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Posts Tagged ‘Washington’

STRATEGI: Vad har Barack Obama lärt sig under sina två år i Vita huset? En lärdom är att allt inte går att förändra.

Det politiska klimatet i Washington – som Obama lovade reformera från grunden – ser ut att ha tvingat presidenten att ändra sitt sätt att jobba snarare än tvärt om.

Detta skriver Peter Baker i en längre essay i senaste The New York Times Magazine.  

While proud of his record, Obama has already begun thinking about what went wrong — and what he needs to do to change course for the next two years. He has spent what one aide called “a lot of time talking about Obama 2.0” […] During our hour together, Obama told me he had no regrets about the broad direction of his presidency. But he did identify what he called “tactical lessons.” He let himself look too much like “the same old tax-and-spend liberal Democrat.” He realized too late that “there’s no such thing as shovel-ready projects” when it comes to public works. Perhaps he should not have proposed tax breaks as part of his stimulus and instead “let the Republicans insist on the tax cuts” so it could be seen as a bipartisan compromise. 

Most of all, he has learned that, for all his anti-Washington rhetoric, he has to play by Washington rules if he wants to win in Washington. It is not enough to be supremely sure that he is right if no one else agrees with him. “Given how much stuff was coming at us,” Obama told me, “we probably spent much more time trying to get the policy right than trying to get the politics right. There is probably a perverse pride in my administration — and I take responsibility for this; this was blowing from the top — that we were going to do the right thing, even if short-term it was unpopular. And I think anybody who’s occupied this office has to remember that success is determined by an intersection in policy and politics and that you can’t be neglecting of marketing and P.R. and public opinion.” 

That presumes that what he did was the right thing, a matter of considerable debate. The left thinks he did too little; the right too much. But what is striking about Obama’s self-diagnosis is that by his own rendering, the figure of inspiration from 2008 neglected the inspiration after his election. He didn’t stay connected to the people who put him in office in the first place. Instead, he simultaneously disappointed those who considered him the embodiment of a new progressive movement and those who expected him to reach across the aisle to usher in a postpartisan age. On the campaign trail lately, Obama has been confronted by disillusionment […]

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POLITIK: Vem är Washingtons mest tongivande journalist? Enligt reportern Mark Leibovich på The New York Times är svaret Mike Allen.

”Before he goes to sleep, between 11 and midnight, Dan Pfeiffer, the White House communications director, typically checks in by e-mail with the same reporter: Mike Allen of Politico, who is also the first reporter Pfeiffer corresponds with after he wakes up at 4:20.”

Allens nyhetsbrev PlaybookPolitico verkar läsas av alla i maktens korridorer i Washington, inklusive i Vita huset.

Allen’s e-mail tipsheet, Playbook, has become the principal early-morning document for an elite set of political and news-media thrivers and strivers. Playbook is an insider’s hodgepodge of predawn news, talking-point previews, scooplets, birthday greetings to people you’ve never heard of, random sightings (“spotted”) around town and inside jokes. (…)

Cable bookers, reporters and editors read Playbook obsessively, and it’s easy to pinpoint exactly how an item can spark copycat coverage that can drive a story. Items become segment pieces on “Morning Joe,” the MSNBC program, where there are 10 Politico Playbook segments each week, more than half of them featuring Allen. This incites other cable hits, many featuring Politico reporters, who collectively appear on television about 125 times a week. There are subsequent links to Politico stories on The Drudge Report, The Huffington Post and other Web aggregators that newspaper assigning editors and network news producers check regularly. “Washington narratives and impressions are no longer shaped by the grand pronouncements of big news organizations,” said Allen, a former reporter for three of them — The Washington Post, The New York Times and Time magazine. “The smartest people in politics give us the kindling, and we light the fire.” (…)

Nowhere is Washington’s ambivalence over Politico more evident than in the White House. The Obama and Politico enterprises have had parallel ascendancies to an extent: they fashioned themselves as tech-savvy upstarts bent on changing the established order — of politics (Obama) and of how it is covered (Politico). They started around the same time, early 2007, and their clashing agendas were apparent early. On the day that Politico published its first print edition, Barack Obama’s campaign manager, David Plouffe, walked into the campaign’s offices and slammed a copy of the new publication on Dan Pfeiffer’s keyboard. “This,” Plouffe declared, “is going to be a problem.”

Politico today remains a White House shorthand for everything the administration claims to dislike about Washington — Beltway myopia, politics as daily sport. Yet most of the president’s top aides are as steeped in this culture as anyone else — and work hard to manipulate it. “What’s notable about this administration is how ostentatiously its people proclaim to be uninterested in things they are plainly interested in,” [John F.] Harris, Politico’s editor in chief, told me in an e-mail message.

That Politico has been so vilified inside the White House is itself a sign of its entry into “the bloodstream” (another Politico phrase). It is, White House officials say, an indictment of the “Washington mentality” that the city is sustaining Politico and letting it “drive the conversation” to the extent it does. (…)

Allen sends out Playbook using Microsoft Outlook to a private mailing list of 3,000. A few minutes later, an automatic blast goes out to another 25,000 readers who signed up to receive it. An additional 3,000 or so enter Playbook from Politico.com, which adds up to a rough universe of 30,000 interested drivers, passengers and eavesdroppers to the conversation.

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INFLYTANDE: Vilka lobbyister kommer att få störst inflytande i Washington under president Barack Obamas tid i Vita huset?

Tidskriften BusinessWeek har gjort ett urval av de påtryckare som har stort inflytande i Washington och där det demokratiska partiet nu har makt och kontroll.

Speciellt intressanta att studera är Patton Boggs, LHD & Associates, Duberstein Group, The Podesta Group, Heather Podesta + Partners, Ogilvy och Breaux Lott Leadership Group.

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WASHINGTON: I USA brukar man kalla politikens Washington för ”Hollywood för the ugly”. Och för alla ”political junkies” med intresse av amerikansk politik är Politico platsen man går till för att få sitt ”fix”.

Michael Wolff, ”contributing editor” på Vanity Fair, har porträtterat männen bakom sajten som idag har cirka sex miljoner unika träffar varje månad. Den tryckta utgåvan med samma namn och med en cirkulation på 32000 står för cirka hälften av företagets inkomster idag.

[M]uch of the country may still find politics to be an execrable and mind-numbing proposition, but Politico has built a far-flung network of actual and armchair political professionals who find it not just exhilarating but habit-forming. They’re on the edge of their seats. Politics may not be the national sport again, but it’s a niche sport with the right audience. (…)

[T]his is a passionate conversation among quick and deeply knowledgeable folk. The habit and, perhaps, necessity of traditional news organizations to reduce and simplify and attenuate and, in the process, make news flaccid and often wrong have been superseded by these over-informed motormouths. It’s the raw stuff, before the family paper or knuckleheaded network news has watered it down.

It is perhaps useless to argue whether this is good or bad. Rather, the world is as it is. And Politico seems like a pretty credible version of what the world will be: obsessives everywhere in their particular narrow-focused areas of interest (“silos” is the modern information term), flashing ever more information, ever quicker, in ever shorter bites—the shorter you can make it, the more information there can be—to all the ships at sea.

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WASHINGTON: Vita huset har släppt den första officiella bilden av familjen Obamas hund Bo.

Tydligen är porträttet efterlängtat eftersom Vita huset även har släppt ett officiellt ”baseball card” med intressanta uppgifter om Bo. Favoriträtt är tydligen…tomater(!). Viktigaste uppgift framöver för First Dog Bo Obama? Svar: ”Meet with foreign dognitaries”.

Bo

Kuriosa: Ännu finns inget officiellt porträtt av familjens barn eller ens något officiellt porträtt på familjen Obama.

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