Bloggers at the White House

So a bunch of liberal blogger types (Atrios, Yglesias, Aravosis, Oliver Willis, Thom Hartmann, Chris Hayes, Jonathan Singer etc.) met with Jared Bernstein (Biden’s chief economic adviser) at the White House the other day, and I have to say, with the exception of AmericaBlog’s John Aravosis, they sure do sound like a bunch of well-behaved student council members called to the principal’s office.

Being liberals, I suppose they went into “thoughtful listening” mode (apparently Bernstein berated them for not being more supportive of the stimulus bill! and blamed bloggers for not doing a better sales job to the public.

From the various accounts I’ve read, sounds like most of them went into defensive mode, listing examples of what they’d written to support the stimulus instead of pushing back on the silliness of handing bloggers responsiblity for White House communication failures.

Bernstein reportedly said a lot of blah blah blah about “political constraints.” (See earlier Lawrence Lessig “political realism” post.)

I wish I’d been there. Since I don’t have a niche in the political power structure and don’t want one, I would have been more than happy to share my opinion.

“Yes, Jared, you’re right. I attacked the stimulus package because it was a shitty, half-hearted stimulus package – and it wasn’t just me who thought so. Maybe you should be bitching to Paul Krugman and Joe Stiglitz, who have much bigger podiums than we do – and by the way, maybe there’s a reason why they have the Nobel prize in economics and you don’t.

“And don’t give me that weak crap about ‘political contraints.’ This is a leadership vacuum, and your people couldn’t lead a parade out of a paper bag.

“You made a strategic error. You could have gone over the head of the hacks in Congress and made the compelling case to the public for a bigger stimulus, but instead you decided to play bipartisan statesman. And what happened? The economy was a car with two flat tires and you put a freakin’ donut tire on one wheel. Now you want us to jump up and down, applauding the subpar performance of that lopsided car, making its way down the road.

“Do you have any idea of how many people are still out of work? It’s not my job to make the White House look good. It’s my job to look out for the interests of working people. I stick up for the White House when they do something right. This wasn’t right.”

I have no patience with niceties – not with so many people in such bad shape. It’s not about the White House, it’s about those desperate people.

And no, I wouldn’t care about being invited back. They’re not listening, anyway. It’s just PR kabuki.

18 thoughts on “Bloggers at the White House

  1. That’s an awful lot of people you’re saying are acting like well-behaved student council members called to the principal’s office. I found one, so far, where that description seems really accurate. Could you link to some others?

  2. So far, I can only find posts by Atrios, Oliver Willis and Aravosis. I looked for more; I’m assuming if someone created a scene, someone else would have written about it.

  3. Re: “This is a leadership vacuum, and your people couldn’t lead a parade out of a paper bag.”

    But why would anyone want to, when the paper bag is so comfy and full of cash and status and power?

  4. ….”blamed bloggers for not doing a better sales job to the public.”

    Ya’ gotta be kidding! Maybe (no, actually) the WH must have just started reading the blogs. They would’ve known long ago that progressive blogs didn’t buy into the under-funded “stimulus” to begin with. So who’s job is it to sell the bullshit (as if we all just fell off the damn turnip truck)?

  5. to be fair to atrios, he’s not exactly the confrontational type, and he did bring up HAMP, which he’s been highly critical of.

    as for the rest, i don’t really follow them except for Aravosis and occasionally yglesias. I just read Aravosis’ description, and I love that guy.

  6. Excuse me. As I understood it, the job of bloggers was to stand in the back of the room and snipe.
    Everybody was supportive enough when the bastards were elected, and plenty of people have run around saying, “No, he’s good, it will all work out.”
    Yay. A whiney-ass administration.

  7. “…couldn’t lead a parade out of a paper bag.”

    Hearty guffaw. Thx. Made my day.

    Question is, are we at a point where we don’t want to risk suggesting ineptitude as part and parcel of the parade, or will calling the tune help them snap out of it and realize we are at a major intersection in US history?

  8. Wish I could put as well as you, Susie.

    Most lefty blogger waste my time; there have really very little to say; that is the reason they have been called to the principal’s office.

    There strong leadership in this White House, it’s directed to the benefit of the rich: banks, Pharma, health insurance, etc. It’s called “hope and Change.”

  9. re: aravosis– I read the link, and even he sounds far too respectful.

    Which isn’t surprising, given that he was one of the first to drink the Obama Kool-Aid, and was about the worst when it came to hateful/misogynistic posts about Clinton.

    As for the stimulus bill, the public perception that its been a failure is based not on what the GOP has said (or anything that “progressives” have or have not written about the bill itself), but rather because the public doesn’t differentiate between the ‘stimulus’ bill and the trillions handed to the banksters — and they’re right to not draw that distinction. Americans understand that massive, unprecedented deficits were created to bail out Wall Street without providing anywhere close to the same level of support for “Main Street”. To the public, it was all one big pile of money that was supposed to fix the economy–and the only thing it fixed was the balance sheets of the investor classes.

  10. Which is why everyone here reads Suzy, and why Suzy doesn’t get invited to the White House. Suzy has her opinion, she has her righteousness, she has her dignity, and damnit, she’s right.

    Obama is a bullshit artist in the service of special interests.

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