With President Obama expected to officially announce his re-election bid on Monday, now seems like a good time to get to know Jim Messina, the man who will be managing the campaign. The last week has seen a variety of pieces about Messina, some good and some bad. Robert Creamer, a Democratic political consultant, gushed about Messina in The Huffington Post in an article unsubtly titled, "Jim Messina is a Perfect Choice to be Obama's Campaign Manager." In the fawning article, Creamer wrote: "I have no doubt whatsoever that Messina is absolutely devoted to the fulfillment of the progressive vision that is at the heart of what is special about America. And more times than not he is successful at making progress happen." At the opposite end of the spectrum, Ari Berman compared Messina to Karl Rove. "As deputy chief of staff, Messina held the same position once occupied by Karl Rove (and Josh Lyman on The West Wing)," Berman wrote. "He worked as a top lieutenant for Rahm Emanuel and became the administration’s lead enforcer after Emanuel left for Chicago." Putting a Democrat's name in the same sentence as Karl Rove, is there a more flagrant insult?
But the real substantive Messina piece is Jeff Zeleny's profile of the campaign manager in today's edition of the New York Times. Zeleny does what he can to illuminate the man he calls, "the most influential person in the president’s inner circle whom many people have never heard of." He creates a portrait of a man willing and able to do what it takes to accomplish the difficult task ahead of him, making a country fall back in love with Obama when he can no longer campaign under the banner of change. Zeleny also gets into why the campaign will be based away from Washington D.C. The reason: being in Chicago allows Messina and his staffers to ignore governance and just focus on getting the President reelected. Also, apparently Messina's the science to Obama's art. “I really believe that the president is the art and I am the science,” Messina told Zeleny. “You have to start out with the assumption that this will not be 2008 again.”