It's a vital article -- a brave one -- that interviews "dozens of interviews with his closest allies and friends in Washington".He's got a point. I have my own problem with Rahmbo, but Axelrod, Jarrett and Gibbs are part of the problem too, along with economic point man Larry Summers. All of them are pushing Obama to be the great Reagan style dealmaker with this GOP caucus that simply believes it can outwait him in order to destroy him. The rest of the universe knows the GOP will rather watch the country burn to the ground just so they can blame Obama.
Most are unnamed because the consequences of retribution from this powerful foursome can be severe in an access-dependent town. John Podesta, President of the powerful, adminstration-tilting Center for American Progress, had the temerity and self-confidence to put his thoughts publicly on the record. But most others could not.
Mark Schmitt, executive editor of the liberal magazine American Prospect, wrote that "Luce has written what seems to me the best and most succinct rundown of what's gone wrong in the White House, with particular attention to the role of Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel." But some of the big aggregators out there -- Mike Allen at Politico and ABC's The Note among others -- didn't give Luce's juicy and lengthy essay any love.
Why not? Allen is a good friend of mine and tries to keep a good balance between tough-hitting political stuff but also goes out of his way to give strokes to those in the White House he can -- particularly "Axe" -- who is a regular in Mike's daily Playbook. I try to do the same to be honest and have a particular thing for Bill Burton's wit and was pleased to see Rahm Emanuel giving David Geffen rather than Rick Warren lots of hugs during the Inauguration eve fests.
But this Luce piece is unavoidably, accurately hard-hitting, and while many of the nation's top news anchors and editors are sending emails back and forth (I have been sent three such emails in confidence) on what a spot-on piece Luce wrought on the administration, they fear that the "four horsepersons of the Obama White House" will shut down and cut off access to those who give the essay 'legs.'
But in the too regularly vapid chatter about DC's political scene, serious critiques of the internal game around Obama not only deserve review on their own merits but have to be read -- because Obama is not winning. He is failing and people need to consider "why".
Any serious survey of the Obama administration's accomplishments and setbacks over the last year has to conclude that the administration is deeply in the red.
If current trends continue, this once mesmerizing Camelot-ish operation will be be seen in the history books as the presidential administration that -- to distort slightly and inversely paraphrase Churchill -- never have so many talented people managed to achieve so little with so much.
Obama does appear to be taking some steps, like bringing in Paul Volcker and David Plouffe, but he's still keeping his Chicago crew around. That's a mistake. Going along to get along doesn't work when the other side is negotiating in 100% bad faith.
I dunno when Obama will figure this out.
[UPDATE 1:28 PM] Both BooMan's response to this and Digby's response to this are worth reading as well, but it's worth nothing that like myself, they both say Rahm's blown it and that he's part of the problem. Both however take umbrage with the solution that Obama needs different insiders. That's correct.
Obama needs to get out of the bubble and get past his own gatekeepers.