Powered by WebAds

Friday, May 11, 2012

Look who's advising Obama

How does writing a book that has sold about 2,800 copies when I last checked qualify someone to be an adviser to the White House?
Shortly after announcing his newfound support for the legalization of gay marriage yesterday, President Barack Obama walked into an off-the-record foreign policy meeting with nine editors and columnists to discuss Afghanistan, Israel, NATO and the forthcoming G8 Summit at Camp David, sources present at the meeting tell me.

The nine: The New Yorker's David Remnick and Jane Mayer, Time Magazine's Joe Klein, Newsweek's Peter Beinart, The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg, The New York Times's Carla Robbins, The Wall Street Journal's Gerald Seib, The Los Angeles Times's Doyle McManus, and David Ignatius of the Washington Post.

While some of these writers -- most notably Ignatius, one of the most respected and influential columnists in Washington's foreign policy circles today -- are familiar faces at the White House, the group as a whole marks a notable shift away from the Tom Friedmans and the David Brooks toward younger voices and fresh perspectives.

The group is also notable for the inclusion of writers with radically different views on the Israel debate -- most notably Beinart, who has become a lightning rod among Jews for his hyper-dovish stance, and Goldberg, who despite falling left of center and supporting a two-state solution is significantly to the right of the rest of this crowd. (See one heated Beinart-Goldberg debate here.)

Sources would not discuss the specific details of the conversation, as it was off the record, but did indicate that Obama looked to the group to help improve messaging* on the aforementioned foreign policy matters in the run-up to the 2012 election.

UPDATE: White House National Security Council spokesperson Tommy Vietor emails to clarify that last point:
“The President didn’t ask for messaging advice. He simply politely noted that before writing that we haven’t offered enough ‘specifics’ on a given issue, that we’d appreciate it if they called over and gave us the opportunity to provide more information.”
*An earlier version of this post suggested Obama looked to the group for "messaging advice." The post has been updated for the sake of clarity, following Vietor's comments.
I respect Jeffrey Goldberg as a writer but if he's the 'right' here, this panel is heavily tilted left. Why not Jackson Diehl instead of Ignatius? Why Beinart - a fringe character if there ever was one - at all? This is what an Obama second term is going to look like, God forbid....

What could go wrong?

Labels: , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home