Revisionist History, Political Hacks and Reporting

<p>I just finished the <a href="" target="new">Mark Warner profile piece in the NYT Magazine</a>/</p>
<p>Mark seems like a good guy. Would probably make a good president and will be a decent candidate, he might be able to capture the nomination. But do the dems really want Mark Warner? He would be perhaps the most centrist democratic presidential candidate in history. Haven't we realized we can't beat the republicans by being the tru compassionate conservatives? That is not the point of this post though.</p>
<p>a few quotes that struck me in the article:<br />
<cite><br />
As Donna Brazile, the veteran organizer who ran Gore's campaign, says, in critical black districts, "Bill Clinton is beloved, and to the extent that these voters have a chance to cast their votes early in the process, it will be very difficult to stop her nomination." Little wonder, then, that when I asked Joe Trippi, the highly-caffeinated Internet genius who orchestrated Dean's insurgency, how Warner or one of the other candidates would go about taking the nomination from Clinton, he actually laughed at me…</cite></p>
<p><cite><br />
The question is, Who? "This sounds absolutely strange coming from me, because I never in life thought I would utter these words again," Brazile says, "but Al Gore." It's true that Gore has been a fiery critic of Bush in recent months, but former advisers who still talk to him say he seems genuinely uninterested.</cite></p>
<p>and<br />
<cite><br />
And yet, Warner, like most of his rivals, intends to make a play for Dean-style Democrats. One of Warner's first hires, even before he left office, was Jerome Armstrong, an architect of Dean's online strategy and the founder of the influential blog, which in 2003 and 2004 spawned many of the other well-trafficked liberal blogs.</cite></p>
<p>The reason that these three excerpts are note worthy is not so much for what these 3 people said, but the way they are introduced by Matt Bai. Brazile as the "veteran organizer" who "ran Gore's campaign" into the ground (I would add). Why is she being quoted at all? why is it not acknowledged that her "strategy" is partly responsible for 8 years of George Bush. Why do reporters still go to her for quotes? Why is she still in any position with the Democratic Party?</p>
<p>I don't have the same (or any contempt) for Armstrong or Trippi, but Armstrong is instroduced as "architect of Dean's online strategy" and Trippi as "Internet genius who orchestrated Dean's insurgency," so are they lying now or were thy lying then? Because I seem to remember lots of talk about the "netroots" groundswell, or maybe <i>netswell</i> (look i just coined a new word!) being largely unexpected, and organic back when it was happening, but now it had architects and orchestrators? and either way, the <i>strategy</i> for the <i>insurgency</i> didn't help it even reach Super Tuesday.</p>
<p>I understand the Trippi and Armstrong and their ilk revolutionized politics, and helped give credibility to e-campaigning, and I thank them for that, I really do, but it just galls me that reporters keep on going back to people who lost for their insite into future campaigns, and usually fail to remind folks of the outcome of the campaigns that these people worked on. I know we all know, but by not saying "Donna Brazile, manager of Al Gore's failed presidential bid" or "Joe Trippi, manager of Dean's meteoric and aborted presidential bid" it sort of gives them a pass on their responsibility for the failure of the campaigns on which they worked.</p>
<p>Someone should pull together a report card for political operatives, consultants and campaign managers.</p>
<p>They could be scored on things like:</p>
<li>Money spent on field campaign
</li><li>Money spent on direct mail
</li><li>Money spent on advertising (traditional)
</li><li>number of volunteers
</li><li>number of votes
</li><li>primary performance (for presidential candidated)
</li><li>Did they finish out the campaign (stick with the candidate through the end, get fired or quit)
<p>and you could look at the report card for each campaign that an operative or consultant worked on, and come up with a GPA for them.</p>
<p>Now back to the presidential for a moment: I hope some more candidates emerge… and i still like <a href="" target="new">John Edwards</a> who had a good quote in the article:<br />
<cite><br />
"Just being myself and standing up for what I believe, and not being coached and not being consulted, is what it's all about," Edwards told me. "I would be totally comfortable with myself as a candidate now. I don't need to spend time with advisers." He reached for an example. "What do I think about the killing in Darfur? We have to stop it. That's what I think."</cite></p>