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.