Oh, for Crissakes! Put down those cabbages and rotten tomatoes! You should know me well enough by now to know that it all comes out right in the end. Now, just chill.
A day or so ago, I wrote that the Breyer retirement announcement was a true gamechanger for the Biden administration, because, skillfully managed, it would allow them to take what had been up to now an endless negative news cycle, and instead dominate the cycle with the positive vibes of the upcoming pick. I wasn’t wrong.
Just look at today, Day 1. All Biden did was to invite Breyer to the White House for a joint appearance so Breyer could make the official announcement, and then eloquently thank him for his service to the nation, and popping a Scooby Snack into his mouth. That was pretty much it, along with a general timeline for naming a pick.
And what happened? Well, for starters, it was the only thing that happened in the world today. The cable networks were wall to wall Biden-Breyer today. Every show played snippets at the top, followed by gushing talking heads, and Vegas bookies coming on to handicap the favorites. Putin may have 120,000 troops on the Ukraine border, but since he didn’t actually bomb Kiev today you didn’t hear a word.
There is no reason why this can’t become a self repeating prophecy. These are the dog days of congress. They took care of all of the important shit between the holidays. The debt ceiling and budget are kicked down the road. Voting rights and the BBB Bill are floundering. Basically, nothing is going on in congress. The White House can own the media. And here’s where Trump comes in.
Cast your mind back to the 2016 GOP primaries. It was a total mosh pit. 18 hapless losers desperately trying to shine out from all of the other losers. Eye gouging, nut kneeing, hair pulling everybody fighting for 15 minutes of air time.
Except for one man. Mr. 3 am poop tweet was a man on a mission. And better yet, he had connections. And so, every morning at no later than 5:45 am, Trump was on either Fux and Friends, or GMA, or The Today Show. They all loved him, he was free clown content. But he went on with a well prepared, pre-packaged atrocity for the day, which he dropped. And when it did, it immediately became the news cycle for the day on every network. By the time everybody else got up to shit, shower and shave, Trump already owned the cycle, all they could do was to respond to him.
That’s what the Biden White House needs to do with this protracted process. There’s nothing going on in Washington right now. Get somebody out there first thing every morning, Jen Psaki one day, Ron Klaine another, maybe Mayor Pete or Dick Durbin, the chair of the Senate Judiciary committee, and drop a golden nugget. It doesn’t matter what, so long as it whets the media’s appetite for speculation. Before McConnell even pours sour mash into his latte, the Democrats control the cycle with Justice Watch! And on days when the J6 committee has a bombshell to drop, the White House can take the day off.
Believe me folks, I spent 18 months covering Trump, and I can recite this playbook in my sleep. And when it’s done properly, it’s unstoppable. What do they say? You never get a second chance to make a first impression. What do prosecutors say? The first one in the door gets the best deal. And for the media? If it leads, it leads until something bigger knocks it off. And there ain’t much in Washington these days to knock a SCOTUS story off of the mountain. Everything else is filler.