Someone’s being mean to White House Senior Advisor David Axelrod! But somehow, I don’t think quotations like this are going to get the bullies to leave him alone on his walk home from school. In fact, I think the bullies are going to start wearing cleats from now on:
“I guess I have been castigated for believing too deeply in the president,” [Axelrod] said, lapsing into the sarcasm he tends to deploy when playing defense.
That’s right: if you made a mistake, it was only that you loved him too much. (Where does anyone get the idea that Democrats can’t take a punch? Oh, I don’t know–the fact that they’re falling all over their fainting couches because someone “castigated” them. With words! Really mean ones, I guess.)
In an interview in his office, Mr. Axelrod was often defiant, saying he did not give a “flying” expletive “about what the peanut gallery thinks” and did not live for the approval “of the political community.” [Ed. note: Weak! If you don’t give a “flying” frack, then don’t bring it up.] He denounced the “rampant lack of responsibility” of people in Washington who refuse to solve problems, and cited the difficulty of trying to communicate through what he calls “the dirty filter” of a city suffused with the “every day is Election Day sort of mentality.” [Ed note: you have to govern with the Washington you have, not the Washington you wish you had, with flying multicolored ponies and cream soda in all of the fountains and in the reflecting pool of the Lincoln Memorial.]
When asked how he would assess his performance, Mr. Axelrod shrugged. “I’m not going to judge myself on that score,” he said. But then he shot back: “Have I succeeded in reversing a 30-year trend of skepticism and cynicism about government? I confess that I have not. Maybe next year.” [Can we get red pop next year in the reflecting pool? That would be pretty, and extra-delicious.]
I’m just stunned to learn, once again, that President Barack Obama’s team really did believe that he was the magically transformational politician they marketed during the primary and general election campaigns. How could any adults actually have seriously believed that? How could anyone with even a passing acquaintance with American history believe that meaningful progressive change happens without a great deal of effort, and equal or stronger resistence thereto? What theories of presidental power are they working from–or are they all still smoking Hopium and hoping the rest of us will get a contact high from the fumes?
Seriously: does Axe think Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation after inviting slaveholders to join him for a Summit on Labor Reform at Blair House? (Of course, Lincoln didn’t sign the Emancipation Proclamation for humanitarian reasons–it was a powerful weapon of war meant to cripple the Confederacy, and it was held in reserve for maximum effect until after Robert E. Lee was turned back at Gettysburg, his only attempted invasion of the North the Union victory at Antietam. It was just a bonus that it was the morally as well as the politically right thing to do.) Anyhoo–believe it or not, the linked article gets stranger and more pathetic:
“Every time I hear that the White House is getting the message wrong, it breaks my heart,” said Mr. Axelrod’s sister, Joan, an educational therapist in Boston.
Ms. Axelrod says that while her brother is devoted to Mr. Obama, he is not a sycophant. She paused when asked whether he admired the president too much. “He is very, very loyal, sometimes to a fault,” she said.
Who the hell gives permission for his sister, or any family member, to comment on the record in a story like this? (coughRahmEmanuelcough?) I guess Axe really is at the center of the not-ready-for-prime-time White House.
“In a campaign, you’re not held to the same standard of actually doing what you say you’re going to do,” said Anita Dunn, a former White House communications director and Obama campaign adviser. Mr. Axelrod can still sound like the self-described idealist who developed Mr. Obama’s campaign message, expressing impatience with what he calls “the gritty pragmatist school that says you have just got to accept the system” in Washington. “I’m not surprised that there are people who never liked us in the first place trying to have a big ‘I told you so’ about how you really can’t change the system,” he said.
Mr. Axelrod has never lived in Washington before and has come to loathe what he calls “the palace intrigue pathology of Washington.”
And yet, he found the time for an extensive b!tchfest with a New York Times reporter, thus giving plenty of fodder for the courtiers to nosh on this week. He also nevertheless believed that one transcendently perfect man was going to change all of that “palace intrigue pathology” overnight.