Friday, August 19, 2005

WHIG of the Week -- Andrew H. Card, Jr. , White House Chief of Staff and Product Marketing Expert

Andrew H. "Andy" Card, Jr., automobile industry lobbyist turned chief assistant to the CEO of BUSHCHENEYCo, Inc. (click for official bio here), could very well be remembered in the history texts and quotation anthologies of our future (assuming, optimists that we are, that we have a future) for two things: 1) the interruption of his boss's reading of My Pet Goat pictured to the right, and 2) the fact that he said to Elizabeth Bumiller of the New York Times that "you don't introduce new products in August." That quote certainly seems relevant to the Whiggate Update blog, which is getting a slow start in its first summer month of operation, but still planning to get the term "Whiggate" injected into the political dialogue of the nation in September. The article that included Andy Card's famous nugget of marketing wisdom is also a good recap of the way the White House Iraq Group (WHIG) worked in July and August of 2002 to implement the objectives of the Downing Street Memo (DSM) in the cynical runup to September 11 and 12. Though WHIG wasn't mentioned by name in this front page article (the mention of the group still has yet to make its first appearance in the Times!), three of its other prominent members are mentioned (Rove, Hughes, and Rice) in this early report on the most cynical product launch of the 21st century.

Click here for the full text on SF Indymedia for free, or here if you want to pay to read the whole thing for a fee from the New York Times, or just keep scrolling down if you want to read a lenghy block from this key reference:
Saturday, September 7, 2002 Pg. A1, A6

By Elizabeth Bumiller

WASHINGTON, Sept. 6 – White House officials said today that the administration was following a meticulously planned strategy to persuade the public, the Congress and the allies of the need to confront the threat from Saddam Hussein.

The rollout of the strategy this week, they said, was planned long before President Bush’s vacation in Texas last month. It as not hastily concocted, they insisted, after some prominent Republicans began to raise doubts about moving against Mr. Hussein and administration officials made contradictory statements about the need for weapons inspectors in Iraq.

The White House decided, they said, that even with the appearance of disarray it was still more advantageous to wait until after Labor Day to launch their plan.

“From a marketing point of view,” said Andrew H. Card Jr., the White House chief of staff who is coordinating the effort, “you don’t introduce new products in August.”

A centerpiece of the strategy, White House officials said, is to use Mr. Bush’s speech on Sept. 11 to help move Americans toward support of action against Iraq, which could come early next year.

“Everybody felt that was a moment that Americans wanted to hear from him,” said Karl Rove, Mr. Bush’s chief political advisor. Sept. 11 will also be a time, Mr. Rove said, “to seize the moment to make clear what lies ahead.”

Toward that end, in June the White House picked Ellis Island in New York Harbor, not Governors Island, as the place where President Bush is to deliver his Sept. 11 address to the nation. Both spots were considered, White House advisors said, but the television camera angles were more spectacular from Ellis Island, where the Statue of Liberty will be seen aglow behind Mr. Bush.

“We had made a decision to that this would be a compelling story either place,” said Dan Bartlett, the White House communications director. “We sent a team out to go look and they said, ‘This is a better shot,’ and we said O.K.”

In the same way, Mr. Bush’s Sept. 11 remarks, about 10 minutes in length, are to serve as the emotional precursor for a tougher speech about Iraq that the president is to deliver to the United Nations General Assembly the following day.
White House officials said they began planning more intensively for the Iraq rollout in July, even as Mr. Bush was busy responding to the summer’s corporate scandals. Advisors consulted the Congressional calendar to figure out the best time for Iraq hearings while Ms. Hughes, even as she was driving back to Texas, discussed with Mr. Bush the outlines of his Sept. 11 speech.

By August, with Congress out of town and the United Nations not convening until September, White House officials decided to wait out the month, even as final planning continued by phone between advisors in Washington and at Mr. Bush’s ranch in Texas.

“There was a deliberate sense that this was not the time to engage in his process,” Mr. Rove said. “The thought was in August the president is sort of on vacation.” [...]

"Sort of" like now, and every other August of his pampered life. Let's hope they don't have any new products planned for rollout in two weeks.

crossposted from WHIGGATE UPDATE (

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