Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Obama the Good Cop, Obama the Bad Cop

Americans United for Change and AFSCME will air a new ad on national cable TV Wednesday calling out GOP leaders for opposing Barack Obama's stimulus plan:

"Our economy in crisis. Millions out of work," says a voiceover on the ad. "That’s why 80 percent of Americans support a plan like President Obama’s to create jobs. But Republican leaders? They’re 'just saying no. No to changing the failed economic policies of the past 8 years. We’re in an economic crisis and Republican leaders are playing politics instead of doing what's right. Call the Republican Leadership – Tell them NO is not an option."

[The ad is at odds with the latest Rasmussen poll that finds only 37% of Americans actually favor the stimulus plan.]

The groups will also air a new radio spot targeting 21 House and Senate members. The spot, titled "Second Chance," reminds voters that the member mentioned voted against the Obama plan and that since that vote was taken, reports revealed that 600,000 jobs were lost in January.

The groups have aired 37 targeted radio or television spots, according to Brad Woodhouse, president of Americans United for Change. - Source - National Journal

Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post recently addressed a similar ad that was aired by Americans United for Change, saying as follows:
It remains to be seen whether Obama will allow these sorts of groups to grow and prosper as advocates for his agenda or whether he will use his own massive grassroots machine as the principal message driver of his legislative efforts...

...It's possible that Obama will [use his own grassroots organizations like] Organizing for America to play good cop (rallying people to support his agenda) while allowing outside groups like Americans United for Change... to play bad cop and hit GOP members for their opposition to his priorities.

Remember that much of Obama's strength as a politician is wrapped up in the idea that he is above politics -- a post-partisan prophet who is bringing much-needed change to Washington. Everything he has done to date... is aimed at reinforcing that message.

But, when the rubber hits the road (and it almost certainly will) on the passage of Obama's agenda who will be the partisan enforcer that every president needs? Can Obama do it himself or will these outside groups, who have been surprisingly active to date, be the ones who take on that responsibility?
But apparently, Chris Cillizza has forgotten what he reported back in June of 2008 - namely, that Barack Obama had installed Brad Woodhouse [president of Americans United for Change and the purveyor of these latest attack ads] as part of the DNC's communications staff to help coordinate the DNC's message with his own campaign message:
The takeover of the Democratic National Committee by Barack Obama's campaign continues apace with the hiring of communications operative Brad Woodhouse at the national party committee...

Woodhouse has a number of long-standing relationships with senior level staffers at the Obama campaign. Woodhouse did a stint in the consulting firm of Tewes and Steve Hildebrand, one of the lead strategists for the Illinois Senator, and has a relationship with Obama press operative Robert Gibbs that dates back to the late 1990s when the duo worked together in Rep. Bobby Etheridge's (D-N.C.) office...

Woodhouse's hiring is the latest sign that Obama's campaign is working to install operatives of their own choosing in key roles across the party to ensure that the brand the Illinois Senator has built during the primary season is preserved in the general election...
Thus, Mr. Woodhouse is clearly not an outsider, but rather an Obama operative and crony.

The airing of these latest attack ads [by Mr. Woodhouse's Americans United for Change] proves that Obama - contrary to Mr. Cillizza's assumption - is craftily playing both good cop and bad cop simultaneously!

How cunning, indeed!

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