Enough of the people
Atrios: "it's remarkable and distressing that while the right wing noise machine hasn't managed to move public opinion on Iraq at all, it's been quite successful at moving the elite discourse and perhaps the opinions of lawmakers."
I think that was kind of the point. We have long since moved past the point in which the primary goal of White House PR operations was to move the public. They lost them a long time ago. What is important is to move the opinion of the 500 or so opinion makers in Washington. That's a much easier task.
The White House couldn't really give a crap about the opinion of the American people (except to the point that it isn't allowed to overly influence the opinions of the 500).
Unfortunately, many (if not most) of the 500 couldn't give a crap about the opinion of the American people either.
Abraham Lincoln famously said that "you can't fool all of the people all of the time". I've (not so famously) said that "you can fool enough of the people enough of the time". The gang of 500 is the "enough people" that need to be fooled "enough of the time".