Campbell Brown, journalist caterpillar transformed into reformster butterfly, has been snubbed again.
When Brown set up her website, one of her stated goals was to help drive the political discussion of education. With an eye toward the 2016 Presidential race, she had set up two educati0n discussions for candidates-- one in New Hampshire for the GOP, and one in Iowa for the Dems.
But this morning Politico announced that the Iowa beauty pageant has been snubbed. None of the five candidates (come on-- did you even know there were five of them) have RSVP-ed. In fact, most have not even called to say "Nothankyouverymuch."
Writer Michael Grunwald is assisting Brown in painting the snub as the result of pressure from those pernicious unions, and while it's certainly true that Brown, in her new role of Rhee Lite, has not won any union love, I'd like to offer another explanation.
The NH beauty pageant happened, but it was not exactly a rousing success. Of the something-teen GOP candidates alive and kicking at the time, Brown scored just six-- Bush, Kasich, Fiorina, Christie, Jindal, and Walker. Millions of viewers did not tune in or log on, and no news was made. And yet then-- and now-- Brown did not offer any explanation for why ten-or-more GOP candidates did not come out to play with her. But Iowa is simply not the first and only time she's been snubbed playing this Presidential job interviewer game.
I admire Brown's guts-- she has tried to make herself into a major campaign player just by insisting that she is. But her attempt failed.
Sure, "Those unions are out to get me because I'm so big and scary, so I must be really important" makes a good narrative for keeping her brand alive. It's certainly more energizing than, "No Presidential candidates want to come talk to me because I'm nobody important and they have better things to do than talk to me and help me strengthen my brand."
Brown and some other reformster pilot fish will gladly claim they've been put upon by the union, because that makes them important. It's an old and venerable trick-- hell, if I could get Campbell Brown to attack me in print, my bloggy street cred would go way up-- but it doesn't always work. And to pretend that the Democratic party, which just fell all over itself lionizing the departing and union un-loved Arne Duncan-- well, that party hasn't shown all that much concern about upsetting the teachers unions.
At best, Brown is just a victim of the old internet adage "Don't Feed the Trolls." But it's just as likely that her Iowa shindig failed because she's just not that important or relevant.