In “Rebuild the Dream,” Jones charges that bad White House communications, poor political decisions and an artful GOP foe helped to kill President Obama’s agenda. “It crashed because the winners of 2008 mishandled, and inadvertently dismantled, the hope machine,” he writes, providing a laundry list of flubs including the West Wing’s refusal to fight “socialist” charges.
While Obama’s 2008 election is “almost...a bedtime story,” Jones, said that “once he became president, Obama’s narrative became a confusing muddle.” His evidence: Obama didn’t build a villain and was “determined to be bipartisan at all costs.” Also: the president let congressional Democrats be the “heroes,” and didn’t have a clear vision, though he calls the Affordable Care Act Obama’s signature success.
“All in all, this lack of a narrative resulted in a massive messaging failure of the Obama administration--a communications train wreck that begged for an opponent to take advantage of the big opportunity it created,” wrote Jones, who identified the Tea Party as the winning opponent.
Jones, now president of Rebuild the Dream, a group pushing a jobs and economic growth agenda, quit early in the administration when he was targeted by conservatives like Glenn Beck. He opens his book with a strong defense against “the lies and libels” that prompted him to quit in September 2009 from his post at the Council on Environmental Quality.
In discussing Obama’s unlikely 2008 victory, Jones charges that Clinton blew her chance to be president. “The truth is, had U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton simply disavowed her [pro-Iraq] war vote, stayed out of the Iowa caucus, as she had planned to, and hired some fresh, hungry talent to drive her campaign instead of saddling herself with [pollster] Mark Penn, she probably would be in the Oval Office right now.”
On Obama’s reelection, Jones wouldn’t predict. “Obama’s supporters went from ‘hoping’ too much in 2008 to ‘moping’ too much in 2010. We skipped the important step in the middle; the one in which we launch the big, uncompromising fight back for the things we believe in,” he wrote. “We still have a chance to win the future we deserve.”