Noticeably absent from Burton’s embrace was anyone from the blogosphere once courted so avidly by the White House. Peter Daou thinks he knows why:
“With each passing day, I’m beginning to realize that the crux of the problem for Obama is a handful of prominent progressive bloggers, among them Glenn Greenwald, John Aravosis, Digby, Marcy Wheeler and Jane Hamsher.”
Daou, a progressive strategist and blogger himself, offered the explanation in a post provocatively titled “How a Handful of Liberal Bloggers Are Bringing Down the Obama Presidency,” which put a face on Obama’s critics and suggested why their criticism might be so irritating.
The complaints these bloggers have launched against the Obama administration are, Daou notes, “exactly the same complaints they lodged against the Bush administration.”
So what complaints are those? Mismanagement of the economy? Fundamental weakness in dealing with enemies, foreign and domestic? Naah, it's something else, Daou believes:
“Contrary to the straw man posed by Obama supporters, they aren’t complaining about pie in the sky wishes but about tangible acts of omission, from Gitmo to Afghanistan to the environment to gay rights and executive power,” he wrote. “The essence of their critique is that the White House lacks a moral compass.”
A moral compass? From a Chicago politician?
Anyway, one of the targets of the administration's ire is Glenn Greenwald, who has been hammering Obama on his human rights record. But Greenwald isn't buying:
“I think that bloggers can have an influence in our political discussions and how politicians are perceived and the like, but I think any explanation of the political problems of Obama that doesn’t begin and end with the economic suffering of large numbers of people is fundamentally misguided,” he told POLITICO.
“I think the reason why people are so angry at Democrats and disenchanted with Obama has very little — basically nothing — to do with what bloggers have been saying and everything to do with the fact that there are no jobs and millions of people are having their homes foreclosed” on.
Look -- I'm a blogger. Outside of my readership, no one really cares what I think. There are a number of politicians, especially local ones, who know who I am, but I sincerely doubt that they lose much sleep over the broadsides that we fire around here.
What's been especially odd about the Obama administration is how sensitive it is to criticism, really any criticism. They've let Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin live rent-free in their heads ever since they've come to Washington. Apparently they've let Glenn Greenwald do the same thing.
For the most part, the Bush administration ignored its critics, which drove conservatives nuts. In striving to behave in precisely the opposite way the Bush administration did, Obama's team has spent too much time worrying about whether or not they are winning the news cycle. What they don't seem to understand is that you win the news cycle by making positive news.