Sunday, March 07, 2010

"A little humility would be nice"

There's an article by Quin Hillyer in The American Spectator that discusses how Obama and his team fail to embody the "America we grew up with . . . . the national ethos that we love." Likening Obama most nearly to Woodrow Wilson, Hillyer says in "Not the American Way": "There is something way off balance in the character of Barack Obama. Something in the realm of zealotry, with a touch of megalomania, and perhaps an authoritarian impulse too." It's an excellent read.

There's another article in the NYT "Policy" section by Mark Leibovich, an interview with White House senior advisor David Axelrod: "Message Maven Finds Fingers Pointing at Him." As usual, Axelrod waxes defiant when confronted with critics who suggest that anything the ObamaTeam has done might be the slightest bit off-kilter: "Mr. Axelrod was often defiant, saying he did not give a 'flying' expletive about what the peanut gallery thinks." [Again, a little humility would be nice, but it's obviously never gonna come from Axelrod.]

The article goes on to say that the list of people who bring "bad news" to the president is a short one, and Axelrod is probably number one on the list. But since he is also Obama's sychophant-in-chief, you wonder how much "bad news" actually gets to the president's ear. Axelrod is such a "swooning loyalist" for Obama, that he's been called a "Moonie"; or, as Robot Gibbs joked, "the guy who walks in front of the president with rose petals." If that's how they describe the chief purveyor of bad news to Obama, then no wonder the president thinks he can do no wrong.

Axelrod has a lot of influence with the president: he is "often at the president's side; he sits in on policy and national security meetings, and is routinely the last person [Obama] talks to before making a decision." He also directs pretty much everything that goes into the White House "message," directing the administration's presentation, overseeing polls, focus group, and speeches, and appearing on Sunday shows" (although of course never on Chris Wallace's show on Fox News which is watched by more people than the three regular network shows combined--hey Ax, maybe that's a part of the "message" you might want to rethink--just sayin').

So what is Axelrod's problem? Why is he failing to communicate Obama's "message" to the country? Anita Dunn, Mao sympathizer and former White House communications director, may have the answer: "In a campaign, you're not held to the same standard of actually doing what you say you're going to do," said Dunn. No shit, Anita? Who could have known.

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