Tuesday, December 09, 2008


Conservatives and Republicans are ramping up efforts to draw in more elected officials and party grassroots activists into the world of Twitter and social networking. The efforts are taking off in huge numbers. For all those who snootily mocked conservatives for not embracing the new technology for the benefit of a political campaign, well, that's not graceful. It's small and nasty.

As Patrick Ruffini writes, "the Internet is not just blogs and Twitter. New media is a big world - from websites, to e-mail lists, to fundraising, to online advertising, to search engine optimization, to GOTV applications, to internal databases, to APIs, to YouTube, to mobile, to emerging platforms like iPhone/Android, and yes, to social media." "The hard part is integrating new media in everything the organization does, using it to transform volunteer recruitment, or open a new eight and nine figure revenue stream. Those are the big challenges the next RNC Chairman needs to be worrying about."

Often the press in our country likes to make the facts of an event into whatever suits its own agenda - the fight against conservatives and Republicans. A good example has emerged with the selection of General Eric Shineki, Army Retired, as nominee for Veterans Affairs Secretary in the incoming Obama administration. This selection has been heralded as a poke in the eye to former Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld and to President Bush. Why? Well, Shinseki is often referred to an abused soul, not listened to by Rumsfeld on the amount of troops needed in the early fighting in Iraq. So, he retired from service. Rumsfeld had visions of implementing a new kind of warfare he had been developing for many years. Less boots on the ground, more air power.

The true story emerged yesterday on CNN with reporter Jamie McIntyre on Wolf Blitzer's Situation Room. From NewsBusters comes some sunlight. McIntyre clarified that oft referred to 29 words spoken six years ago to a Senate committee, "I would say that what's been mobilized, to this point, something on the order of several hundred thousand soldiers are probably, you know, a figure that would be required." McIntyre called it an "off-the-cuff guesstimate" in hindsight. At the time, CBS Evening News' Dean Reynolds "blamed the high number of U.S. troops injuries in Iraq on the Bush administration refusing to take Shinseki's advice to send more troops to occupy Iraq." In truth, Shinseki admits he gave no such advice.

McIntyre: "But Shinseki has his critics, too, who say, in fact, he never stood up to Rumsfeld, never pressed for more troops for Iraq, and, when asked in a private meeting of the Joint Chiefs if he had concerns about the war plans, never said a word, according to two people who were in the room. Asked by Newsweek two years ago to respond to the criticism he didn't press his concerns, Shinseki e-mailed back: 'Probably that's fair. Not my style.'

Apparently his style is to remain silent as those seeking to set a negative tone against the war effort and the current administration go about their work. Maybe Shinseki took his clues from Colin Powell and Richard Armitage who showed less than admirable honor as they remained silent and watched Scooter Libbey go to jail over trumped up charges. Armitage outed Valerie Plame and Colin Powell remained silent for his former chief of staff. Not much honorable about any of these three men's decision making processes during this president's administration.

No grace and dignity from these three men. Then, Colin Powell's endorsement of Obama over John McCain. A last minute endorsement after he gave money to the McCain campaign many months before. Only when it looked as though Obama would win the election did he make his splash. Then, he denied the racial implications. Not honorable. Or graceful.

Who has shown grace and dignity lately? John McCain's concession speech is a fine example of grace under difficult circumstances. Nicolle Wallace, former senior advisor to the McCain presidential campaign, wrote a thoughtful piece for The Daily Beast about grace of character. Wallace also points to the grace President and Mrs. Bush have exhibited toward Barack and Michelle Obama. The Bushes welcomed the Obamas to the White House much further in advance than is usually done. Laura Bush gave a complete tour of the White House and living quarters to Michelle Obama. And Laura Bush has shown nothing but compassion for the Obama family upheaval into the new fish bowl of a life with two young daughters.

Contrast that to the treatment given to the Bushes by the outgoing Clinton administration and the press in this country.

To those so deranged with Bush hatred, point out this event that took place recently to them: Wallace writes about a day recently spent with senior Obama campaign officials and some from the McCain campaign. "Having attended the same session four years ago, where we were sneered and snapped at by Bob Shrum, I was prepared for the worst. I found team Obama to be confident and extremely satisfied with their victory, but also smart, curious, interesting, and, for the most part, gracious. As a veteran of the Bush 2004 campaign, I was especially heartened to hear David Plouffe credit the Bush 2004 model as an inspiration."

Yeah, imagine that. Success is the name of the game.

1 comment:

Beverly said...

I just wanted to stop by and say hi. I'll be back later to read your post when I can give it my attention.