do you defeat the Chicago circus of the ridiculous? Tell the truth fearlessly.
Young people and gay people did not know about Obama’s cynical gay bashing tour in South Carolina. Why not? Why did the gay newspaper The Washington Blade endorse Hillary but not mention the gay bashing tour of South Carolina? The campaign did not get the message out. Advertise in gay periodicals – tell the truth – fearlessly. We did, but as our commenting student in Iowa informed us, the campaign did not get the message out in Iowa. This is what we wrote:
Obama has based his entire campaign on the youth vote. Obama presumed he would get the African-American vote in places such as South Carolina. In Iowa and New Hampshire, which have few African-Americans, Obama counted on the most progressive and energetic demographic – young people.
But Obama is only now beginning to realize how pro Gay rights young people are. Obama’s gay bashing tour threatens the very foundations of his election strategy. Without young people Obama has no organization in Iowa and New Hampshire. Without enthusiastic young people Obama will have no campaign workers on the cold election days in Iowa and New Hampshire.
All the performers in the McClurkin gay bashing tour were anti-gay but young people were not informed of this. The campaign failed to defend gay voters and inform young people. In this vacuum, the flim flam artist prevailed.
The campaign needs to inform African-Americans about how Obama abandoned African-Americans when he was in Chicago. Here is what we wrote:
What use was Obama’s “community organizer” experience to those shivering tenants?
What use was Obama the state senator to those shivering tenants?
What relationships did Obama build during his “community organizer” days that proved useless when he became state senator, and failed to keep him in touch with the community?
What was Obama doing in his plush state senator office that kept him too busy to know that these “struggling families” were without heat “For more than five weeks during the brutal winter of 1997″?
If Obama with all his “community organizer” experience did not know what was happening in his small district office in Chicago, how in blazes does anyone think he will respond to the needs of an American electorate that numbers in the hundreds of millions?
What was Obama doing in his state senate office while his constituents suffered due to now indicted slumlord Antoin “Tony” Rezko, Obama’s friend of 17 years? Well, Obama was busy writing letters to get even more government money for his friends, including Rezko.
The campaign failed to defend African-Americans and inform young people about what Obama really did in Chicago. In this vacuum the flim flam artist prevailed.
On our very first day of publication, we discussed in our second post ever, Obama’s history of voting “present”. The title of our post was Obama’s Present To Pro-Choice Opponents. The campaign did not begin to address in any way this history until the story was published in Big Media outlets – in the last month. The time to talk about Obama’s vote history was way back in the spring.
We repeated ad nauseum this Joe Biden quote about Kyl-Lieberman: “I wonder why he wasn’t there to vote,” Biden said. “We all knew that this vote was coming up.” The campaign NEVER mentioned that quote. The most the campaign did was mention in passing the vote in a tepid manner: “If Senator Obama felt so strongly about this resolution, why didn’t he speak out against it or vote against it?”
The Kyl-Lieberman vote was a key example of Obama’s circus of the ridiculous. Young people needed to be informed about Obama’s hypocrisy and history of not voting. Young people, all people, were not informed about the Obama hypocrisy. Young people were not told the truth fearlessly.
The campaign never challenged Obama on Rezko. Our Challenge To Big Media And Big Blogs stands. Obama has challenged Hillary’s character. The Hillary campaign never challenged Obama’s character. No doubt young people think Obama is clean and Hillary is dirty. Young people never had the right wing history of attacks against Hillary explained to them. Young people never had the real Obama history in Chicago with Rezko explained to them. The fault is not with young people.
The key Hillary issue of Health Care was usurped in Iowa by Obama even though there is a whole history of Hillary fighting for health care and Obama fighting to represent the interests of the insurance industry. It’s the campaign’s job to inform young people, all people of this Obama history. Big Media is not going to do the job. It’s up to the Campaign.
The day before the Iowa caucuses some blogs began to awaken to Obama blaming Democrats for decades long Republican obstruction. Young people think of Obama as a friend because they do not know what Obama really represents:
Running to the right on health care and social security combined with the anti-gay gospel singer, taking Robert Novak smears at face value, repeating Jeff Gerth lies and now going after Paul Krugman, leads me to the niggling awareness that this is a conscious, if subtle, strategy. Any one of those things could be an accident, and perhaps some of them are. But taken as a whole, conscious or not, liberal fighters in the partisan wars are being sistah soljahed. Unlike the big issue of Iraq where being on the right side is being on the left side, these little digs and policy positioning are all sweet spots for the Village — and sore spots for the base.
Young people were led to believe that Obama is their friend. Young people think of Facebook and other interactive social sites as part of their lives. The Hillary campaign did not ever explain to young people how bogus that claim was. We did:
Pollitics has hustlers popping up all the time. Silver tongued devils, snake oil salesmen, those who wrap their arms around your shoulder and make you feel great populate the political world. Then they stab you in the back.
Today a certain Joe Anthony learned a life lesson in the “new politics”.
For the past few weeks, the campaign decided it would be better if they just took control of the profile and we decided to try to come to some agreement. By this time, I didn’t have quite as much respect for the campaign guys, and frankly felt like I was just being used. They knew about this profile the entire time, and really just waited until it got enough media coverage and friends request so they could step in and bully me out of it.
We wrote about this situation more than once:
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.”
The campaign never discussed this issue. It was an issue of importance to young people. On issue after issue voters were not informed. Young people were not informed. This has to change. The truth must be told.
The Hillary story is a compelling story. But it is not being heard. Obama crafts and creates his own story filled with composite characters and fake recollections. Big Media does not challenge Obama’s fake history but attacks Hillary real life story. Young people do not know this history. Young people will rally to Hillary if they know the real facts about who is the real fighter for social justice representing change and who is the flim flam artist representing Rezko. But young people need to be told. Fearlessly.
The mark of a champion is taking a punch and standing up and punching back. Hillary has been a champion all her life. Obama has a glass jaw and has never taken a punch.
The danger for Democrats is that the punch to Obama’s glass jaw will be delivered by Big Media after Big Media has used Obama to hurt Hillary. Obama will not survive examination. Big Media and the Republicans will only punch Obama if he would ever become the nominee.
Champions fight back. We know Hillary can take a punch. But now the time has come to punch back – Hard.