At the risk of adding to the media’s nauseating “First 100 Days” Obamagasm this afternoon, it’s worth noting that the White House yesterday added the first 300 or so photos to its Flickr photostream.
From a strictly photographic standpoint, most of the pictures are nothing short of spectacular. Official White House photographer Pete Souza has an amazing talent for capturing moments in a moving and creative ways.
From a political standpoint, the Flickr photostream is a savvy way for Team Obama to further humanize their guy. There’s Barack Obama the “Serious Leader.” Barack Obama the “Guy You Wish Was Your Boss.” Barack Obama the “Loving Husband and Father.” Barack Obama the “Vigorous and Healthy Athlete.” Barack Obama the “Guy Like You Who Tosses a Football to Himself While Making Decisions.” There’s even Barack Obama the “ Aspiring Photographer.”
As I browsed through the White House photostream, two things really jumped out at me:
1. Every single photo is designed to show a candid behind-the-scenes moment. I viewed all 293 photos, and not one of them shows Obama posed, behind a podium, or in any other openly scripted moment. This is obviously intended to give voters a voyeuristic thrill, like many of the the online videos Team Obama produced during and after the campaign.
2. Quite a few of these behind-the-scenes photos show Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton getting along quite swimmingly, likely an attempt to bury the campaign hatchet with any of their supporters who haven’t yet completely closed ranks. One particularly effective photo shows Clinton laughing with Obama behind a half-closed door aboard Air Force One. Another shows them meeting at a picnic table on the White House lawn.
All in all, very smart stuff, and once again, the kind of thing that every candidate should be doing to more effectively humanize themselves with the voters they’re trying to attract.
Building on last week’s chart from the Heritage Foundation that so effectively puts President Obama’s $100 million in proposed spending cuts in perspective, check out this video that popped up recently. Quick. Easy. Cheap to produce. And incredibly effective.
Filed under: Government Spending, Obama, Staging | Tags: heritage foundation
The folks at Heritage have been releasing some powerful illustrations lately, perhaps none better than the one below, which shows the size of President Obama’s proposed spending cuts in relation to the massive levels of recent federal spending:
One thing many conservatives have done for far too long is try to make points only using words and unemotional logic and reason. Of course, when the other side always says they want to “help” the children or the elderly, responding with points about millions and billions and percentages is allmost always a losing argument.
We need to draw pictures for people so they can literally see the difference between millions and billions and trillions. We need to tell emotional stories to people so they feel what’s at stake if we continue to saddle our children and grandchildren with crushing debt. And with the one illustration above, Heritage is probably educating and mobilizing more people than they did with their last 10 (very well done and informative) policy papers combined.
Filed under: Online Video
As you know, there’s much hand wringing and naval gazing in journalism circles these days about the fate of the traditional mainstream media.
Thanks to the Internet and cheap new technology that makes it possible for an army of Flip-camera-toting citizens to go around the mainstream media, it’s easier than ever to demonstrate that the traditional media isn’t so much biased as it is completely in contempt of the citizens who don’t agree with their government-is-the-answer-to-every-problem worldview. Exhibit A is the video below by Founding Bloggers, which shows CNN reporter Susan Roesgen literally berate a guy at yesterday’s Tea Party in Chicago, but then shows another citizen confront her immediately afterwards about her choice of interviewee and her unfair coverage.
Especially interesting are Roesgen’s questions, “What group are you with?” and “How did you find out about this?” obviously picking up on the lefty blogosphere’s talking points that this is all just part of some vast right-wing astroturf conspiracy:
Filed under: Online Video, Protest | Tags: andrew langer, institute for liberty, tea parties
Here are some scenes from the National Tax Day Tea Party in Washington, DC, courtesy of our friends at the Institute for Liberty:
As you can see, the rally was huge – at least several thousand people in a steady, driving, cold rain. Just a little more impressive than the dozen or so Code Pinkers and liberal bloggers who showed up for last Saturday’s Liberal Tea Party in similar weather conditions.
Glenn Reynolds has a great op-ed in this morning’s WSJ that should lay rest to the Tea-Party-as-organ-of-Fox-News-or-Republican-National-Committee-or-corporate-lobbyists meme, at least with rational people.
In the piece, he points out that many, if not all of the tea parties so far, have been organized by people with very little, if any, prior experience in political organizing. Although of particular note is Reynolds’ closing paragraph:
This influx of new energy and new talent is likely to inject new life into small-government politics around the nation. The mainstream Republican Party still seems limp and disorganized. This grassroots effort may revitalize it. Or the tea-party movement may lead to a new third party that may replace the GOP, just as the GOP replaced the fractured and hapless Whigs
What happens to the Tea Party movement after today? Despite attempts by the lefty bloggers to cartoonishly paint this movement as something engineered by some sinister Dr. Evil-type mastermind in a hollowed-out volcano lair, the fact is nobody knows what happens next. But it will certainly be interesting to watch.
Well, it looks like it only took Jane Hamsher and her friends at Save the Rich about 72 hours to figure out how to type my name into Google and splash a breathless expose about my identity on their blogs:
By: Jane Hamsher Tuesday April 14, 2009 4:55 pm
The other day a guy showed up at the DC bank rally and tried to cause a scene when Bill Greider was speaking, and the video of me went round the wingnut world.
They did a little digging over at Save the Rich and found out it was produced by GOP astroturf specialty firm Frank Strategies. Ed Frank is the former spokesperson for Elaine Chao at the Department of Labor, and is now a consultant for Americans for Prosperity. Frank Strategies is listed as “local sponsors” at the Houston Tea Party site, and they’re organizing the tea parties in DC and the following cities states:
Congrats on the investigative work, guys. I’m sure Woodward and Bernstein are very impressed. And I sincerely do appreciate the free advertising and the traffic you’re sending to my website and blog.
But for the record, you have some of your facts wrong. While I did work for Americans for Prosperity for four years, I’m not consulting with them on any Tea Party activities. That’s why my business’ name is on my Tea Party videos and not AFP’s. Frank Strategies LLC is also not a sponsor of the Houston Tea Party, nor have I organized any other Tea Parties around the country, as Jane claims on her blog.
Of course, Jane also gets it wrong when she claims that I “tried to cause a scene” at her sparsely attended tea party on Saturday. The other day she also described me as “angry.” I suppose those accusations are somewhat subjective, but you can watch the video for yourself here – I politely introduce myself at the 1:30 mark and ask her if I can interview her for my blog and she smiles and replies, “Sure!” It doesn’t strike me as a particularly angry or disruptive exchange, but you can judge for yourself.
Fact is I’m a guy who thought it might be worth the 15-minute walk to the White House and couple of hours of my Saturday afternoon to check out the liberal Tea Party and turn around a quick video in an attempt to market my new consulting business. So, thank you, Jane, for making my very modest investment pay off many times over!
Just one suggestion, though: next time, maybe describe me as “Karl Rove’s former right-hand man in the White House.” That’s not true either, but it would be awesome for my business development! Thanks so much in advance!
UPDATE: 8:45 p.m. – Jane has a follow-up post on the Huffington Post, in which she claims “Ed Frank of Frank Strategies, who sent a videographer after me last weekend, is a consultant for Americans for Prosperity.”
Jane, again, get your facts straight. I didn’t send a videographer – that was me you were talking to! Pleasure to meet you! Oh, and I can’t even count how many other factual errors you have in your post. It’s Phil “Kerpen” with AFP, not “Kern.” It’s not “Newt Gingrich’s FreedomWorks,” it’s Dick Armey’s FreedomWorks. And I don’t have the time to document all of your other mistakes.
But again, thanks for the traffic and the free publicity! In fact, please link directly to the video I produced for the Institute for Liberty (again – not Americans for Prosperity) at today’s Tea Party. Because the more views you help me get for my clients’ videos, the happier they are. And the happier my clients are, the more money I make. So please link more often. I’ll send you a postcard from whatever tropical island I visit on my next vacation, paid for with the money you help me make. Again, thanks so much in advance!
Keep an eye on this spot Wednesday afternoon for video from DC’s Tax Day Tea Party.
In the meantime, enjoy this entertaining (and completely unrelated) Tea Party video, courtesy of our friends at Smirnoff Ice. Oh, how I wish these folks were performing at the real Tea Party:
A very good choice. Details here.
Best of luck to future U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey.
Filed under: Government Spending, Protest, Staging, Taxes | Tags: jane hamsher, tea parties, tea party
The folks who are organizing Wednesday’s Tea Party in Houston have come up with a good idea: refer as “Tea Party Truthers” to the paranoid conspiracy theorists who claim that the Taxpayer Tea Parties are funded by sinister corporate interests or the Fox News Channel.
Truth is, many of them probably are the same folks who think that 9/11 was an inside job, so it seems like a fitting label.
As I pointed out right after the Feb. 27 Tea Parties, I’ve been working in politics professionally for 15 years, and I can attest that this is undoubtedly an organic grassroots movement unlike anything else I’ve ever seen on the Right. Yes, national grassroots organizations and some media outlets are now jumping on the bandwagon and heavily promoting their activities in conjunction with these events, but that’s a far cry from them “financing” them.
For some reason, too many on the Left don’t understand (or care) that when they spout this garbage that’s so obviously not true, they completely undermine any credibility they might have when they actually have valid points to make.
UPDATE 4:55 p.m. EDT: Glenn Reynolds has an excellent op-ed about the true grassroots nature of the Taxpayer Tea Parties in today’s NY Post.