Free Markets, Free People

Hippie punching the professional left

Is the carefully nurtured relationship begun by the then Obama campaign between them and the "professional left" fraying at the edges?

Apparently some among the progressive blogosphere are tired of carrying the administration’s water:

On a conference call to give the progressives their marching orders was our friend David Axelrod smoozing the bloggers. :

"You play a great role in informing people about the stakes of elections," Axelrod told the bloggers. "One of the reasons I was eager to expend time was to enlist you."

But that didn’t set particularly well with at least one blogger – Susan Madrak of Crooks and Liars:

That tension burst out into the open when Madrak directly asked Axelrod: "Have you ever heard of hippie punching?" That prompted a long silence from Axelrod.

"You want us to help you, the first thing I would suggest is enough of the hippie punching," Madrak added. "We’re the girl you’ll take under the bleachers but you won’t be seen with in the light of day."

Yeah, well, guess what – they actually expected the administration to do what it said it was going to do.  Apparently, like the woman who confronted the President at the most recent town hall, they’re dead tired of defending him.

Fun stuff.  My guess is Robert Gibbs will have a coronary.  But it is very indicative of the tension and lack of trust that now exists between two groups that were once simpatico.  

The problem can be distilled into an easily digestible sentence – the administration has not done what it promised the “professional left” it would do.

So – is this just a fight or is it a break up? 

Where would the professional left go?  Who would they support?  How would they get anything done … anything at all? 

Well that depends I think.  Many of those Gibbs tagged as the “professional left” are a part of the radical left.  They’d actually be quite comfortable if there was a real “progressive” third party choice.  At the moment there isn’t and Obama, who they were gulled into thinking was the answer to all their liberal dreams, hasn’t fulfilled the promises they wrote on the blank slate Obama presented.

Not much of a surprise for those who’ve observed politics for more than a day.

But back to the conference call:

"To the extent that we shouldn’t get involved in intramural skirmishing, I couldn’t agree more," Axelrod said. "We just can’t afford that. There are big things at stake here."

Madrak replied that Axelrod was missing the point — that the criticism of the left made it tougher for bloggers like herself to motivate the base. "Don’t make our jobs harder," she said.

"Right back at’cha. Right back at’cha," Axelrod replied, a bit testily, an apparent reference to blogospheric criticism of the administration.

This isn’t going to get any better.  If anything, it is going to get worse.  And whoever replaces Axelrod and takes over the outreach has their work cut out for them.  As Greg Sargent concludes:

At any rate, for Axelrod to plead with liberal bloggers for their help turning out the base, only to get accused of "hippie punching," is an iconic moment in Campaign 2010.




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18 Responses to Hippie punching the professional left

  • I want the world,
    I want the whole world.
    I want to lock it all up in my pocket
    It’s my bar of chocolate
    Give it to me now!

    In all fairness, partisans from all sides often feel disappointed when the campaign is over and all the high-flown promises come to wreck and ruin on the shoals of political reality.  For the left, it’s particularly bitter as The Annointed One (as he was then known) was sold as perfection: there would be no dissapointments because he not only could skillfully navigate the rocks and shoals but would actually make them disappear through the force of his post-partisan rhetoric and the power of his unifying personality.  The left really bought into the whole Lightworker meme and now they are surprised (shocked, dismayed, demoralized) to find that their messiah is just another run-of-the-mill politician who told them what they wanted to hear in order to get their votes, only to pursue his own agenda once safely in office.

    O’ course, as far as the right (and a growing number of independents) is concerned, The Dear Golfer has been only too successful: he rammed through Porkulus, health care, financial “reform”, took over GM and Chrysler, and has Wall Street terrified.  Why, then, are lefties unhappy with him?

    1.  They feel taken for granted

    2.  He hasn’t gone far enough!

    3.  It just… isn’t working out they way they thought it would

    I think that the last is crucial.  Lefties really believed that their policies – free health care, more government spending, more regulation – would lead to paradise.  Instead, we’ve got national malaise like we haven’t had since the ’70s, we’re bankrupt, and a growing number of Americans who normally don’t care about politics are after their electoral hides.  “This wasn’t supposed to happen!!!”

    One feels almost sorry for them: they are like a spoiled brat who got the best, most expensive toy that he always wanted, only to find that it doesn’t work like it does on the commericals and really isn’t as much fun as he thought it would be.


    (*) I Want It Now!
    Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley; performed by Julie Dawn Cole
    Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971; dir. Mel Stuart)

    • “The left really bought into the whole Lightworker meme and now they are surprised (shocked, dismayed, demoralized) to find that their messiah is just another run-of-the-mill politician who told them what they wanted to hear in order to get their votes, only to pursue his own agenda once safely in office.”
      I guess they weren’t paying attention to the Damian movies – as I recall, both the good guys AND the bad guys got screwed by young Obama Damian…
      Ah, sweet justice.

  • 1) More rubes self-identify

    2) It’s a non-story, because they’ll do their jobs like the good little lap dogs they are.  All of these stories about the discontent with Obama from his supporters, almost all will return to the fold.  After all, what’s the alternative? Letting one of those racist, evil tea-partiers win?

  • It’s bad enough that I have to go look up …

    Hippie Punch — A hippie punch is when you’re working your way to the front of a show by performing a dancing, punching motion, therefore annoying audience members so they simply move out of the way and let you pass making your way through the crowd….closer to the jams.

    Then it’s back to the winning of the Left. Frankly, the best thing that could happen to America would be to have a Hurricane Katrina hit DC and force this idiots out into the countryside with the rest of the “rubes.”

    • Does anybody think that the White House is going to listen to Crooks and Liars, Kos, or Think Progress any more now than they did before Obama was elected.  They are merely “useful idiots”  (I’m sure that Bruce sees his channel to the Oval Office coming in 2012 .. LOL).
      Besides, I doubt these various personalities could agree on where to eat lunch, let alone anything of substance.

  • Financial hard times strain most relationships…especially family relationships.  The Obami and their brides in the Collectivist intelligentsia (or UN-intelligentsia more aptly) are finding their honeymoon period long over.  That magic person who they knew would know their needs and desires instinctively, and would bring them their rainbows and unicorns has proven to be…less than even an ordinary guy.
    He’s not pure.  Hell, a lot of the time, he’s NOT THERE…even when he’s in the room.   And worst of all, he’s abusing his little brides the same way that pig/Nazi/chimp/moron used to abuse them.  It’s like they just traded one guy for the next abuser.  And, OF COURSE, they defend him from critics…that’s what the submissive spouse does.  Oh, he says the right things, and he DOES loath the America they loath, but he leaves them for those pneumatic blonds of big business.  He’s a pig, just like all of them…worse, in fact.  He’ll tell his little brides anything to make them stay.  And they will.  He’s all they have, and they’re afraid.

  • The problem can be distilled into an easily digestible sentence – the administration has not done what it promised the “professional left” it would do.

    I respectfully disagree with this.  The problem is that Obama did do what the professional left wanted it to but that the results were not what was expected.  This is a problem of the professional left not being grounded in reality.  They want more government yet scoff at the power of K Street in Washington.  They just don’t want to realize that there is a symbiotic relationship there.  The more power you give to government the more power K Street ends up having which is the exact opposite of what the professional left wants.  So the professional left ends up being their own worst enemy and until they realize that government is not their friend then they will have this problem.  I won’t hold my breath waiting for this to happen as it would pretty much require them to change their view of government.

    • When you keep taking a boatload of money from the “rich” as taxes, the rich are going to make sure that they are heard on Capitol Hill.   The rise of K Street is tied directly to the amount of taxes coming from the “rich” and those “evil” corporations.

      • No man, we’re supposed to line up like good little sheep for the sheering.

      • Neo, I think only PARTLY.  When you impose fascist economics…displacing market economics…you replace competition with influence.  You replace beneficial competition with damaging influence-peddling, which is why lobbying has exploded…and will continue to explode.

        • “which is why lobbying has exploded…and will continue to explode.”
          Cue Bud Abbott and Lou Costello – “why do you want those lobby workers to starve?  You want that nice janitor that cleans the lobby floor not to have Christmas this year And what about his poor kids?”
          Ya know, it was funny when they did it, I wonder if it would have been thought so funny if they’d realized that 50 years later exactly those kind of arguments would be driving Liberal’s justifications for government program funding.

  • There is some interesting discussion of the term “hippie-punching” on Susan Madrak’s blog at:

    I’d never heard it before and was curious.

  • In addition to the netroots’s real problems and general nuttiness, I predict this moment about hippie-punching will make for further ridicule and more hippie-punching in the future.

  • Forgive my crudeness, but I think it would have been more accurate if she had accused the administration of donkey punching its support base.