This morning at Netroots Nation in Minneapolis White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer was openly and lustily booed at his Q&A session with bloggers and activists. Even Kalli Joy Gray (Angry Mouse) of the Great Orange Satan got in on it by demanding to know why the President lied about his position on gay marriage during the 2008 campaign.
Open hostility toward administration mouthpieces was not something I expected at this conference. Grumbling in private, sure, but I really didn’t expect this kind of hostility.
Gaps in support for the Democratic ticket were apparent last night when most of the speakers leading up to Russ Feingold’s keynote made mention of “angst” or lack of enthusiasm for the president. Howard Dean treated the angst at some length but concluded by saying that of course he was supporting the president (but that’s not the real fight, according to the doctor). Randi Weingarten of AFT also alluded to a lack of energy.
As I write this I am sitting on the floor, against a wall, at a panel run by Jeremy Bird, the energetic, skinny, fast talking and delusional Field Director that is running the Obama 2012 field operation. Just a few minutes ago someone openly asked him what reasons the campaign will be giving people to vote for them again.
The questioner specifically said that people do not see the president fighting, and asked what the campaign can possibly tell people. Bird challenged her premise, spouting platitudes like (and I’m paraphrasing here, but certain terms are original) “young people are excited and see the change in their lives“, “we need to listen to what our volunteers are saying”, “we need to talk about jobs and focus on the economy”. Bird even used the phrase “we need to keep honing our message” three times in the answer.
Another question was asked regarding the campaign’s fundraising. We’re all familiar with the president’s coterie of extraordinarily wealthy friends that tell him what to do. However, this questioner said he received an email from OFA saying that the fundraising strategy was based on “not taking money from fat cats” and he wanted to know why he is still reading about Obama taking money from fat cats and Wall Street in the newspaper.
Bird again gave an answer that doesn’t address the real issue. He repeats the “no PAC or lobbyist money” claptrap. He specifically calls out that the President didn’t have to refuse the PAC and lobbyist money, and mentions that the DNC is subject to the same self imposed rules. No real answer that squares the claims of the campaign to be eschewing money from fat cats while taking money from fat cats.
One questioner just asked “when did change we can believe in become hold the line?” Large swaths of self-identifying Obama supporters in this room are deeply skeptical it appears.
Pfeiffer’s disastrous session this morning (yeah, it was pretty fucking ugly) and Bird’s relentless focus on the nuts and bolts process of organizing without addressing the campaign’s biggest weaknesses or the philosophical questions of their own supporters spells trouble. The dam is starting to crack even among the president’s most ardent supporters.
Unless the president does something to make people’s lives better between now and fall of 2012 I have a tough time imagining what could mitigate the draining of support from his coalition.
*Assuming the President thinks that he even has friends here in the first place, or knows that the convention exists. After all, we’re just a bunch of fucking retarded DFH’s.