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Chris Lehane: Union Buster to the Stars

by: Brian Leubitz

Wed Dec 05, 2007 at 20:20:05 PM PST

Guess who just hired Chris Lehane, the former Gore aide and consultant on the official "Fair Election Reform" (the Stephen Bing funded push against the Dirty Tricks Initiative)?  Well, if you guessed the Film and TV Producers, you're right:

Seeking to shore up its flagging public image, the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers has turned to veteran political advisors from both sides of the aisle to guide its public relations battle with Hollywood's striking writers.

The alliance announced today that it had retained Mark Fabiani and Chris Lehane, who have served as senior aides and advisors to President Clinton and Vice President Al Gore and other Democrats across the country. The group also said it hired Steve Schmidt, a close advisor to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger who served as his campaign manager in 2006. (LA Times 12.05.07)

Apparently some Democratic consultants are willing to sell their services to the highest bidder regardless of the values wrapped up in those decisions. Fun times to be a Democratic consultant, huh?

Brian Leubitz :: Chris Lehane: Union Buster to the Stars
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dammit (0.00 / 0)
I was in the midst of writing this one up.

Make. Me. Sick.

Well this oughta be fun.  Because we're about to see a battle for hearts and minds between Democratic Party insiders and the creative talent of the writing community.

If it was a boxing match, it'd be called before the first punch is thrown.

(by the way, this also shows you that the AMPTP is in it for the long haul.  They wouldn't bring on the gang that couldn't shoot straight unless they expcted this to drag on for months.)

You are absolutely right (0.00 / 0)
about thus being a sign that this is not going to end any time soon.

Though these guys do know what they are doing. Lehane knows how to work the media and Schmitt did a great job for Arnold. These are serious hires for the studios.

[ Parent ]
They're good at what they do (0.00 / 0)
in a traditional media environment.  That is not the way that this battle has unfolded.  The WGA has gotten the upper hand entirely because of new media.  The press, particularly the entertainment press like Variety, was in the tank for the studios before and they still will be.  Lehane and Fabiani and Schmidt bring nothing to the table that'll help the studios, IMO.

(also, Lehane's track record is mixed at best, and Arnold did a great job for Arnold.  Schmidt, I'm not so sure)

[ Parent ]
Yup (0.00 / 0)
This is a pretty bad environment for them to jump into. It's not like the writers laud down a whole lot of ground work to get the public support in advance of the strike. I think it has more to do with the fact that the amount of money that the studios are pulling in is so visibly large. Massive box office totals are reported all the time.

That said they are there for damage control. Its hard to imagine the studios doing a worse job than they have already, so in some respects they are starting out with a low bar.

Studio folk are big sources of Democratic cash. So I have to assume that legislators are not going to be all that pissed at them for taking these contracts. It's up to us to make some noise.  

[ Parent ]
Don't forget Fabiani (8.00 / 1)
I posted something about both Lehane and Fabiani at San Diego Politico. Down here in SD Mark Fabaini has been on the Chargers payroll for several years. Trying to convince the taxpayers about the need to pay for a new statium for the Chargers.

News, commentary and opinion dedicated to advancing a Progressive Political and Social agenda here in San Diego County.

[ Parent ]
I remember Lehane shilling (8.00 / 1)
for the construction company working on the new span of the Bay Bridge when they'd had a rash of accidents where some workers died.  It was all about the worker-blaming...

The Republican consultants have less of a conflict here -- there's no substantive difference between representing big corporations and representing the Republican Party.  So when they get rich off of corporations, it doesn't make it harder for them to represent Republican interests -- it IS representing Republican interests.

mastering disaster (0.00 / 0)
Who are they going to hire to repair their image?

Twitter: @BobBrigham

what are they going to do? (8.00 / 1)
public service announcements?

Public image repair can only go so far when you're a lying, cheating, dishonest, greedy conglomerate of allied corporations.

Me, the netroots and the WGA vs. the AMPTP and the gang that couldn't shoot straight in a public relations war?  I'll take those odds.

(full disclosure: I was under a consulting contract with the WGA.)

In an ideal world (8.00 / 1)
This would kill their chances of getting any more work from Democrats, but we all know that's never gonna happen.

You can check out any time you like but you can never leave

if they're getting one dime (8.00 / 1)
right now from the CDP, essentially my money as a member of the party, I will be raising holy hell.

[ Parent ]
As well we should (0.00 / 0)

You can check out any time you like but you can never leave

[ Parent ]
in an ideal world (0.00 / 0)
democrats would side with labor and not with management.

[ Parent ]
can't scare me, I'm sticking to the union (8.00 / 1)
I hereby forbid those two to ever hum a Pete Seeger tune again.

We don't always have to agree with with union leadership, but can't Democrats agree not to deliberately screw unions?  Why can't we rely on all Democrats for at least that?

I'm union staff, but not a spokesperson for my union - all posts represent my views solely.

This Kos diary (0.00 / 0)
is already tying the hire to Lehane's expressed support for Clinton.

That's one way to get some leverage on this.

Jeez (8.00 / 1)
I leave for FOUR hours and everything falls apart. I agree that this should but won't destroy his career with the party.  I'd assume most leverage is going to come after the fact.

The interesting thing (0.00 / 0)
of course, is that it comes at a time when talks are finally getting substantive, particularly with respect to union jurisdiction over the Internet and reality TV.  That's quite astonishing to me, as it appeared to be the first thing the WGA was ready to give up early in the strike.  This takes the model of getting the smaller things done first, and saving the big items, like residuals for content streamed online, for later.

Matt Stoller calls for Clinton to sever ties to Lehane (0.00 / 0)

Stoller's take:

Strike breaking is not ok.  Clinton knows this.  And that's why she should sever all ties with Lehane and Fabiani and put out a statement announcing this.

Disclosure: I work for the Courage Campaign. These opinions are my own and are not necessarily those of my employer.  

Chris Lehane (0.00 / 0)
Had his ass handed to him by Lawrence O'Donnell and Chris Matthews on Hardball this week.  He tried to defend Hillary's camp attacking Obama over statements Obama made when he was in kindergarten. I wish there were a vid, Lehane's facial expression was priceless. He took a little egg on his face and made an omelette.  

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