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Sunday, September 07, 2008

Axelrod spinning out of control on Palin and related topics

Obama campaign czar David Axelrod was hilarious on Fox News Sunday this morning. Pressed by host Chris Wallace as to whether Sen. Obama thinks he has more executive experience than Gov. Palin, Mr. Axelrod first exploded into a litany of non-responsive Obama campaign talking points, a filibuster that probably lasted for two minutes. When Mr. Wallace, clearly amused, simply repeated the question, Mr. Axelrod hemmed and hawed and finally pointed out that they weren't running against Gov. Palin but against Sen. McCain, and further said that they'd let the American people decide whether Sen. Obama has enough experience. Well, yes, I suppose they will — and let's hope they remember that you had absolutely no answer to this question, Mr. Axelrod.

David Axelrod? Or J. Wellington Wimpy?   David Axelrod? Or J. Wellington Wimpy?

Better still was when Mr. Wallace asked Mr. Axelrod to name an example of Sen. Obama standing up against his own party. The best Mr. Axelrod could come up with was "ethics reform." He's referring, of course, to the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2007, whose principal sponsor was Sen. Russ Feingold. Sen. Obama was one of seventeen co-sponsors. And it passed the Senate by a vote of 96 to 2. Since both of the "nay" votes were Republicans (Sens. Orin Hatch and Tom Coburn), it's pretty hard to paint this as Sen. Obama "standing up against his own party." (The best Mr. Axelrod could come up with was to claim that many Democrats were secretly against the bill, which is hardly a ringing endorsement of his party, now, is it?)

Quizzed about Sen. Obama's long-belated admission this week to Bill O'Reilly that "the Surge has succeeded in ways that nobody anticipated, including Pres. Bush and the other supporters," Mr. Axelrod insisted that the Surge still hasn't created a political reconciliation in Iraq. If political reconciliation and legislative success is the sole standard, however, then the do-nothing Democratic Congress of which Sen. Obama is a part is surely a bigger failure.

On the best of days, Mr. Axelrod still looks like he's recovering from a bad hang-over, but this morning he looked particularly haggard to me. I keep expecting him to say, "I'd gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today." (Or perhaps to complain that Gov. Palin has been stealin' his bucket.) I think Gov. Palin's addition to the GOP ticket is giving David Axelrod serious indigestion.

To Chris Wallace's credit, when Mr. Axelrod was followed by Rick Davis, the manager of the McCain-Palin campaign, he asked a series of equally tough questions about Gov. Palin. One, however, particularly amused me: When would Gov. Palin submit to tough questioning by the press? Mr. Davis pointed out that Gov. Palin has just made a speech to 40 million people, and that the press during the past week haven't exactly indicated that they would give Gov. Palin a fair and impartial opportunity. What I would have added would have been: "Chris! Have you forgotten that your Obama Watch clock, measuring how long Sen. Obama was stonewalling your request for an interview, ran for over 730 days?"

There's zero doubt that reporters all over America are sharpening their potential "Gotcha!" questions: "Tell us, Gov. Palin, how you would deal with the kumquat shortage in Kumquatistan, and by the way, can you tell us the name of the deputy assistant secretary of fruit there?" Gov. Palin deserves some preparation time before she dives into what Mr. Davis aptly described as a pool of piranhas. And I remain confident that in due course, throughout the campaign, Gov. Palin will prove to be her own best advocate.

Posted by Beldar at 09:11 AM in 2008 Election, McCain, Obama, Palin, Politics (2008) | Permalink


Other weblog posts, if any, whose authors have linked to Axelrod spinning out of control on Palin and related topics and sent a trackback ping are listed here:

» POLITICS: Obama and the Integrity Gap: "New Politics," Principled Positions, and Conclusion from Baseball Crank

Tracked on Oct 14, 2008 9:18:00 AM


(1) Beto Ochoa made the following comment | Sep 7, 2008 10:26:03 AM | Permalink

The best Mr. Axelrod could come up with was to claim that many Democrats were secretly against the bill, which is hardly a ringing endorsement of his party, now, is it?

I laughed out loud to my wife, "So the democrats were against ethics reform?"
If I took it that way, most people took it that way.
Rifle. Foot. Discharge. Fail.

(2) Mark made the following comment | Sep 7, 2008 10:47:54 AM | Permalink

All one needs is video and the ad writes itself. :)

(3) Randy R made the following comment | Sep 7, 2008 10:58:43 AM | Permalink

The Obama campaign is really trapped in a box right now. I suspect their internal polling about the impact Palin is having on the race has them nervous but they have no idea yet how to respond. They can't really go on the offensive against the VP candidate of the other party without elevating her in stature and they can't ignore her because comparisons keep being made between Palin and Obama.

What they're hoping for is that the media will find something that will gain traction in bringing her down but the public backlash against the knee-jerk reaction to her announcement has forced the media to moderate its tone while making the public more skeptical about future media revelations about Palin.

If the polling over the next couple of days shows McCain taking the lead, though, all bets are off. Democrats and the media will be in full panic mode and we may begin to hear the death rattle of MSM credibility.

(4) Cherie made the following comment | Sep 7, 2008 12:28:47 PM | Permalink

re: "Democrats and the media will be in full panic mode and we may begin to hear the death rattle of MSM credibility." by Randy....

I have to say after yesterday's CNN reporting, I have lost any respect for them. Especially after their "interview" with Wooten, which was a joke. Did anyone really think this guy was capable of giving an honest answer to anything? And the CNN reporter literally spit the word "she" out, anytime he was referring to Gov. Palin.

(5) stan made the following comment | Sep 7, 2008 12:47:46 PM | Permalink

The pitiful response of the Obama campaign to Palin reveals much of their shortcomings. On another thread I wrote that it would be interesting to read a good analysis of why some conservative pundits missed on Palin. It would also be fun to read one on how silly the liberal pundits were. Obviously, a whole lot of people were completely lost without a well-established CW to mouth (or react to).

But the Palin choice by McCain, rather than a misstep by the GOP nominee, has revealed some serious weaknesses in Obama and his staff. First, given all the interest in Palin (e.g. see a previous post here at Beldar), it is amazing that Obama had nothing at all prepared, if she were the choice. Second, the initial reaction was a clear disaster. Third, even after they tried to row back the initial misstep, they had a series of false steps in trying to dance into a coherent response. We now know that the Obama campaign pushed its surrogates to suggest the Eagleton meme to the MSM and they did.

Even now, it is clear that Obama and Axelrod are fumbling around without a clue. We have seen a clear demonstration that Obama isn't ready for the 3 AM phone call. In fact, he doesn't seem to be ready for a phone call any time of day. He doesn't react quickly and effectively. Apparently, he doesn't even react slowly and effectively.

Watching how long it takes Obama to come up with an idea on how to respond to Palin will tell us even more about him. If running his campaign is his claim to executive fame, he is flunking at handling this curve ball.

(6) arb made the following comment | Sep 7, 2008 1:12:01 PM | Permalink

Mr. Axelrod will gladly answer you Tuesday for a hamburger today.

(7) mckasklep made the following comment | Sep 7, 2008 11:05:15 PM | Permalink

Obviously the question of who has more relevant experience is something which is above Mr. Axelrod's "pay grade."

(8) Gregory Koster made the following comment | Sep 8, 2008 1:40:27 AM | Permalink

Dear Mr. Dyer: Governor Palin is supposedly ready to step into McC's shoes if he kicks the bucket, right? So what is this:

"Gov. Palin deserves some preparation time before she dives into what Mr. Davis aptly described as a pool of piranhas."

There's a risk that Palin will blow an encounter with the press. But the rewards are juicy:

a) Palin looks strong, reflecting credit on McC

b) the more unfair the press is, the greater the chance of blowback. Your commenters, of whom I am one, are fond of denouncing the press and corrupt rogues and imbeciles, who are going to collapse of their own knavery. I don't completely agree with this, particularly in re the New York TIMES, but why not grab the possibility?

c) Palin's choice is a high-risk/high-reward choice. Having taken the risk, McC-P had better follow through, or they'll be swapping a bright future for Might Have Been.

Sincerely yours,
Gregory Koster

(9) A.Reader made the following comment | Sep 8, 2008 6:52:34 AM | Permalink

It is reassuring to know that the MSM has its editorial priorities right:

“Editors in the print media are shifting terrorism experts on their staffs towards investigations of political candidates. At least three such reporters at three major papers are now chasing Sarah Palin stories” [http://counterterrorismblog.org/2008/09/mainstream_media_diverting_ter.php].

(10) UpNights made the following comment | Sep 8, 2008 7:51:26 AM | Permalink

LOL on the Wimpy side-by-side!

As for:

"Dear Mr. Dyer: Governor Palin is supposedly ready to step into McC's shoes if he kicks the bucket, right? So what is this:

'Gov. Palin deserves some preparation time before she dives into what Mr. Davis aptly described as a pool of piranhas.'"

All three other candidates, as well as all those who've run this year, have been being briefed on the national and international issues for at least two years. Palin only knew recently that she was going to be on the national stage this year. She's got to have a little time to get briefed on the wide variety of issues on which she will be asked to comment. I expect that she will do fine in the debate and the interviews. That will show her ability to step in as president, since presidents are confronted with unexpected crises, and since nobody can be an expert about everything, they have to be briefed by experts and be able to absorb and comprehend a lot of information and make decisions. So, if Palin can get up to speed quickly enough to do well at the debate and the interviews, that will indicate a lot about her presidential abilities. However, she will need to get informed and form opinions about many issues any number of which might come up in a debate or interview, which is a less focused situation than a president being confronted with a crisis, so I don't think it's unreasonable
for her to need a little time right now to be briefed by McCain's advisors (and, let's not forget that those are better advisors than Obama's!).

(11) Neo made the following comment | Sep 8, 2008 8:11:54 AM | Permalink

Frankly, I really wondered if that line in Palin's speech about Obama not being chief sponsor of any signed major legislation as was true.

So I went to thomas.loc.gov and looked. It is shamefully true.

He has a couple in the pipe this session, but a few of those are stuck in committee, with the 'Global Poverty Act' having the best chance for a Presidential veto, due to the $835 billion over 13 years price tag.

(12) Jim Treacher made the following comment | Sep 8, 2008 4:34:06 PM | Permalink

You know what's an interesting search phrase?

axelrod astroturfing

Remind you of anything we've seen over the past 10 days?

(13) liontooth made the following comment | Sep 8, 2008 4:57:24 PM | Permalink

Love the picture of Axelrod with the burger

(14) BJ made the following comment | Sep 8, 2008 6:53:48 PM | Permalink

Anyone who thinks Palin is "hiding" from the MSM should take a look at this long C-SPAN interview from February (in three parts).

The contrast between Palin's poise and ability to frame a response in plain language and Obama's halting, cicular responses to O'Reilly is striking.

Palin also seems to have a adequate policy knowledge base for a first term governor.

(15) distantobserver made the following comment | Sep 14, 2008 10:25:21 AM | Permalink

My husband is a conservative in European terms and our family's living standard is above that of the average American (we have lived in America long enough to know that for sure), but even he acknowledges that something is VERY SICK in American society. some kind of internal decay that is eating away at you. Possibly related to high obesity rates (very fat peole have trouble thinking clearly, that's a medical fact)and the constant educational dumbing down that has gone on for decades. Do you know that a former East European country such as Estonia ranks 5th (FIFTH) in worldwide education measurements while the US ranks 29th? You've had a president that has been a sheer disaster in policy-making (I wish I had a stronger word here) and who has succeeded in making America the laughing stock of the world, and you not only want four years "more of the same", you want four years WORSE! In an occupied totalitarian society people are NOT responsible for their government but in a democracy they are. Americans used to vote for educated, intelligent people for president (both Republican and Democrat, think of Eisenhower, Lincoln, JFK, Clinton), now they choose a hunting hockey-mum (and, bear in mind, I am female and a feminist) just because they can have a beer with her! They can relate to her lust in killing wolves, and her arrogance that is devoid of any self-criticism whatsoever. She's the gal! She is shooting things, a true-blue American! They are so dumbed down by mindless TV shows that the charisma of a moron is enough to grant the Republicans a victory. Educated, smart people are now a minority and they feel ASHAMED to be Americans. You know, when you elected Bush the first time, we understood: you did not know him properly. But you elected him the second time! And now you are poised to elect a McCain/Palin ticket that is many times worse (and stupider) than Bush - just because Palin looks good! You are so immersed in the TV world that you mix up electing an America Idol and electing a president. Just listen: if you elect that moron ticket, the world will continue to do what it has for the last four years. Do not flatter yourselves: we do not HATE you , we DESPISE you, we LOOK DOWN upon you as illiterate, uneducated rednecks and we have every reason to do so. In every democratic coutnry, the people deserve their government - and the contempt (I repeat, not hatred, just contempt) that a government of stupid rednecks evokes will be deserved. All of you commentators here, you'll deserve the contempt. And this year I am not going to another Sorryeverybody website where intelligent, educated Americans are broken-hearted and apologise to the whole world for the second victory of that mentally challenged candidtate. Sorry, I know there are normal, educated, admirably intelligent people in the US, I have lived more than a year there, but they are increasingly in the minority and their apologies will not be moving me to tears any more. I feel sorry for them, and I am scared like hell that that moron from Alaske will have access to the nuclear button (repeat. I am a FEMALE professional, plus a specialist in American affairs), but if these smart people cannot overcome the sheer ignorance and stupidity of the kind of people who comment here (and who do not know that government has actually GROWN tremendously under Bush and will keep growing under McCain/Palin) and seem to form the majority of the Contented Electoral Majority, and the smart ones cannot even acquaint them with the supremely sensible views of Obama/Biden - well, tough luck. And just for you to know, we Europeans have a stronger currency, a stronger economy and, believe it or not, even former East-Europeans have, on average, a higher quality of life than you do. And your dollar is weak, and you are borrowing from China to pay to the Saudi Arabian terrorist-supporting regime and your economy is a huge mess, and we were in New York just recently to enjoy things that your middle class cannot afford - and under McCain/Palin it is guaranteed to get far. far worse - but, once more, a people deserves its goverment. So if you get higher and higher unemployment (which will very soon affect you commentators here, too), and an economic collapse - which will happen under your wolf-hunting , beer-drinking VP to become president soon, and more and more Europeans are coming and enjoying the virtues of the weak and weakening dollar - well, every people under democracy deserve their goverment. That's the fate you have forged for yourselves by simply being small-minded and mind-bogglingly uniformed. Best of luck with your worse than Bush's third term.

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