Friday, April 19, 2019

McKinsey Pete


McKinsey is a worldwide management consulting firm which conducts qualitative and quantitative analysis to evaluate management decisions across public and private sectors. Their clientele includes 80% of the world's largest corporations. McKinsey's culture has often been compared to a religion or a cult because of the influence, loyalty and zeal of its members. McKinsey's fingerprints can be found at the scene of some of the most spectacular corporate and financial debacles of recent decades, from Enron, the 2008 financial meltdown and ICE to authoritarian regimes in Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Ukraine.

Peter Pumpkinhead came to town
Spreading wisdom and cash around
Fed the starving and housed the poor
Showed the Vatican what gold's for
But he made too many enemies
Of the people who would keep us on our knees
Hooray for Peter Pumpkin
Who'll pray for Peter Pumpkinhead?
Oh my!
Peter Pumpkinhead pulled them all
Emptied churches and shopping malls
Where he spoke, it would raise the roof
Peter Pumpkinhead told the truth
But he made too many enemies...
Peter Pumpkinhead put to shame
Governments who would slur his name
Plots and sex scandals failed outright
Peter merely said
Any kind of love is alright
But he made too many enemies...
Peter Pumpkinhead was too good
Had him nailed to a chunk of wood
He died grinning on live TV
Hanging there he looked a lot like you
And an awful lot like me!
But he made too many enemies...
Hooray for Peter Pumpkin
Who'll pray for Peter Pumpkin
Hooray for Peter Pumpkinhead
Oh my oh my oh!
Doesn't it make you want to cry oh?

- One of Andy Partridge's crazier songs
Alas, a lot of people I know tell me they like Mayor Pete. I'm not going to called him "Mayor Pete" any longer. I'll stick to Pete Buttigieg, now that I can spell it, or McKinsey, Pete since it describes him better, in my mind, than "Mayor Pete." It was easy to persuade my youngest sister to forget about Pete. I asked her to read this so we could talk about his candidacy apart from the sharp and apparently very effective p.r. initiatives by the magical Lis Smith. My sister, I'm happy to relay, is back on Team Bernie and persuading everyone she knows that McKinsey Pete needs to be as well-investigated as Beto was before everyone she knows dropped him too. But my sister is easy. Next week I'll be speaking to a roomful of evangelical-pastors-for-Pete. That's going to be a much harder not to crack; many are absolutely smitten.

At one time folks who are falling for Pete, were falling for Jim Messina-- not the musician, the other one-- for the same reasons. I think Messina's fallen for Pete too. Just a hunch. Although someone seems to have dug up fellow management consultant Messina to spread a little Bernie-hate around this week. Jonathan Karl wasn't satisfied that every poll shows Bernie beating Trump and he wanted to ask Pete-dopplegänger Messina the burning question on his podcast
Messina: No
Karl: Why?
Messina: "I think if you look at swing voters in this country they are incredibly focused on the economy. I think today you look at it and say that Bernie Sanders is unlikely going to be able to stand up to the constant barrage that is Donald Trump on economic issues."
Huh? Obama was lucky Messina managed the re-elect campaign, not the election. Although, notably, the first time through, Obama 69,498,516 won (52.9%) to 59,948,323 (45.7%) with 365 electoral votes, and the Messina time he only won 65,915,795 (51.1%) to 60,933,504 (47.2%), with 332 electoral votes.

I remember Messina when he was Max Baucus' guy, when Baucus was a super-conservative Dem in the Senate, right up there with Joe Lieberman and Joe Biden, fucking up the country from his perch as chair of the Senate Committee on Finance, where he was able to prevent Medicare-for-All, while taking immense bribes from the health insurance and pharmaceutical industries-- something he now says he regrets. He also prevented DC from getting statehood, helped get the U.S. into war with Iraq and pass Bush's tax cuts, spread, ironically, his Messina-inspired homophobia, and was able to make sure Biden's anti-working family bankruptcy bill passed. What a legacy! Obama couldn't wait to work with Baucus' guy Messina, aka- "the fixer." After utterly ruining OFA, he opened his own lobbying firm, the Messina Group (although claims he doesn't personally lobby, only consults) and became a consultant to the British Conservative Party, helping them successfully beat the Labour Party in 2015 and then lose the Brexit vote soon after. (He was also a consultant for Spain's far right prime minister, Mariano Rajoy and, later, very unsuccessfully for Theresa May.)

A couple of years ago, Alex Nichols nailed him as a case study in political failure-- How did a Much-Hyped, Highly Paid Political Consultant Amount To Nothing? He exposes him and other "consultants, strategists, and data wonks" like him as "grifters and frauds"
Messina was a favorite of “wonks” until relatively recently. A 2012 Bloomberg profile titled “Obama’s CEO” provides a perfect distillation of Messina’s carefully cultivated image, comparing his storytelling abilities to TED Talks and praising him for learning from the executives at Google, Facebook, and Zynga. The article goes: “Messina is convinced that modern presidential campaigns are more like fast-growing tech companies than anything found in a history book and his own job is like that of the executives who run them.” This may have been the last time anyone was positively compared to Zynga, the mobile gaming giant that lost 85 percent of its value that year, but it was eerily prescient.

While Messina pushed Obama and Congressional Democrats to satisfy the every whim of corporate lobbyists, he took the opposite approach to the grassroots activists who propelled Obama to victory in 2008. Messina convinced Obama to stall his campaign promise to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell for nearly three years before he finally capitulated to increasingly furious progressives in 2010. Messina was designated the liaison to the Common Purpose Project, a coalition of progressive groups like Planned Parenthood and the Center for American Progress. Members of these groups complained that during meetings, Messina “used his influence to try to stifle any criticism of Baucus or lobbying by progressive groups that was out of sync with the administration’s agenda.” An anonymous Democratic strategist told The Nation in 2011 that “There is not a bone in [Messina’s] body that speaks to or comprehends the idea of a movement and that grassroots energy. To me, that’s bothersome.”

In hindsight, the string of spectacular failures Messina’s career has wrought seems inevitable. His successes were not exactly successes; he rose to prominence as the campaign strategist for a senator who had unlimited corporate funding and no opposition. Obama’s victories with Messina, it would appear, were the result of his remarkable charisma and speaking abilities, which Al Gore, John Kerry, and Hillary Clinton sorely lacked. The grassroots support that Obama garnered in 2008 existed despite Messina’s campaign strategies, not because of them. In 2008, Obama was aided by Bush’s abysmal approval rating, Iraq War fatigue, the worst economic downturn since 1929, and Sarah Palin. In 2012, the GOP made the terrible decision to ignore the surge in grassroots anti-government hysteria and instead run a flip-flopping coward. The candidates in those elections won or lost mostly because of their individual qualities, not because of gifted strategists or lack thereof.

Messina’s disastrous failures are not his alone. The cottage industry of political consultancy is built to swindle campaigns. The expensive strategies recommended by top consultants bring to mind a mechanic selling a series of unnecessary repairs and upgrades to a car-illiterate customer. Everyone gets the premium windshield wipers -- the stock ones snap like a twig. Campaign in Labour strongholds rather than defending your own seats. Working-class voters will turn out if you promise to bring back the ivory trade and legalize fox hunting. But, like any form of embezzlement, this kind of salesmanship works best during an economic bubble, and when the bubble pops, everyone suddenly starts paying closer attention to the budget. Faced with the possibility that they may never win again, establishment politicians have no choice but to clean house. If even a faint shadow of meritocracy still exists in London and D.C., the closest Jim Messina will ever get to politics again is if the Capitol Building hires him as a janitor.
Unless the Establishment is able to make another soulless consultant, the dopplegänger, win. Harry Enten for CNN: "Buttigieg's core support may position him to seem more popular to national media than he actually is... Buttigieg does best among wealthier Democrats. Take a look at recent polling from California (Quinnipiac University), Iowa (Monmouth University) and nationally (Quinnipia). In all three cases, Buttigieg's support more than doubles as one goes from voters making less than $50,000 to greater than $100,000. The jump is rather dramatic in the Iowa poll, which had Buttigieg at 7% among those earning less than $50,000 and at 15% with those earning more than $100,000. The national media tends to live in the wealthiest areas. The New York City and Washington, DC, metropolitan areas are both in the top 3% for per capita incomes among metro or micropolitan areas. Buttigieg also seems to be doing his best among white Democrats. His support among white Democrats in the Quinnipiac poll of California and nationally stood at 8% and 6% respectively. Among the nonwhite crosstab listed in those places (Hispanics in California and African-Americans nationally), it was at 2% and 0% respectively."

But he sure understands the power of branding and marketing. How could you come out of McKinsey and not? I bet he's even better than Trump at it. Just what we need in a president!

Apart from being flavors of the week that no one knew anything about, Beto and Pete have something else in common: two gentrifiers. Reporting from South Bend for BuzzFeedNews, Henry Gomez wrote that Pete's gentrification plan included knocking down hundreds of homes in black and Latino neighborhoods. "Buttigieg, the improbable, suddenly upper-tier Democratic contender, treats the initiative as an unfailing example of his executive leadership and one that shows why the mayor of South Bend, Indiana (population 102,000), deserves a promotion to the White House. Buttigieg gave himself a nice, round-numbered goal and an urgent deadline: 1,000 vacant and abandoned houses bulldozed or repaired within 1,000 days. Then he finished ahead of schedule."
“In some ways, it was a classic example of data-driven management paying off,” Buttigieg writes in his recent political memoir. “But the most important impact of the effort was unquantifiable. Hitting such an ambitious goal made it easier for residents to believe we could do very difficult things as a city, at a time when civic confidence had been in short supply for decades.”

But the story of what happened in between-- of an ambitious white leader literally plowing ahead before addressing concerns in the community of color-- is not the story Buttigieg, 37, tells. You won’t read about that part in his book. You likely won’t hear about it when Buttigieg, who would be the youngest and first openly gay president, preaches “intergenerational justice,” or Sunday, when he's expected to officially launch his campaign from the city's revitalized downtown.

The fallout from his approach to urban redevelopment has relevance in a primary where candidates promote economic and racial equality. The “1,000 Houses in 1,000 Days” program promoted neither, at least not at first, in the minds of critics who spoke to BuzzFeed News.

... The mayor’s data-driven approach, which he nurtured in his twenties as a consultant for the global management firm McKinsey & Co., has impressed the council president. “There’s a lot of concern sometimes to try new things,” Scott said. “Pete was really good about trying new things. He always has data.”

To others, the Buttigieg way is often too rigid, and devoid of the human touch.

“If you’re going to argue with him, you better have some good data,” said one critic, who requested anonymity for fear of political retaliation in a city where Buttigieg easily won reelection in 2015. “But he’ll still tell you he has better data.”

One thing before we get to Type O Negative. When Messina told Jonathan Karl that he feels Bernie can't beat Trump because if you just "look at swing voters in this country they are incredibly focused on the economy [and] Bernie Sanders is unlikely going to be able to stand up to the constant barrage that is Donald Trump on economic issues," there was virtually no sense at all being made. And Karl didn't challenge him. Did they not watch the Fox News town hall from Bethlehem, PA, Trump-country? Everyone else seems to have been watching it. According to Nielsen it was the most-watched town hall of the 2020 campaign so far (2.5 million viewers), totally beating MSNBC and CNN town halls, for Bernie and for all of the other candidates. It brought in 489,000 viewers between the ages of 25 and 54-- a key demographic for cable-news advertisers-- trouncing CNN’s 281,000 tally and MSNBC’s 208,000. So... McKinsey Pete's handlers are already negotiating with Fox for his own town hall.

Who was in that audience that wound up chanting "Bernie, Bernie, Bernie" by the end, that audience where it looked like everyone was ready to tear up their private insurance card and sign on for Medicare-For-All on the spot?

Looks like someone's gettin' a lane 

Bethlehem is a small city of around 75,000 that spans the border between Leigh and Northampton counties, just east of Allentown. Charlie Dent had represented the area since 2004 but he retired and Democrat Susan Wild beat Republican Marty Nothstein to replace him. In 2016, Hillary beat Bernie in both counties during the primary and then in the general, Hillary beat Trump by just over 4 points in Lehigh County and Trump beat Hillary by around the same margin in Northampton County. There were lots of Trump voters and Hillary voters and they don't seem to have the same problem with Bernie that the consulting class does. OK, you earned it-- Type O Negative, goth from Brooklyn. (Spoiler: they changed Joe to Pete in the song, not because of Buttigieg but because the lead singer is Peter Steele.)

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At 5:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

messina might be a serial failure, but he will never lack for a job because he is loyal to the money.

"The grassroots support that Obama garnered in 2008 existed despite Messina’s campaign strategies, not because of them. In 2008, Obama was aided by Bush’s abysmal approval rating, Iraq War fatigue, the worst economic downturn since 1929, and Sarah Palin."

Yep. 2008... big anti-red tsunami plus lots of infrequent black voters due to obamanation's melanin. lost 15 million of them in 2010's anti-blue bloodbath. 2012 the Nazis made the same mistake the democraps made in 2016 -- nom'd a shitty campaigner cuz it was his turn. the Nazi electorate was not filled with hate and fear just as the left was not impressed with $hillbillary's lefty bona fides.

Please note, however, that no matter what anti- wave is in effect, the election is always purely pro-greenbacks. the money is always served.

2020 shall be no different.

At 8:29 AM, Anonymous ap215 said...

Nice mention of Type O Negative Howie since i'm from Brooklyn & a huge fan of their music by the way his full name is Peter Paul Montgomery Buttigieg & i won't vote him because he's for The Establishment take note world.

At 9:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyone who ever worked for a company restructured by McKinsey would never vote for someone else whose job was to do the restructuring. There is nothing like watching your workday become little more than writing data reports for the jobs you manage to get done; after which the paperwork is to be distributed to ten times the number of managers you once just talked to. Then the worker gets blamed for less work actually getting done.

You want a government of this??? Elect a McKinsey alumnus, and you will!

At 9:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The country would be in a much better place if guys like Pete and Beto were capable of winning GOP primaries. These guys are both Rockefeller Republicans at heart. Both are obviously much better than Trump, but we should expect much more than that. Pete is obviously smart and professionally accomplished, but the way that he handled the gentrification push in South Bend and the homelessness issue, combined with the McKinsey background, suggest a real lack of concern and understanding for the precarity that so many Americans live with.

At 11:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

all any sentient being need know about mayor pete and beto is they both are running as democraps. and democraps are half of the total problem in this cluster fuck of a shithole.

you can't fix it if you keep half the problem running it.

At 12:41 PM, Blogger DownWithTyranny said...

Anonymous at 9:44 AM-- BINGO!


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