Mark Penn, Vestige of the Past

Fred Gooltz lays out why he voted for Barack Obama. Fred had consulted on social networking strategy for the Edwards campaign, is a savvy messaging consultant, and comments here from time to time. This part of his endorsement stood out to me:

Obama because of Penn

This political movement that I work in has its roots in a bed of deep resentment that took hold of millions of Americans in the 90s. Epitomized by MoveOn.org, a pro-censure petition email list that was equally mad at Clinton for being stupid, as it was mad at the media for being willingly played as suckers, as it was mad at the Republicans for being anti-modernity scumbags who were playing with the fate of the nation and toying with the media and punishing Democrats for existing. This is where I come from, politically.

I don’t want to go back there. We had those fights before and we lost them all.

While there’s been a lot of commentary lately about how shoddy Penn’s advice has been for Hillary Clinton, I think this gets at a more elemental reason why he and people like him are bad representatives for the Clinton campaign. The bad advice turns us back towards a sad time for our party. The people who are shaping the future of the Democratic brand are people like Fred, who grew up in the MoveOn era of evolution past Beltway insiderism.

It’s no shock that Penn’s bad advice is turning movementarians off. The question is, are people who aren’t hyper-informed political activists influenced away from Clinton because of this?

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