Monday, April 04, 2011

Obama's Band

Nancy Scola asks an interesting question, wondering whether Obama can put the band back together again, by which she means the media team that created the stellar 2008 online campaign.

It's worth reading, but I don't think it's the most important question. This kind of article places credit for Obama's victory in the hands of him and his campaign workers. And that's important. Certainly in the primary, they deserved tremendous credit.

But the "band" here is not the media team. It's the broader support Obama received in 2008. Obama's grassroots support came from millions of Americans seeing him as the personification of their hopes for change. And while it was unfair for any of us to put that much weight on Obama from the beginning, he certainly has disappointed virtually every progressive in the country.

I have no doubt that Obama will have a first-rate media team surrounding him. But how much will it matter? While I'm sure a lot of progressives will end up voting for Obama, the idea that the media team created his fanatical support completely misunderstands the relationship between media and people. All the geniuses in the world aren't going to recreate 2008, not because they aren't skilled but because very few people are going to be super excited about voting for Obama. He's no longer the face of our hopes and dreams, partly because such a thing is impossible in the long-term and partly because he openly rejected a lot of those hopes and dreams.

That's then the biggest question we can ask about Obama and his media team in 2012--can they even vaguely recreate 2008? If they can, then they truly are brilliant. Because I think it's just not going to happen.