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December 22, 2008

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Shelby is paying bloggers $100 to get the word out for him? What hyper-timid incrementalist bullshit. I mean, an ObWi blog post is a fucking valuable thing. You don't just give it away for fucking nothing.

Which of his posts got Third Way all hot and bothered?

Much laughter.

that's funny von -- i foolishly didn't see the synergies of the Blago scandal here too. :)

Ugh -

Here: http://yglesias.thinkprogress.org/archives/2008/12/the_new_moderate.php

Sayeth Yglesias: "Third Way is a neat organization — I used to work across the hall from them. And they do a lot of clever messaging stuff that a lot of candidates find very useful. But their domestic policy agenda is hyper-timid incrementalist bullshit. ...."

Wow, I think Third Way and Jennifer Palmieri are competing with John Edward for the title of World's Biggest Douche.

I imagine someone at Third Way made a phone call over Matt's head.

That was very stupid of them.

And what was even stupider was Jennifer Palmieri's decision to not fluff them and tell them she'd talk to Matt privately, and then forget to.

Because now Third Way is going to be mocked vigorously, where previously hardly anyone cared about, or had heard of, Third Way.

Ugh, did you really mean John Edward, the psychic, or John Edwards, the philandering presidential candidate who had as his spokesperson one Jennifer Palmieri?

I want to hear the recording of the calls between Blago and Rahm Emmanuel. I bet they sound just like that scene from The Wire.

The phrase "hyper-timid incrementalist bullshit" would have vanished without a ripple, but now it will live on in the political blogosphere at least as long as Third Way survives. You'd almost think Palmieri doesn't like Third Way much -- though even if she'd intended this result it doesn't make her look good, so I'm afraid incompetence is the only explanation that makes sense.

Mike, I'm thinking more Deadwood.

Ugh, did you really mean John Edward, the psychic, or John Edwards, the philandering presidential candidate who had as his spokesperson one Jennifer Palmieri?

Why not both!

von, awesome comment. It even appeared to have vapourized the ObWi posting rules. :-)

(I'm especially treasuring it because I know it will get cleaned up soon, which is meta-awesome but not hypocritical.)

Shelby and the rest of the feudal capitalist wing of the Rethug Party can kiss my hairy white hillbilly ass and say, "Thank may I have some more?"

I would almost feel sorry for Jennifer Palmieri. She made a stupid decision and is about to learn that replacing a teeny little bit of bad publicity with an enormous truckload of bad publicity isn't a good trade.

I just hope that she isn't one of those types of managers who is going to make Matt pay for the mistake.

Gary I imagine someone at Third Way made a phone call over Matt's head.

That was very stupid of them.

And what was even stupider was Jennifer Palmieri's decision to not fluff them and tell them she'd talk to Matt privately, and then forget to.

Because now Third Way is going to be mocked vigorously, where previously hardly anyone cared about, or had heard of, Third Way.

Which is great for those of us who have heard of Third Way, and were waiting for an opportunity to viciously mock the organization *rubs hands together with anticipatory glee*

BTW -- Big Media Matt (finally) responds, while TP editor Faiz Shakir attempts to minimize the damage to CAPAF's credibility.

Well, if we can believe the front page of Think Progress, Matt is safe.

Meanwhile, that guy Barney Frank sure has a way with words.

Response at The Atlantic.

BMM's former employers get in on the ribbing.

Dammit -- KC beat me to the punch.

As you beat me. You have to be quick around here.

Interesting, according to the TAP editor, she didn't just post it, she made Matt post it.

Now that does nothing to explain why a hyper-timid incrementalist bullsH!$ organization got to get an official note of non-complying opinion on Matt's page, so it is still disturbing. But at least it wasn't a total hijack.

Now I can't decide whether Matt was sneaky or just non-attentive. If non-attentive he pretty much posted the forced text in the most-likely-to-cause-a-problem way.

And if he was sneaky and a bit passive-aggressive about being forced to post the stupid disclaimer, he umm posted the forced text in the most-likely-to-cause-a-problem way.

We'll never know I suppose.

Hmm, now that Matt is saying he posted last night's disclaimer himself, the hypothesis that the creation of an anti-Third Way blog swarm was intentional becomes a little more tenable.

CAP (actually CAPAF), not TAP, Sebastian.

BTW, did anyone notice that Palmieri's typo on the original re: Third Way post has been corrected? "Progess" is now "Progress".

CREEPY!

Ah, so Matt posted that on Palmieri's behalf? That explains the typo.

I'm especially treasuring it because I know it will get cleaned up soon, which is meta-awesome but not hypocritical.

The posting rules re: profanity are problematic because they restrict content based on a proxy for civility, rather than civility itself. OTOH, it's a big internet and sometimes you have to operate on proxy sometimes ... so long as you know when and how to ignore the proxy.

Heeheehee.

Oops, sorry, mattt

And KC.

Faiz Shakir confirms that Third Way are a bunch of WATBs:

...Third Way had requested a clarification and Jennifer agreed to their request. That’s why the specific post was put up.

As Jay Rosen just said via tweet,

My dean doesn't interrupt my lectures to assure the audience I don't speak for the U. Nor does he demand space on my blog for that message

The end must be nigh: Glenn Reynolds just nailed it.

Oy.

Having the Homeland Security spokesperson be the guy who told the press the lie that Lieberman's website had been hacked, presumably by crazed Lamont supporters, is a nice touch.

Gary, seriously? Not just Wolfson but Palmieri?

Oy ^2.

I suspect that Sebastian is spot-on in his speculation. There's no way a blogger as experienced as Matt wouldn't have realized that posting the Palmieri missive the way he did was bound to ignite a firestorm. So he put it up there the way he did to ensure that the fuss would be big enough that she'd never interfere again. He can't come out and say that, of course. But everything we've seen so far indicates that he was unhappy being slapped down, and found a very clever way to outmaneuver Palmieri.

There's a second point that needs to be made here, though. Yglesias doesn't work for the Center for American Progress. He works for the CAP Action Fund, which runs ThinkProgress. CAP is a think-tank; CAPAF is an advocacy group. They're separately incorporated and separately funded. Until a few months ago, no one focused much on the distinction unless they were considering a donation, because gifts to CAPAF aren't tax deductible. Podesta was President and CEO of both groups, and the distinction was largely seen as a legal fiction. But in his absence, two different deputies have assumed interim control of the two different entities, underlining their very different functions. CAP is structured to generate ideas, CAPAF to sell them. Palmieri is running CAPAF. She's a flack - she's spent her career convincing people of whatever it is her superiors deem it expedient for them to believe. More than that, she's a Beltway hack. She suffers from the peculiar myopia endemic to the capitol, in which the views of those close to power matter, and the views of everyone else do not.

L'Affaire Yglesias is not a big deal. But it reminds us of two very important things. The first is that modes of production actually matter. We're all responsive to some set of pressures. Academics worry mostly about the perceptions of their colleagues. Denizens of think-tanks scramble for grants and jockey for appointments. Those who write for advocacy groups (including Yglesias) seek to win influence, and to shape the conversation. Journalists seek professional recognition and readership. And bloggers may seek site traffic, link-love, or catharsis. We all write for some reason or another. Palmieri has just reminded us in remarkably crude fashion that CAPAF hosts Matt because he's useful to them; and when he ceases to be, on balance, of benefit, they'll toss him overboard without blinking.

The other key lesson here is that the bureaucratic mindset transcends partisanship. Take a look at Palmieri's resume. She was a Panetta protege, later working in the Clinton press office, and then for the DNC and Edwards. Her first instinct, faced with controversy, was not to stand by her people - it was to cut Matt loose. That is, indeed, how the Clinton White House operated, particularly in its second term. Control the damage, reign in the unruly subordinates, impose message discipline. It's the response of someone who's spent her career in politics, not journalism, commentary, or policy. And it has some utility. But for the most part, it's a tired old strategy. It papers over genuine problems. (Third Way does advance excessively timid programs). And it's no longer viable in an age of distributed information.

That Palmieri and her ilk are now being considered for senior administration posts is as disheartening as it was inevitable. But for the most part, flacks are a necessary evil. The exception is in roles like OASD(PA) - the Pentagon's top message person - where the appointee doesn't simply shape the presentation of information, but the information itself. Over the last eight years, the Pentagon has proven singularly inept at winning the media war that is a crucial aspect of the struggle for hearts and minds. Putting a hack like Palmieri in charge of messaging is a step backwards from the recent progress made under Gates. The whole message of his tenure as SecDef has been a tolerance for dissent, and an encouragement of a diversity of viewpoints. If there's anything the last few days have shown, it's that Palmieri is unfit to implement such a policy. Let's hope this mess sinks her nomination.

"Palmieri has just reminded us in remarkably crude fashion that CAPAF hosts Matt because he's useful to them; and when he ceases to be, on balance, of benefit, they'll toss him overboard without blinking."

Was there ever any doubt about this, or this sort of thing?

"The other key lesson here is that the bureaucratic mindset transcends partisanship."

Ditto Palmieri proved her judgement regarding the blogosphere is non-existent, but, then, that sort of thing is still hardly unusual, if entirely undesirable in a 21st century flack.

It would be nice to think that she learned something here, but I don't know her from a hole in the wall, and my experience with higher-ups learning valuable lessons when thrust near to their face hasn't made me optimistic about that sort of thing.

"Let's hope this mess sinks her nomination."

Seems unlikely, but there's always hope.

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