Memo to White House: Yes, you won in 2008 against great odds. It’s 2011. New mindset, please.

The Washington Post has clued into the fact that many Democrats are not happy with the President. Karen Tumulty and Peter Wallstein talked to a number of the usual DC insiders about the problem. And, you can tell the situation is dire because a number of them were willing to go on the record. Most criticism of the White House has been done via anonymous sources and on background (except for us — we’re never shy about offering our critique).

The reporters also talked to people at the White House. And, there’s one line in the article that is particularly jarring:

If there is a hallmark of Obama’s campaign and governing style, however, it is an aversion to second-guessing, making it unlikely that the White House will respond to the unrest with any major overhaul. His aides note that his unconventional 2008 presidential campaign also faced plenty of naysaying but ultimately proved successful.

I heard that line myself back in 2009. And back then, it made sense. Not anymore. But, it’s still being used by senior aides to Obama. They really need to get past that talking point. Way past it. That line should never be uttered in public again — even off-the-record. Even on background.

Yes, Obama won in 2008. We all know the story. We lived it, too. And, many of us also worked very hard to make sure it happened. But, this is isn’t the summer of 2007 when no one knew him. It’s 2011. He’s the President and his approval rating is hovering around 40%. Unemployment is at 9.1%. And, the stock market is tanking.

I think we’re supposed to be assuaged by this development:

The White House is showing a willingness to take outside advice, something aides concede did not happen enough before the midterm elections. Obama’s campaign flew a number of Democratic political consultants to Chicago on Monday for a day-long roundtable session with campaign manager Jim Messina and political strategist David Axelrod.

Again, not so much. Messina and Axelrod helped craft the strategy that got us all into this mess.

Something has to change at the White House — and soon. Ending the reliance on the “But we won in 2008 when no one thought we could” line would be a good place to start.


On October 27, 2010, Joe was one of five bloggers who interviewed President Obama. Joe is a DC-based political consultant with over twenty-five years of experience at both the state and federal level. Joe has managed political operations and legislative efforts for both candidates and issues-based organizations. For seven years, he was the Director of State Legislation at Handgun Control, Inc. He served as that organization's first Political Director during the 2000 cycle. Joe is a graduate of the University of Maine School of Law. In addition, he has a Masters in Public Administration from Lehigh University and received his B.A. from the University of New Hampshire. Joe also has a fun dog, Petey, a worthy successor to Boomer, who got Joe through eight years of Bush and Cheney. Joe likes to think he is a world class athlete having finished the 2005 Chicago Marathon in the time of 4:10. He has completed six other marathons as well -- and is still determined to break the four hour mark.

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