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Was THIS guy ever any good, either? Axelrod & the Dems' Strange Strategery

Sunday evening, while out to dinner with the family at a local cafe, I happened to catch David Axelrod attempting to mount a defense against the coming electoral tide with CNN's Candy Crowley.  That the cafe's television was tuned in to this sad demonstration made for a hazardous dining experience as, the longer I listened, the more choking became a danger.  It was not that I was having difficulty swallowing Axelrod's spin.  I've tasted that spin before and I know better than to pretend it's edible, forget nutritious.  Even so, I could not help but savor the edges of his "argument,"--because, like a cheap gum one takes when offered but never bothers to buy--it hinted at a flavor that promised to resemble something tasty even though it would quickly lose all taste and I'd have to spit it out.  In this case, Axelrod's flavor was double-down lefty mint--touting the causes of Obama's coming electoral nightmare as reasons he should be celebrated. 

Axelrod proudly noted the bailouts that have produced economic stagnation, prolonged the recession, and prevented job growth; the passage "after 100 years of trying" *choke!*--ed. of health care reform; and, most important *really? MOST important?!*--ed. Obama is going to put an end to DADT and after that he's going to push for "comprehensive" immigration reform.  Now, this is not my regular fare, to be sure, but it was surprisingly tasty in this context.  Why?  Because it tells me which voters Axelrod means to impress.  And why is it that Axelrod--this late in the game--is worried about impressing . . . who, exactly?  Lefties?  He's worried about bleeding lefty votes?  The chef is focused on cooking for the regulars because his problem right now is not so much that he's not bringing in new customers (though he's certainly not), the real danger is that he's losing the old ones.  He can't be bothered right now with seasoning the dishes in ways that appeal to the masses.  Right now he's got to focus on making sure that what he's been serving up all along is cooked.

Axelrod's menu appeared to be reduced to the caveman-like proportions:  find meat, kill meat, cook meat.  No sauce, no flair, no sweeteners or sides. 

Indeed, the leftward tilt of Axelrod's defense of Obama was something to behold.  For in addition to revealing their desperation, it also revealed something of their anger and complete lack of understanding when it comes to the mood of the national electorate.  His message seemed to simmer down to this:  we've set a full table--laid out our whole menu here for your eyes to behold and your tongues to taste . . .  Why don't you like it?  It seemed to me that Axelrod's attitude was more one of anger and disbelief with the electorate for their ingratitude and, of course, lack of appreciation at Obama's great culinary efforts over the course of many hot days in the kitchen when, after all, everyone knows that George W. Bush broke the air-conditioning. 

I've heard some other commentators speculating that the frustration of those on the American Left these days--especially from within the Obama Adminstration--is stemming from the realization that they've got their fingers on all the right buttons now and, yet, things aren't working out as they imagined they should.  Their ideas do not yield the results (particularly not in the economic realm) that their ideology has taught them to anticipate.  That may be true as far as it goes and with respect to a defined group of practitioners on the Left and in the Administration.  But I think that's over-thinking the thing and does not explain the broader phenomenon.  More likely, it seems to me, is that they really did not anticipate the kick-back coming from the American people.  It is not enough for the American Left to win some elections and set their pet projects into motion--they are still pining for the energy, affection and excitement they experienced during the courting phase of their relationship with voters in the 2008 campaign.  In its place they are finding a demanding, nagging, results-oriented  spouse who is repeatedly asking pointed questions about what they've been doing with themselves all day. But the Left is beyond trying to please these voters at this point.  Their anger has moved them to the point where they shout back, "You don't understand what I've been dealing with!" and "You never appreciate anything I do for you!"  This resent-laden self-defense that they're now mounting can only appeal to the most far-gone among the infatuated.

So for now, I'm chewing on this gum and enjoying the show.  I don't expect this flavor to last for very long, however.  They can't be this self-destructive, can they?
Categories > Politics

Discussions - 8 Comments

check the NYT Magazine 2007 feature on him, where he is presented as a student of Lincoln's political strategy. Sounds more like McClellan.

He is a man lost without a campaign to wage.

I work in the computer industry. There is a saying, "Don't confuse selling with installing." Axelrod is all about selling. The installing piece of this bewilders him.

That almost works, Don but the truth is that I would not even hire Axelrod to sell computers for me . . . he'd make the mistake of trying to peddle last year's model to people who already bought one and didn't like it. It can be done, I know, but not with the kind of stuff he's dredging up. It's precisely the selling part of the equation that now seems so desperately lost on him. He needs lessons from Clinton and Carville.

The Left has usually been tone-deaf like this. Since they have the "true" vision and ALL the enlightenment, they are flabbergasted when people don't go along with the program. I mean, how else COULD they respond? The alternative is to admit that they flubbed it, and of course they never make such mistakes. They graduated from Harvard, etc.

In short, the movement of the Left is full of overly-educated not-very-wise people who have a mistaken view of human nature. Like ideologues everywhere, their response to failure is to double-down. Ultimately, what matters to such people isn't human welfare, peace, or justice, but the rectitude of their own world-view and self-image. Narcissism, plain and simple.

This was Bill Clinton's "genius." The man was (and is) a narcissist, but his variant of this disease is more personal and less ideological. He could abandon ideology to preserve his own self-image -- most Lefties can't (including his own wife, which is what makes her so scary).

One of the best comments I've read in the threads for a while, Redwald. I agree with every word of it but I especially like the middle paragraph. Bingo.

Let's not be too smug here. On the policy level, the left has had a great deal of success in the last year and a half.

That's true, David, but that 'success' came at the expense of any credibility. What Axelrod is hoping to mitigate is merely the repercussion of what we might call shafting the American people. This time, it will be a much harder sell, and so the administration senses that, if there is to be any more 'success,' it will come at an even greater price.

Yes, but it's unclear how much public opinion affects policy anymore.

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