Feeds:
Inlägg
Kommentarer

Posts Tagged ‘Joshua Green’

VAL 2016 | Vem har det tuffaste jobbet i amerikansk politik? Inte helt osannolikt Reince Priebus. Han är nämligen ordförande i Republican National Committee.

Bloomberg Businessweek

Det är han som har till uppgift att se till att partiets insatser under presidentvalet ligger i fas med partiets presidentkandidat.

Med tanke på att RNC är det republikanska partiets etablissemang kommer Priebus att få en delikat uppgift att hantera när Donald Trump väl blir republikanernas presidentkandidat.

En anledning till att Trump blivit populär bland gräsrötterna är att han aldrig tvekat att peka på det egna partiets fel och brister. Både när det gäller politiken och politikernas tendens att skärma sig från sina väljares verklighet.

I Joshua Greens artikel om Priebus i Bloomberg Businessweek säger t.ex. mångmiljonären Trump att han vill göra om partiet till ett arbetarparti. Bland topparna vill man hellre se partiet som företagarnas parti.

Detta är bara ett av många exempel på hur Trumps politiska idéer ligger långt ifrån vad partietablissemanget vill höra från sin presidentkandidat.

Ett pågående inbördeskrig mellan Trump och partitopparna är knappast den mest optimal utgångspunkten inför en valrörelse. Inte konstigt att Hillary Clinton och demokraterna gnuggar händerna.

Priebus’s mission at the RNC has been to manufacture some luck: to rebuild a party that lost the popular vote in five of the last six presidential elections and lost power completely with Barack Obama’s 2008 victory. While Republicans traded recriminations after Mitt Romney’s loss in 2012, Priebus announced that the RNC would conduct a rigorous postmortem of all that had gone wrong and figure out how to refashion the party for the 21st century. “It wasn’t the RNC’s fault that things didn’t work out in 2012,” says Sally Bradshaw, a senior Jeb Bush adviser and a co-author of the resulting report. “But Priebus was willing to say, ‘There’s no other entity that can do this, that can take this on.’ ” The key to revival, the authors concluded, was to put a kinder, gentler gloss on the old stalwart Republican ideals (free trade, small government) while reforming immigration laws to entice nonwhite voters who were tuning the party out.

This was a comforting notion, but it hasn’t panned out. “The Jeb Bush guys wrote the autopsy,” says a frustrated Republican strategist who works with the RNC. “Then Jeb Bush ran the worst campaign in presidential history.” By obliterating Jeb, Trump redefined the Republican Party’s identity off the top of his head. And his vision of the GOP’s future is in many ways the diametrical opposite of what Priebus and the party Establishment had imagined. Many politicians, Trump told me, had privately confessed to being amazed that his policies, and his lacerating criticism of party leaders, had proved such potent electoral medicine. Trump says this was obvious, but craven Republicans wouldn’t acknowledge it. So he called bulls—. “It’s funny,” he told me, delighted by the swift triumph of his influence. “It’s like the paper clip: a very simple thing. But one guy got rich, and everyone else said, ‘Why didn’t I think of that?’ ”

[…]

Priebus won added plaudits from the donor class for the autopsy, which was officially titled the Growth & Opportunity Project and released in March 2013. While lauding the GOP’s strength in Congress and statehouses, it warned that the angry, strident tone many Republicans directed toward Hispanics and other minorities threatened the party’s viability: “If Hispanic Americans perceive that a GOP nominee or candidate does not want them in the United States (i.e., self-deportation), they will not pay attention to our next sentence.” The report continued: “We must embrace and champion comprehensive immigration reform. If we do not, our Party’s appeal will continue to shrink to its core constituencies only.”

[…]

While the report was unblinking about the need to win more support from women, minorities, and young people, it betrayed no hint that Republican policies beyond immigration reform might need adjusting to attract them.

[…]

In bypassing a major course correction, the party fell into an old pattern that typically follows presidential losses. “Defeated parties almost always behave according to the dictates of their own party cultures rather than engage in a more objective analysis of how they should respond,” says Philip Klinkner, a Hamilton College political scientist and expert on party committees.

[…]

More often, parties avoid true introspection. “Republicans in particular,” says Klinkner, “focus on organizational and managerial changes and don’t talk about politics.”

Why not? Well, for one thing, politics is divisive. “Nobody wants to talk content, because that’s hard and you get yelled at on the radio by Rush Limbaugh,” says Mike Murphy, the veteran Republican strategist who ran Jeb Bush’s super PAC, Right to Rise. “So instead they talk process: ‘The RNC is building a new, lithium-cooled supercomputer in the basement, and we’re going to have better microtargeting and organize everybody in America on their cell phone with go-get-’em apps.’ ”

Even so, conservatives railed against the Growth & Opportunity Project, pointing out its major policy recommendation—immigration reform—was something the GOP Establishment has sought for years, over intense grass-roots opposition.

[…]

But then came Trump, a walking exaggeration of every negative attribute the autopsy had warned against. Priebus won the Establishment’s heart—but it turned out voters loved Trump. As chairman, Priebus had a choice: resign or get behind the nominee. He chose the latter, even though it entailed addressing every outrageous comment from Trump.

[…]

“If I didn’t come along, the Republican Party had zero chance of winning the presidency,” Trump told me, sitting beside a scale model Trump airplane in his Trump Tower office.

He was explaining his own Growth & Opportunity plan. Its primary component is, of course, Trump. But there’s more to it. Just as he showed an instinct for devastating personal invective (“Lyin’ Ted”), he also seemed to intuit that standard Republican dogma no longer appeals to large swaths of the party electorate. Although it was overshadowed by his feuds and insults, he conveyed and defended a clear set of ideas that drew record numbers of Republican primary voters, even though—or more likely because—they often cut against right-wing orthodoxy: protect Social Security benefits, defend Planned Parenthood, restrict free trade, avoid foolish Middle East wars, deport 11 million undocumented immigrants, build a wall. Trump believes the scale of his victory proves the strength of his proposals. “All these millions and millions of people,” he marveled, echoing Bernie Sanders. “It’s a movement.”

[…]

I asked Trump what he thought the GOP would look like in five years. “Love the question,” he replied. “Five, 10 years from now—different party. You’re going to have a worker’s party. A party of people that haven’t had a real wage increase in 18 years, that are angry. What I want to do, I think cutting Social Security is a big mistake for the Republican Party. And I know it’s a big part of the budget. Cutting it the wrong way is a big mistake, and even cutting it [at all].” He explained the genesis of his heterodox views. “I’m not sure I got there through deep analysis,” he said. “My views are what everybody else’s views are. When I give speeches, sometimes I’ll sign autographs and I’ll get to talk to people and learn a lot about the party.” He says he learned that voters were disgusted with Republican leaders and channeled their outrage.

[…]

The question everyone wonders is, what effect will this have on the party? If Trump wins, he’ll have even less incentive to toe the party line. If he loses, conservatives will spin it as a decisive verdict on all that he says and stands for. They’ll cast his nomination as an embarrassing dalliance by Republican voters who, chastened, will return to the fold. Everything will be as it was before.

But presidential elections always produce new ideas. Trump will change the Republican Party, win or lose. He chose to define himself against conservative legacy, and voters responded. Other politicians will see his success and mimic him. As he says, it’s simple—like a paper clip.

Tidskriftsomslag: Bloomberg Businessweek, 30 maj-6 juni 2016.

Read Full Post »

USA | Steve Bannon på Breitbart News har kallats USA:s ”most dangerous political operativ” och ”the vast right-wing conspirator”.

Bloomberg Businessweek

Och visst är det en spännande historia som Joshua Green berättar i Bloomberg Businessweek. Politisk påverkan? Visst. Men knappast konspiratoriskt. Snarare tvärt om.

Vad hans anställda ägnar sig åt är i princip vad alla journalister, politiska strateger och PR-konsulter alltid gör – försöker placera faktabaserade storys i lämpliga medier.

Hela hans idé går ut på att göra ett grundligt journalistiskt arbete som är grundat på fakta snarare än rykten och spekulationer.

Detta gör det möjligt även för media som traditionellt lutar mer åt vänster i den politiska rapporteringen, t.ex. The New York Times, att hänga på och driva storyn vidare. På så sätt når storyn även en publik som annars inte skulle ha varit mottaglig för informationen.

Det mest märkvärdiga med detta är varför ingen tidigare på högerkanten tänkt på det.

Det som möjligtvis skiljer Bannon från många andra är att han gör det utifrån ett politiskt perspektiv som primärt gynnar republikanerna. Men inte alltid.

Bannon har inte bara försökt påverka samhällsdebatten genom att fokusera på ena sidans politiker (Hillary Clinton m.fl.) utan också gett sig på republikaner (t.ex. Jeb Bush, John Boehner) som han finner mindre tilltalande.

Green skrev bl.a. följande i sin artikel om Bannon:

Bannon is the executive chairman of Breitbart News, the crusading right-wing populist website that’s a lineal descendant of the Drudge Report (its late founder, Andrew Breitbart, spent years apprenticing with Matt Drudge) and a haven for people who think Fox News is too polite and restrained.

[…]

As befits someone with his peripatetic background, Bannon is a kind of Jekyll-and-Hyde figure in the complicated ecosystem of the right—he’s two things at once. And he’s devised a method to influence politics that marries the old-style attack journalism of Breitbart.com, which helped drive out Boehner, with a more sophisticated approach, conducted through the nonprofit Government Accountability Institute, that builds rigorous, fact-based indictments against major politicians, then partners with mainstream media outlets conservatives typically despise to disseminate those findings to the broadest audience. The biggest product of this system is the project Bannon was so excited about at CPAC: the bestselling investigative book, written by GAI’s president, Peter Schweizer, Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich.

[…]

While attacking the favored candidates in both parties at once may seem odd, Bannon says he’s motivated by the same populist disgust with Washington that’s animating candidates from Trump to Bernie Sanders. Like both, Bannon is having a bigger influence than anyone could have reasonably expected. But in the Year of the Outsider, it’s perhaps fitting that a figure like Bannon, whom nobody saw coming, would roil the national political debate.

[…]

For Bannon, the Clinton Cash uproar validated a personal theory, informed by his Goldman Sachs experience, about how conservatives can influence the media and why they failed the last time a Clinton was running for the White House. “In the 1990s,” he told me, “conservative media couldn’t take down [Bill] Clinton because most of what they produced was punditry and opinion, and they always oversold the conclusion: ‘It’s clearly impeachable!’ So they wound up talking to themselves in an echo chamber.” What news conservatives did produce, such as David Brock’s Troopergate investigation on Paula Jones in the American Spectator, was often tainted in the eyes of mainstream editors by its explicit partisan association.

In response, Bannon developed two related insights. “One of the things Goldman teaches you is, don’t be the first guy through the door because you’re going to get all the arrows. If it’s junk bonds, let Michael Milken lead the way,” he says. “Goldman would never lead in any product. Find a business partner.” His other insight was that the reporters staffing the investigative units of major newspapers aren’t the liberal ideologues of conservative fever dreams but kindred souls who could be recruited into his larger enterprise. “What you realize hanging out with investigative reporters is that, while they may be personally liberal, they don’t let that get in the way of a good story,” he says. “And if you bring them a real story built on facts, they’re f—ing badasses, and they’re fair.” Recently, I met with Brock, who renounced conservatism and became an important liberal strategist, fundraiser, and Clinton ally. He founded the liberal watchdog group Media Matters for America and just published a book, Killing The Messenger: The Right-Wing Plot to Derail Hillary and Hijack Your Government. Brock’s attitude toward Bannon isn’t enmity toward an ideological opponent, as I’d expected, but rather a curiosity and professional respect for the tradecraft Bannon demonstrated in advancing the Clinton Cash narrative. What conservatives learned in the ’90s, Brock says, is that “your operation isn’t going to succeed if you don’t cross the barrier into the mainstream.” Back then, he says, conservative reporting had to undergo an elaborate laundering to influence U.S. politics. Reporters such as Brock would publish in small magazines and websites, then try to get their story planted in the British tabloids and hope a right-leaning U.S. outlet such as the New York Post or the Drudge Report picked it up. If it generated enough heat, it might break through to a mainstream paper.

“It seems to me,” says Brock of Bannon and his team, “what they were able to do in this deal with the Times is the same strategy, but more sophisticated and potentially more effective and damaging because of the reputation of the Times. If you were trying to create doubt and qualms about [Hillary Clinton] among progressives, the Times is the place to do it.” He pauses. “Looking at it from their point of view, the Times is the perfect host body for the virus.”

Tidskriftsomslag: Bloomberg Businessweek, 12-18 oktober 2015.

Read Full Post »

Howard Wolfson

When the house is on fire, it’s better to have a psychotic fireman than no fireman at all. 

                                                                      – Howard Wolfson

Wolfson var Communications Director i Hillary Clintons kaotiska kampanjteam 2008. Citatet från Joshua Greens ”The Front-Runner’s Fall”, The Atlantic.                                

Read Full Post »

USA | Barack Obama kommer antagligen att gå till historien som en av de minst teatrala presidenterna i modern tid.

Bloomberg Businessweek 27 oktober-2 november 2014

Många har påpekat att hans lågstämda och intellektuella framtoning inte alltid är till hans fördel när krisen står inför dörren.

Medborgarna förväntar sig känslomässigt engagemang och inte bara kallt redovisade av fakta och åtgärder. Kontrasten mellan hans två briljanta presidentvalskampanjer och tiden i Vita huset är tydlig.

Det är bra märkligt att en person som genomförde två nästan perfekta valkampanjer har haft så svårt att skapa kontakt med medborgarna när han väl befinner sig i Vita huset.

En anledning till detta är naturligtvis att han har haft utmärkta kommunikations- och valstrateger som lyckats ta honom till valseger.  Ingen presidentkandidat kan fixa en valrörelse alldeles själv.

Läser man böcker om hans två valkampanjer framgår det dessutom att Obama trots allt också var en av de som många gånger såg till att lugna ner känslorna i stridens hetta.

Den andra anledningen till kontrasten mellan valrörelserna och Obama som president är att det alltid är en stor skillnad mellan att kampanja och att styra.

Valrörelser har alltid en drag av underhållning och show över sig. Att vara president innebär ett ständigt beslutfattande som knappast är speciellt glamoröst.

Men oavsett vilket har Obamas stil påverkat Vita husets krishantering. Så frågan kvarstår om presidenten är alldeles för cool för sitt eget bästa?

Joshua Green skriver i Bloomberg Businessweek:

Administration veterans describe Obama’s crisis-management process as akin to a high-level graduate seminar. “He responds in a very rational way, trying to gather facts, rely on the best expert advice, and mobilize the necessary resources,” says David Axelrod, a former White House senior adviser.

[…]

By all accounts, Obama treats a crisis as an intellectual inquiry and develops his response through an intensely rational process. As former CIA Director Leon Panetta said recently in a TV interview, “He approaches things like a law professor in presenting the logic of his position.”

Six years in, it’s clear that Obama’s presidency is largely about adhering to intellectual rigor—regardless of the public’s emotional needs. The virtues of this approach are often obscured in a crisis, because Obama disdains the performative aspects of his job. “There’s no doubt that there’s a theatrical nature to the presidency that he resists,” Axelrod says. “Sometimes he can be negligent in the symbolism.”

[…]

It’s hard not to suspect that Obama’s lack of executive experience before becoming president is one reason why he often struggles to strike the right tone. In this way, he’s the opposite of the man who preceded him. “I still remember where I was when Bush took the bullhorn at Ground Zero,” Axelrod says. He was recalling one of the great moments of presidential theater, when George W. Bush climbed atop the rubble of the World Trade Center after the Sept. 11 attacks. “I can hear you,” Bush shouted to the cheering rescue workers. “The rest of the world hears you. And the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon.” In a stroke, Bush galvanized the nation.

[…]

But his record, even on issues where he’s drawn heavy criticism, is often much better than the initial impression would lead one to believe. He may tackle crises in a way that ignores the public mood, yet things generally turn out pretty well in the end. He and his economic team, though deeply unpopular, halted the financial panic and brought about a recovery that’s added jobs for 55 consecutive months. His signature health-care law addressed a slower-moving crisis; while similarly unpopular, it has delivered health insurance to more than 10 million people. Even Deepwater Horizon was nothing like the environmental cataclysm it threatened to become. “It really became a parable of how government can mobilize to solve a big problem,” Axelrod says. And he adds, “Bush didn’t get bin Laden—Obama did.”

[…]

All in all, it’s a fascinating case study in the interplay of modern media and politics, the sort of thing that would make for a good graduate seminar. “As Obama used to say all the time,” Axelrod says, “ ‘This shit would be really interesting if we weren’t right in the middle of it.’ ”

Tidskriftsomslag: Bloomberg Businessweek, 17 oktober-2 november 2014.

Read Full Post »

VALEXTRA | Inte oväntat är nyhetsmagasinen fyllda av eftervalsanalyser. Här är några om varför Barack Obama vann och vad som nu väntar.

For Obama, Survival Is the New Winning” av David von Drehle

(Time, 19 november 2012)

A subtle message about things to come may have been planted in the victory speech. The re-elected President, having proved that he can win by brawling and not just by floating on gossamer dreams, announced a new era of mature discipline — starting at home. Four years ago, Barack Obama delivered hope and change to his daughters in the lovable form of a brand-new puppy. This time around, all they got was a pat on the head. “Sasha and Malia,” he said before an adoring — and relieved — crowd in Chicago, “I’m so proud of you guys. But I will say that for now, one dog’s probably enough.”

Fortunate One av Daniel Klaidman

(Newsweek/The Daily Beast, 19 november 2012)

As Republicans lick their wounds in the wake of their electoral drubbing, they may be tempted to blame their woes on Obama’s luck. But that would be self-defeating. They’d be better off finding solace in the fact this is the last time they’ll have to run against Barack Obama, a man who is so skilled at both creating and seizing on good fortune. “Obama is a preparation freak,” says one member of his cabinet, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “He makes his own luck.”

The Next Four Years: Obama’s Holding the Cards” av Joshua Green

(Bloomberg Businessweek, 12-18 november 2012)

At first glance, the results of the 2012 election look like a return to the status quo: President Obama was reelected, Democrats retained the Senate, and Republicans held on to the House. But don’t be fooled. The political dynamic of the next four years will be almost exactly the opposite of the last four. […] In Obama’s second term, leverage will shift to the Democrats on almost every issue of importance. And that shift has already begun.

Ledare: “Now, hug a Republican

(The Economist, 10-16 november 2012)

This newspaper endorsed Mr Obama and is glad he won, but he was lucky: lucky for the second time to have faced a less fluent opponent weighed down by his party’s trunkful of baggage; lucky that the American economy perked up, a little, just when he needed it to; maybe lucky even that Hurricane Sandy appeared when it did. Mr Obama fought an appallingly negative campaign and scraped a victory in both the swing states and the popular vote (which he won by only 2.4%, the lowest ever for a successfully re-elected president). The Democrats’ gains in the Senate stemmed largely from the Republicans choosing candidates of such tragicomic extremism that they might have been characters from a Tom Wolfe novel. And, above all, in the House the Republicans preserved their majority, feel vindicated and are spoiling for a fight.

Bild: Tidskriftsomslagen är Time och Newsweek den 19 november, Bloomberg Businessweek den 12-18 november och The Economist den 10-16 november. (Bloomberg Bussinesweek hade ett omslag med en åldrad Mitt Romney redo ifall han vunnit.)

Read Full Post »

STRATEGI | Jim Messina, Obamas campaign manager, har ett nätverk av företagsledare som inspirerat honom inför årets omvalskampanj.

“Raise money, register voters, and persuade voters,” säger Messina. “Everything has to feed into those three things.”

Joshua Green, i Bloomberg Businessweek, skriver:

The day after Jim Messina quit his job as White House deputy chief of staff last January, he caught a plane to Los Angeles, paid a brief visit to his girlfriend, and then commenced what may be the highest-wattage crash course in executive management ever undertaken. He was about to begin a new job as Barack Obama’s campaign manager, and being a diligent student with access to some very smart people, he arranged a rolling series of personal seminars with the CEOs and senior executives of companies […] “I went around the country for literally a month of my life interviewing these companies and just talking about organizational growth, emerging technologies, marketing,” he says at Obama’s campaign headquarters in Chicago.

[…]

In two long, private conversations, Steve Jobs tore into Messina for all the White House was doing wrong and what it ought to be doing differently, before going on to explain how the campaign could exploit technology in ways that hadn’t been possible before. “Last time you were programming to only a couple of channels,” Jobs told him, meaning the Web and e-mail. “This time, you have to program content to a much wider variety of channels—Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, YouTube (GOOG), Google—because people are segmented in a very different way than they were four years ago.” When Obama declared for president, the iPhone hadn’t been released. Now, Jobs told him, mobile technology had to be central to the campaign’s effort. “He knew exactly where everything was going,” Messina says. “He explained viral content and how our stuff could break out, how it had to be interesting and clean.”

At DreamWorks Studios, Steven Spielberg spent three hours explaining how to capture an audience’s attention and offered a number of ideas that will be rolled out before Election Day. An early example of Spielberg’s influence is RomneyEconomics.com, a website designed by the Obama team to tell the story—a horror story, by their reckoning—of Mitt Romney’s career at Bain Capital. Afterward, Spielberg insisted that Messina sit down with the DreamWorks marketing team. Hollywood movie studios are expert, as presidential campaigns also must be, at spending huge sums over a few weeks to reach and motivate millions of Americans.

[…]

Messina is convinced that modern presidential campaigns are more like fast-growing tech companies than anything found in a history book and his own job like that of the executives who run them. “What they’ve done is more readily applicable to me, because they all started very small and got big very quickly,” he says.

Tidskriftsomslaget: Bloomberg Businessweek, 18 juni-24 juni 2012.

Read Full Post »

EKONOMI | När vi nu närmar oss valet i USA kommer alltfler utvärderingar av Barack Obamas första tid i Vita huset.

“To win reelection, Barack Obama can’t just persuade voters the economy is improving. He has to make them believe he’s the reason why”, skriver Joshua Green och Peter Coy i en längre analys i Bloomberg Businessweek.

He can make a strong case that he’s gotten some big things right. His administration halted the worst downturn since the Great Depression and rescued the financial sector with a plan that drew on private, rather than public, funds to recapitalize ailing banks. Despite the best efforts of an intractable Congress, he kept the government from shutting down or defaulting on its debt, which bought the economy time to heal.

But Obama and his advisers also failed to recognize the shape and scope of the crisis and hesitated to push for new jobs programs once they did.

[…]

Unlike Ronald Reagan or George W. Bush, Obama isn’t identified with a clear economic philosophy. During his presidency, he’s advocated spending more money to create jobs, cutting the deficit, and investing for the long term—sometimes all at once. “President Obama’s economic approach is deeply pragmatic,” says his former adviser, Lawrence Summers. Others are less generous. “I can’t infer a theory,” says Glenn Hubbard, Columbia Business School dean and former economic adviser to Bush. “I’ve watched the president for a long time, and he’s very smart, but he doesn’t have a policy rudder,” says Douglas Holtz-Eakin, who ran the Congressional Budget Office in the Bush years and advised Senator John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign.

[…]

Did his actions hasten the recovery, or prolong the slump? His aides argue that things could have been worse; but could they have been appreciably better? And what exactly guides Obama’s decisions?

[…]

Obama often points out that he’s had to contend with the gravest financial crisis of any president since Franklin Roosevelt. One difference, though, is that Roosevelt consistently took up sweeping new policies if he thought they could help, even risky or unproven ones.

[…]

Obama’s major economic policy decisions were guided by a much different spirit, a cautious, results-oriented pragmatism that is the heart of Obamanomics. Like John Maynard Keynes, Obama believes government can and should act to alleviate downturns with higher spending and tax cuts. But he’s disinclined to challenge political constraints, settling for what he’s able to get.

[…]

His caution is a striking contrast to candidate Obama, who seemed to embody radical change. As president, he’s steered an imperfect course that has nonetheless brought the U.S. to a position of economic stability and modest growth.

[…]

The choices Obama made helped bring about this result, even though he had help from the Fed, and even though they don’t quite explain the recent strength of the recovery. But the business cycle operates by a logic all its own. It cursed Herbert Hoover and blessed Ronald Reagan. Obama’s good fortune is that this sudden upturn is occurring just when he needs it most.

Bild: Texten och tidskriftsomslaget ovan är från Bloomberg Businessweek den 26 mars-1 april 2012.

Read Full Post »