Newsweek has published the first chapter of “Barack Obama: How He Did It” which is a multi-part series explaining how an empty-suit got elected to the most powerful job in the world. The article is long and full of nuggets to mine and blog about. While I’m only covering part of Chapter 1 here, I recommend you read the entire thing.
The article begins with:
Barack Obama had a gift, and he knew it. He had a way of making very smart, very accomplished people feel virtuous just by wanting to help Barack Obama.
If that doesn’t describe what happened to the lefty blogosphere I don’t know what does. Many very smart, accomplished bloggers felt so virtuous about supporting Barack they thought that anything they did was justified; they believed they could do no wrong.
The article is filled with inconsistencies like this:
On the eve of his speech to the Democratic convention in 2004, the speech that effectively launched him as the party’s hope of the future, he took a walk down a street in Boston with his friend Marty Nesbitt. A growing crowd followed them. “Man, you’re like a rock star,” Nesbitt said to Obama. “He looked at me,” Nesbitt recalled in a story he liked to tell reporters, “and said, ‘Marty, you think it’s bad today, wait until tomorrow.’ And I said, ‘What do you mean?’ And he said, ‘My speech is pretty good’.”
If the speech was Obama’s first big moment in the national spotlight, why were crowds in Boston already following a state senator from Illinois (and little-known author of one memoir) who was still just a candidate for the U.S. Senate? Are the residents of Beantown extreme political junkies? Or are they Oprah fans?
Now pay careful attention to the dates in the next passages (empahsis mine):
In November 2006, Craig sat next to George Stevens, an old friend of the Robert Kennedy clan, at another Obama speech. Stevens leaned over to Craig and said, “What do you think of this guy for president? I haven’t heard anybody like this since Bobby Kennedy.” Craig instantly replied, “Sign me up.” Stevens and Craig approached Obama coming out of the speech and asked, “What are you doing in 2008?” Obama gave them a big grin and said, “Oh, man, it wasn’t that good.” But before long Craig and Stevens were raising money for Obama’s political-action committee, the Hope Fund. Obama was amused by the devotion of the two old Kennedy hands. After a while, every time he saw the two men he would say, “Here come the Kool-Aid boys.”
That December of 2006, Obama told Craig and Stevens, “Lay off me for a while. I’ve got to talk to Michelle.” Obama went off to Hawaii with his wife and two girls for the holidays. “I thought, ‘We’re dead’,” recalled Craig. “He’s not going to be able to do it.”
Obama was growing accustomed to adulation. Greg Craig was not the only old Kennedy hand to fall in love. At Coretta Scott King’s funeral in early 2006, Ethel Kennedy, the widow of Robert Kennedy, leaned over to him and whispered, “The torch is being passed to you.” “A chill went up my spine,” Obama told an aide.
Obama had laid out his vision for the campaign on the day after the midterm elections in 2006.
He had met in a small, dimly lit conference room in the office of Axelrod’s consulting firm in Chicago with his inner circle: Michelle, his friend Marty Nesbitt, Axelrod, Plouffe, Robert Gibbs (who would handle communications), Steve Hildebrand (Plouffe’s deputy), Alyssa Mastromonaco (director of the advance teams) and Pete Rouse, Tom Daschle’s former chief of staff and a Capitol Hill insider. Valerie Jarrett, a close Obama family friend who was closely connected with Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, joked about the decidedly unfancy setting.
When exactly did Barack Obama decide to run for President? One version has him mapping out strategy the day after the November 2006 midterms, but another has him still just thinking about it in December (he officially announced in March 2007.)
How long has Obama had the support of the Kennedy clan? Ted Kennedy, Caroline Kennedy and Maria Shriver all publically endorsed Obama just before Super Tuesday in February 2008, and there were rumors at that time that Teddy was motivated by anger over the statements Hillary made about MLK and LBJ because he felt she denigrated his late older brother. But the widow of Teddy’s other slain brother seems to have given the official family endorsement to Obama two years earlier. (BTW – Please note that the first reference linking Obama supporters to Kool-aid was made by the Fresh Prince of Bill Ayers himself in November 2006.)
Now there is a mother lode of interesting information in the article, but I think this is the money quote:
Curiously, though Obama drove his rivals mad by receiving reams of mostly friendly publicity, he was not well liked by reporters, many of whom found him chilly and guarded. He was more popular with editors, who regarded him as a phenomenon.
I’ve said before that the media is controlled by the people that pay their salaries. That passage confirms that it was not the reporters that drove the coverage of Teh Precious. Now all I need is proof that the editors were given marching orders from above as well.
(This is the first in a series of posts analyzing the Newsweek article)