Posts Tagged ‘Michael Tomasky’

KAMPANJ | Michael Tomasky, special correspondentThe Daily Beast, har läst sex (troliga) republikanska presidentkandidaters böcker.

The New York Review of Books - March 19 2015

Dessa böcker skrivs ofta i ett försök att visa att politikern har tänkt till kring de stora frågorna USA står inför.

De vill visa att politikerna har ett intellektuellt djup och inte bara är en samling one-liners och talking points.

Men i realiteten läses de mest av policy wonks och journalister som bevakar presidentkandidaternas valkampanjer.

Mer intressant är själva böckerna – eller åtminstone Tomaskys recensioner av dessa – är den ”issues palette” som recensenten anser att alla valkampanjer kretsar kring.

Dessa frågor kan variera från val till val men gynnar alltid en presidentkandidat på bekostnad av en annan.

Och den sida som lycka identifiera och sätta agendan med en sådan ”frågepalett” kommer också sätta agendan och dominera debatten.

Tomasky förespår t.ex. att stagnerade lönerna för både arbetare och medelklassen kommer att bli en av de frågor som nästa presidentvalskampanj kommer att kretsa kring. Och detta borde gynna demokraterna på bekostnad av republikanerna.

I sin recension i The New York Review of Books skriver Tomasky:

In any given presidential campaign, there exists what we might call an “issues palette”—an underlying set of public concerns that seems likely to end up being what the race is fundamentally about. To take three obvious examples: the 1932 election was about the Depression; the 1980 campaign focused on stagflation, the Iranian hostage crisis, and the larger questions of statist failure; the 2008 campaign, from September 15 onward, hinged on the economic meltdown and its dangers.

The important point about these issues palettes is that they always tend to favor one party or the other, for the obvious historical reason that our two parties are associated in the public mind with particular sets of issues, and each is seen by most voters as good at certain things and bad at other things. If terrorism or deficit reduction is the top electoral preoccupation, the tilt will be toward the Republicans. If an election ends up turning on protecting Social Security and Medicare, that should favor the Democrats. (The condition of the economy underlies everything else, and the incumbent party is typically rewarded or punished based on its strength or weakness.)

So here we are, in the protean stages of the 2016 campaign, and already it seems that we can say, with all the requisite qualifiers, that the issues palette should be reasonably favorable to the Democrats. As matters are shaping up so far, the sense of many people I speak to is that the election appears destined to be about the condition of the middle class, the issue of wage stagnation, and the recognition (finally) that the American economy has been working far better for those at the top than for those in the middle or, obviously, on the bottom.


All this has been known for a long time, and groups like the liberal Economic Policy Institute have produced dozens of papers documenting the problem. But middle-class wage stagnation, and the inequality that has resulted as compensation at the top has surged, has never been the central economic preoccupation of Washington. It is becoming so now.

This is happening for a number of reasons, some of which have percolated up by design, others by accident. Certainly, President Obama has taken up the theme of middle-class incomes with considerable energy. Various Democratic-minded think tanks in Washington push the notion as well. The Center for American Progress, arguably the most influential of these groups, released in January a major report on “Inclusive Prosperity” that recommended a range of policies—increased profit sharing, greater bargaining power for workers, vastly more infrastructure investment—to bring the have-nots closer to the haves. The real significance of this report was that the commission that drafted it was co-chaired by Larry Summers, whose endorsement of these ideas might make them more politically palatable to Hillary Clinton.

So there is some coordination here, but mainly, it’s just the way the cards are tumbling. However prematurely, Washington seems to have agreed, around the arrival of the New Year, that the recovery is on and that we have entered a new economic phase. A new phase brings a new set of questions, and the one being asked most insistently these days is: Yes, all the indicators are positive, except wages, where growth has remained sluggish. What are we going to do about that?

Bild: Framsidan av The New York Review of Books,

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VAL 2016 | Kommer hon eller kommer hon inte att kandidera? Ingen vet. Kanske inte ens hon själv. Åtminstone inte för tillfälligt.

Newsweek, 11 februari 2013

Men om den nu avgångne utrikesministern Hillary Clinton väljer att kandidera till presidentposten kommer hon att bli en av de tuffaste motståndarna för både demokratiska motkandidater och för den som väljs till republikanernas kandidat.

För närvarande är det svårt att se att någon annan – möjligtvis med undantag av vicepresident Joe Biden – som kan matcha hennes stjärnglans inom partiet och i landet för övrigt.

Det kan mycket väl vara så att många av partiets mest lovande och kunniga politikerna väljer att inte ställa upp om Clinton beslutar sig för att kandidera.

Varför ta chansen att bli massakrerad när man lika väl kan bida sin tid och hoppas på ett lättare startfällt några år längre fram?

Men Clinton, om hon vill och partiet väljer henne, har även andra fördelar.

Sannolikheten är stor att republikanerna ännu inte hunnit hämta sig från sina egna interna problem lagom till valet 2016.

Dessutom skulle en kvinnlig presidentkandidat kunna inspirera på samma sätt som Barack Obama gjorde 2008. USA:s första svarta president och nu chansen till den första kvinnliga? Snacka om att känna historiens vingslag.

Redan under Clintons första försök att bli sitt partis presidentkandidat omgavs hon av ett enormt gräsrotsstöd.

Dessa s.k. PUMA:s (Party Unity, My Ass) hade mycket väl kunna göra livet surt för Obama om inte Hillary uppmanat alla att ställa upp för Obama.

Michael Tomasky kallar henne för den mest inflytelserika kvinnan i USA:s historia.

That 2000 Senate campaign is when I started getting a firsthand look. She wasn’t a good candidate at first. She was, I was told, a bundle of nerves that first day, when she appeared with Sen. Pat Moynihan at his farm. Murdoch’s New York Post tried to kill her—the iconic cover with Clinton kissing Suha Arafat, and so much else. Clinton seemed downright afraid of Rudy Giuliani, New York City’s swashbuckling mayor; he would poke fun at her, mock her, tie her to every loopy left-wing cause in town, and she would never even mention his name.

But in upstate New York, away from the city’s bumptious glare, even when she was giving so-so speeches, I observed something else powerful going on. It was the look in women’s eyes, and especially in their daughters’ eyes, when they met her; waiting for hours, at a skating rink in Elmira I think it was, or a minor-league ballpark in Jamestown. How nervous they were, even overwhelmed, to meet her. How patient she was with every one of them, every last one of them, working those rope lines for hours and hours, posing for pictures, signing autographs—even obligingly signing some of those idiotic attack books, by Laura Ingraham and Peggy Noonan and so forth, if that’s what people shoved under her, always smiling, smiling.

“What I’ve found most unique about Hillary,” says Neera Tanden, head of the liberal think-tank the Center for American Progress and a longtime card-carrying Hillarylander, “is the almost weird connection people have to her. It’s been that way since 1992, right at the beginning.” This sounds like spin. But the other journalists following her around upstate and I saw it. It’s true.

That race—winning a landslide in a state she’d never really had a thing to do with—is absolutely key to understanding her success. Not only did the “weird connection” manifest itself intensely, but she also became a real politician over the course of that campaign. Her own person, in public terms.


The presidential race? Her one failure. The one time in her career she did a very un-Hillary thing: she didn’t prepare enough. Didn’t ask every conceivable question. You could somehow see it in that opening video she shot, sitting on the couch, saying, “I’m in it to win it.” It was a little arrogant. That’s exactly what she was not in 2000. If she tries again, she will certainly remember this.

Läs mer: ”Hillary Clinton in 2016: Be Afraid, Republicans” av Lloyd Green på The Daily Beast.

Bild: Tidskriftsomslaget är den nya papperstidningen Newsweek med datumet 11 februari 2013.

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KAMPANJ | Det var bara en tidsfråga innan Newsweek också skulle ge sig på Barack Obama med ett kontroversiellt reportage.

För ett par veckor sedan var det Michael Tomasky som skrev om Mittt Romney och The Wimp Factor”. Denna gång var det presidentens tur.

Obama’s Gotta Go” är professorn, och tidigare rådgivaren till John McCain, Niall Fergusons analys av de senaste fyra åren.

In an unguarded moment earlier this year, the president commented that the private sector of the economy was “doing fine.” Certainly, the stock market is well up (by 74 percent) relative to the close on Inauguration Day 2009. But the total number of private-sector jobs is still 4.3 million below the January 2008 peak. Meanwhile, since 2008, a staggering 3.6 million Americans have been added to Social Security’s disability insurance program. This is one of many ways unemployment is being concealed.


It is a sign of just how completely Barack Obama has “lost his narrative” since getting elected that the best case he has yet made for reelection is that Mitt Romney should not be president. In his notorious “you didn’t build that” speech, Obama listed what he considers the greatest achievements of big government: the Internet, the GI Bill, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Hoover Dam, the Apollo moon landing, and even (bizarrely) the creation of the middle class. Sadly, he couldn’t mention anything comparable that his administration has achieved.

Now Obama is going head-to-head with his nemesis: a politician who believes more in content than in form, more in reform than in rhetoric. In the past days much has been written about Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney’s choice of running mate. I know, like, and admire Paul Ryan. For me, the point about him is simple. He is one of only a handful of politicians in Washington who is truly sincere about addressing this country’s fiscal crisis.


But one thing is clear. Ryan psychs Obama out. This has been apparent ever since the White House went on the offensive against Ryan in the spring of last year. And the reason he psychs him out is that, unlike Obama, Ryan has a plan—as opposed to a narrative—for this country.

Till skillnad från Tomaskys reportage om Romney har Fergusons fått ett kritiskt mottagande p.g.a. sina påstådda sakfel.

Paul Krugman gick i taket och avböt sin semester för att kunna skriva svaret ”Unetthical Commentary”. Vilket naturligtvis genererade ett svar från Ferguson.

Och sedan har det bara rullat på i media. The Daily Beast har samlat en rad kommentarer från olika debattörer på sin hemsida.

 Bild: Tidskriftsomslaget är från den 27 augusti 2012.

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Barack Obama and Robert GibbsWASHINGTON: Är det någon som undrar hur president Barack Obama lyckats förbli så populär samtidigt som landets kris är så omfattande?

En förklaring ger Michael Wolff, krönikör på Vanity Fair, i sin granskning av hur Vita huset bearbetar media.

”The Obama presidency is striving to be the most open and available in modern history (…) But what it doesn’t want to be open about is the staging itself. [T]he Obama team doesn’t want to talk about the meticulous calibration of everything to do with retailing its image and message because it is all so meticulously calibrated.”

Mycket av detta handlar om god managementkultur. I Vita hustes finns fjorton personer som servar pressekreteraren Robert Gibbs. Ytterligare 47 (!) personer jobbar med andra aspekter av media, budskap och politisk kommunikation. Det är mer än vad många av de största amerikanska företagen har på sina informationsavdelningar.

En annan anledning till att administrationen har lyckats så bra är att traditionell media befinner sig i djup kris. Och med krisen följer dåligt självförtroende. Vita huset befinner sig i den avundsvärda situationen att kunna driva media framför sig.

Sen tillkommer att Vita huset kan kommunicera direkt med de miljoner människor som under valkampanjen gav olika typer av bidrag till Obamas valkampanj.

Even before formally taking possession of the White House and pressroom, the team began to talk about keeping Obama’s much vaunted peer-to-peer network of millions of small contributors in place, of making it a central outlet of its communications strategy. The implication seemed clear: newspapers and networks had a swiftly declining market, while the Obama administration had created an audience that it could reach through its own distribution prowess and that hung on its every word (…)

In fact, it almost seems as though the Obama people have abandoned that grail of all White Houses, to bypass the mainstream media and go directly to the people, to get the message out, pure and unfiltered—which, with their millions of e-mail addresses and Twitter followers, never seemed so possible as now.

Men istället för att helt ignorera traditionell media har Vita huset valt att behandla ”dinosaurierna” som om inget har förändrats.

Courting the dinosaurs, the Obama people feed the increasingly hungry new media the scraps—and manage, mostly, to have them thankful for them.

The Huffington Post has become an ideal back door for the most partisan stuff (…) It’s as obvious and as unfiltered. ”The Times, it appears, gets soft, thoughtful, and complicated stuff. HuffPo gets the mean and simplistic,” says Michael Tomasky, The Guardian’s Washington-based American editor-at-large.

In other words, the Obama people have purchase on both established media and partisan media. [T]he Obama people are running a message across numerous spectra of purpose and subtlety and payoff. Indeed, while the Times seems reserved for the more weighty exegesis, and the HuffPo for its attacks, Politico (…) has become the prime outlet for Obama White House gossip (…).

Michael Wolffs slutord är intressanta med tanke på bilden av hur media manipulerades under George W. Bush och att media då ansågs vara alltför obenägna att granska Bush-administrationen;

They have been handed a most remarkable historical moment—in which they get to remake the media in their own image. They have the power and they are the subject. These people in this White House are in greater control of the media than any administration before them.

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DEBATT: John McCain och Barack Obama har avverkat den första debatten i valrörelsen. Frågan är vilken betydelse dessa debatter har för valutgången.

Skall man tro de enorma tittarsiffrorna kan betydelsen knappast överdrivas. Å andra sidan finns det gott om exempel på att betydelsen än mindre än man kan tro.

Ett exempel på detta är debatterna mellan George W Bush och John Kerry. De flest bedömare ansåg att Kerry vann samtliga debatter. Detta hjälpte dock inte Kerry i slutändan.

Innan fredagens debatt på universitetet i Mississippi hade The Guardian  lagt ut en intressant film – ”The dos and don´ts of the presidential debates” – som diskuterar dessa presidentvalsdebatter. 

The Guardians Michael Tomasky – författare till boken Hillary´s Turn – intervjuar Howard Wolfson (Hillary Clintons communications director) och Walter Shapiro som är ”Washington bureau chief” för Salon.com. 

Det goda rådet till kombattanterna är den till synes enkla: ”Dont´t screw up”.

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