Friday, August 26, 2011

Why did Americans allow Axelrod, Plouffe, and Daley to take over the country?

David Plouffe: "All hail the Messiah!"
Early in the Obama Administration, an upcoming Sunday sermon in my liberal church fellowship was titled, “The Obama Era.” Seriously. My God, I thought, they’ve anointed him pharaoh. I stayed home that morning.

The Obama Era emerged from the messianic campaign messages of David Axelrod and David Plouffe who, with the aid of Bill Daley, are apparently still trying to get all of us peasants to bow down to the One.

I don’t recall how Michael Tomansky responded to the Obama presidential campaign. He may or may not be one of the disillusioned who were once swept up in the glory days of 2008. Today, he’s in touch with reality in this post at the Daily Beast titled, “The Obama Team is Blowing it”:

We were told, as I recall, that Barack Obama had to seek a debt deal with the Republicans to please independent voters. Well, the independent voters are speaking, and they don’t appear to be especially appeased. There’s a new Gallup poll just out showing that independent voters hate the deal. Their views on it are far more similar to the GOP’s than to the Democratic Party’s.  Combine these data with the president’s approval numbers, which are swiftly heading south, and we have little choice but to conclude that this brilliant stratagem backfired. Isn’t it time for someone to say: this new White House political team is worse than the previous one?

First let me run you through the numbers. Americans disapprove of the deal by 46 to 39 percent. Democrats support it 58-28. Republicans oppose it 26-64. Independents oppose it 33-50. A second question asked of respondents: Was the deal a step forward or backward or neither with respect to “addressing the federal debt situation?” Democrats lined up 30-14-50. Republicans, 15-28-52. Independents, 16-25-50. Finally, independents also align more closely with Republicans on the question of whether the deal will have a good or bad effect on the economy.  Whereas 29 percent of Democrats think the effect will be good, just 12 percent of independents and 8 percent of Republicans believe that.

Let’s see, what else? The immigration speech from May? What, you don’t even remember it? If it was at least partly intended as a sop to Latino voters before the campaign really revs up, it seems to have left them largely unmoved—Obama is below 50 percent with Latinos in some surveys. OK, how about the more recent Midwestern jobs swing? Probably did no damage, but certainly did no good. The Vineyard vacation? I don’t begrudge the man a little R and R, and maybe it’s a small thing, but that destination—a bad symbol, Martha’s Vineyard. He might as well have gone to California wine country. Last I checked, there are golf courses aplenty to be found in North Carolina, New Mexico, Wisconsin, and Colorado.

When David Axelrod left to go to the campaign office in Chicago, and Rahm Emanuel left to become mayor, the spin was that David Plouffe and Bill Daley, their respective replacements, would, if nothing else, bring fresh and unwearied perspectives to these admittedly grueling and thankless jobs. But they appear to have given Obama bad advice at nearly every turn. Plouffe, from what I can see, just looks to be in over his head in this job. He was a whiz at organizing a campaign field network. But this is a different game.

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