Thursday, September 30, 2010

Punching Hippies for Fun and Profit

Jane Hamsher writes at length about the Obama administration's defensiveness, and attacks on the left. Digby with a shorter remark, and a reminder to vote anyway. Reports are that the Obama administration is genuinely disappointed with lack of support from the left, and does not understand it. (Commentator Peter Daou writes on this, also on the impact of the liberal blogosphere. I think he overestimates our influence.) But I wonder. I remember the Obama campaign's "inch to the right of Hilary Clinton" electoral strategy. I wonder if the administration isn’t stirring up conflict in the hope of getting media attention and getting turnout. I think that makes sense, and may even be a workable strategy. It also moves the Democratic Party further to the right.

Perhaps, perhaps. The Obama administration has proven surprisingly politically inept. It appears that they do not understand the motivations of the people who elected them, nor their party's own activists. The administration is skillful at persuading a broad public that they are what the public wants, but they seem to lack of the complementary skill of finding out what the public wants and satisfying those desires. To win an elected office, one has to build a constituency, but to last in politics, one has to satisfy a constituency. This seems so basic that I'm surprised to find a need to state it. So it's hard for me to believe that the hippie-punching is conscious strategy. Still, conscious strategy or not, it might work. Most of the public does not vote on policy, after all.

1 comment:

Ted K said...

Confusing eh??? I'm wondering how far things will veer off the last two years strategy with Rahm baby leaving. I think it must have an impact of some sort. My guess is it might even weaken them even more, at least behind the scenes because I doubt if anybody plays the game "hardball under the radar screen" better than Rahm Emanuel.