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I remember many years ago reading a very interesting article about President Kennedy.  The article spoke about how the late President surrounded himself with all the 'brightest and best' in terms of his staff and Cabinet. Kennedy had a special way of problem solving: he would discuss any given problem with several people on his staff and Cabinet, asking them their opinions, and sending these various people off to find ideas and solutions, but he would (on purpose) not tell the person(s) he asked the questions/solutions about, that he indeed had already asked several other people within the White House for their help on any given problem.  I always felt that this was the sign of a brilliant leader, taking advantage of so many ideas and points of view.  

Such does not seem to be the case for our own President who apparently has an exclusive group of four individuals, who, according to a new article 'jealously' guard their 'power base' with President Obama.  I find this article troubling at best, but it makes sense to me at this point in time.  

The 'Fearsome Four' as they are called in this article are: Rahm Emanuel, the pugnacious chief of staff; David Axelrod and Valerie Jarrett, his senior advisers; and Robert Gibbs, his communications chief.

The article goes on to describe what can only be called President Obama's consistent inability to move away from this 'extremely' tight nit group of insiders who were so successful in getting Obama elected, and goes on to insist that one of the greatest problems that President Obama has had as a communicator is that essentially he has never really 'moved' out of campaign mode (by maintaining these same insiders) and fully embraced in how Presidency by taking advantage of his own Cabinet members:

Administration insiders say the famously irascible Mr Emanuel treats cabinet principals like minions. "I am not sure the president realizes how much he is humiliating some of the big figures he spent so much trouble recruiting into his cabinet," says the head of a presidential advisory board who visits the Oval Office frequently. "If you want people to trust you, you must first place trust in them." In addition to hurling frequent profanities at people within the administration, Mr Emanuel has alienated many of Mr Obama’s closest outside supporters. At a meeting of Democratic groups last August, Mr Emanuel described liberals as "f***ing retards" after one suggested they mobilise resources on health care reform.  "We are treated as though we are children," says the head of a large organization that raised millions of dollars for Mr Obama’s campaign. "Our advice is never sought. We are only told: ‘This is the message, please get it out.’ I am not sure whether the president fully realizes that when the chief of staff speaks, people assume he is speaking for the president."

The same can be observed in foreign policy. On Mr Obama’s November trip to China, members of the cabinet such as the Nobel prizewinning Stephen Chu, energy secretary, were left cooling their heels while Mr Gibbs, Mr Axelrod and Ms Jarrett were constantly at the president’s side. The White House complained bitterly about what it saw as unfairly negative media coverage of a trip dubbed Mr Obama’s "G2" visit to China. But, as journalists were keenly aware, none of Mr Obama’s inner circle had any background in China. "We were about 40 vans down in the motorcade and got barely any time with the president," says a senior official with extensive knowledge of the region. "It was like the Obama campaign was visiting China."

These two sentences bare repeating:

"I am not sure the president realizes how much he is humiliating some of the big figures he spent so much trouble recruiting into his cabinet,"

I am not sure whether the president fully realizes that when the chief of staff speaks, people assume he is speaking for the president."

Either the President does not 'realize' how to 'be' a President or we are watching the worst 'Amateur Hour' show of the 2010.  How could the President 'not' know these issues with his own staff?  How could anyone not realize the affect his own 'inner' circle is having on his administration, let alone his 'humiliated staff/Cabinet unless President Obama is so 'intensely' isolated that he has simple become clueless about what others in his administration are apparently 'secretly fuming about'.  

The reason that this article makes so much sense to me at this point is the recent idea from the White House, of bringing back David Plouffe.  For what reason, god only knows, but also the article makes sense to me because there seems to be such a huge disconnect between the very people who elected President Obama, and I have come to the conclusion that this kind of isolation that is currently around President Obama could be the reason we are 'being forced' to look at people like Senator Scott Brown with the shit eating smirk on his face on CNN.

"Historians will puzzle over the fact that Barack Obama, the best communicator of his generation, totally lost control of the narrative in his first year in office and allowed people to view something they had voted for as something they suddenly didn’t want," says Jim Morone, America’s leading political scientist on healthcare reform. "Communication was the one thing everyone thought Obama would be able to master."  Again, close allies of the president attribute the problem to the campaign-like nucleus around Mr Obama in which all things are possible. "There is this sense after you have won such an amazing victory, when you have proved conventional wisdom wrong again and again, that you can simply do the same thing in government," says one. "Of course, they are different skills. To be successful, presidents need to separate the stream of advice they get on policy from the stream of advice they get on politics. That still isn’t happening."

I've often wondered aloud and here on Kos, as many of us have: where in the hell are President Obama's Public Relations team, and other Democratic supporters and why aren't they flooding the media and airwaves with the 'fighting spirit' that we so desperately need in our country right now?  Why don't we see Joe Biden or Ed Rendell or any of his Cabinet members on television weekly (preferably daily) calling out the Republicans on their blatant 'lies' for nothing more than 'black mailing' President Obama and the government itself through obstruction.  If I had a Public Relations team I would have sent them out for an entire week to make mince meat out of Senator Shelby for 'blackmailing' President Obama's nominees because Shelby was literally doing nothing more than throwing a childish tantrum and holding our entire nation hostage because 'he didn't get his pet projects' passed.  

Some say on Kos, 'well, that's not the President's style'....or Democrats don't 'lower' themselves to that kind of 'grandstanding' and 'lying' that the Republicans do.  

Oh really?  Why?... are we all so struck with our own level of elite intellectualism that we have been blinded to see that after the 'Rove Scorch and Burn Politics' of the Bush era, that everything changed from that point forward?  

Because, here's a clue. IT DID.  Do we think that if we as Democrats 'rise above the fray' and keep our powder dry and maintain our dignity and a cool head, that in the end, this is what will carry the day, and we can all go home (after losing in 2010 and perhaps 2012) that 'we fought the good fight, and still have our integrity in tact?'  

A lot of good that is going to do us when we end up with Sarah Palin, the Tea Party Queen and the Rev. Mike Huckabee as President and Vice President elected so that they can 'bring Jesus back to American so that these types of insane Republicans can continue to make sure Armageddon is right on schedule as planned and that they can continue packing their bags for the Rapture.  

That is what 'being nice, cool headed and above the fray' is going to get us Democrats in the end.  

Here is the point I'm really trying to make:

Now, I've been reluctant to rip into the Democrats, mainly because, despite myths to the contrary, Congress and the White House have been able to accomplish some pretty big goals in just a year. Positive goals. Accomplishments that will help real people. The only problem is that they're not loud enough about these things. They're not loud enough about the Republican obstructionism and treachery. Consequently, other players are writing the script and the Obama administration, along with congressional Democrats, are being mischaracterized. By not fighting back against these mischaracterizations with the full force of their political majorities, they look weak.

Looking at the list of Democratic achievements along with the list of Republican lies and blunders, there's obviously plenty of ammunition. But most of it is being allowed to rot on the vine -- at least so far, even though November is growing larger in the window. For example, that jobs bill filibuster. Those of us keeping up the congressional activity know about it, but how many rank and file voters know that the Republicans tried to block a bill that would create jobs in the aftermath of a deep recession? I have to ask: if the Republicans filibuster a jobs bill, and no one makes a big stink about it, does it make a sound?

Instead of going on every news show on television and screaming about the Republican filibuster in the same way the Republicans scream about teleprompters, "Democrat Party," and "government takeovers," the Democrats did... what? Not much of anything really.

It is certain more than 'Not much of anything really.'....It is this: President Obama needs to shake up his entire White House Staff, and the first thing he needs to do is to hire a first rate Public Relations team with the 'biggest nastiest bunch of Pitt Bulls' available.  He needs to develop a weekly strategy to ensure that this Public Relations teams not only is constantly 'on the offensive' but also is always, without exception fully in charge of 'the narrative,' and not drop the ball.

I hope that someone who truly cares about President Obama has the guts to hand him this article.  He needs to read it, he needs to understand that it is past time to move from 'campaign mode' into the embrace of a much larger circle of trusted professionals in his Cabinet and elsewhere to broaden his capabilities and meet the challenges that our nation is now facing.

You 'won' Mr. President, now it is time to move forward and hire some top notch professionals (a new Chief of Staff first and foremost) is in order.  Get rid of the 'Micky Mouse Chicago Election Club' and move into the real world where hopefully, President Obama can and will be able to hear and understand something as pitiful as this:

"I am not sure the president realizes how much he is humiliating some of the big figures he spent so much trouble recruiting into his cabinet,"

It is not like 'we' Democrats do not know how to govern, but how can anyone expect our own President to govern when he has deeply insulated and isolated himself from those individuals who could help him carry the message that he delivered during the 2007 primaries in which he ended on a promise of what his victory would produce: "A nation healed. A world repaired. An America that believes again."

Embrace your Presidency, President Obama, we can only change, if you are willing to change.  Do it soon and take a lesson from President Kennedy: use all of your resources within every single person in your administration and Cabinet.  The President hired this group of exceptional people as his Cabinet, and staff, now 'put them to work' on the 'front lines' of the still burning and bright 'Karl Rove Scorch and Burn Republican Lie Machine' and fight like hell for 'An America that can believe again.'


Originally posted to Badabing on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 09:31 PM PST.

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