Patterico's Pontifications

3/8/2010

The “flying expletive” school of government

Filed under: General — Karl @ 5:12 pm



[Posted by Karl]

Hey, kids… it’s Howdy Doody Time at the White House:

David Axelrod was sitting at his desk on a recent afternoon — tie crooked, eyes droopy and looking more burdened than usual. He had just been watching some genius on MSNBC insist that he and President Obama’s other top aides were failing miserably and should be replaced.

***

In an interview in his office, Mr. Axelrod was often defiant, saying he did not give a “flying” expletive “about what the peanut gallery thinks” and did not live for the approval “of the political community.”

I half-sympathize with the Ax (though only half). Beltway insiders — and the journos who depend on them as sources — are always eager to blame an administration’s woes on a failure to rely entirely on Beltway insiders. But Axelrod’s problem is clearly much bigger than that:

Mr. Axelrod said he accepts some blame for what he called “communication failures,” though he acknowledges bafflement that the administration’s efforts to stimulate the economy in a crisis, overhaul health care and prosecute two wars have been so routinely framed by opponents as the handiwork of a big-government, soft-on-terrorism, politics-of-the-past ideologue.

“For me, the question is, why haven’t we broken through more than we have?” Mr. Axelrod said. “Why haven’t we broken through?”

To the carpenter, every problem looks like a nail. To the astroturfing speechwriter, every problem is a failure to communicate.

Axelrod’s problem is that Pres. Obama has in fact pursued big government approaches to every domestic issue he sought to tackle. Obama may think that crony capitalism (e.g., his extension of the Wall Street bailout, taking over General Motors for the UAW, cutting deals with Big Pharma, etc.) represents some sort of compromise position to his ideal solutions, when it merely provides further proof that he is an ideologue in the first instance. In foreign policy, Obama is pressing to leave — and take credit for — a fragile victory in Iraq, but dithered over launching a “surge” in Afghanistan, tried to close Gitmo without a plan, may yet try terror masters like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in civilian court, and seriously considered launching political persecutions of the prior administration’s legal staff. The problem is not communications; it is reality.

In hopes of un-baffling the Ax, I note a common theme uniting the policies identified with Obama (as opposed to continuations of Bush policies). The stimulus is unpopular. The GM bailout is unpopular. ObamaCare is unpopular, yet Obama seems set on reconciliation — a process that works with popular bills, not unpopular ones. Closing Gitmo is unpopular. Civilian trials for unlawful combatants like KSM are unpopular. There may be a pattern here that explains the lack of majority support on almost very issue. Axelrod’s problem is not the “peanut gallery” or the “political community.” To the contrary, most of the political community is blaming Obama’s staffers and their tactics to avoid the fundamental problem — the public’s rejection of Obama’s agenda.

Axelrod may correctly view the Beltway as a bubble. But then how does one describe Obama’s inner circle, baffled over their situation, yet concluding the answer is to send the president out on yet another in a seemingly endless series of campaign-style events? As president, Bill Clinton was fond of the old saying defining insanity as doing the same thing over and over, while expecting a different result. These days, I’ll bet Bill is even fonder of that saying. So long as Obama and the Ax continue to not give a “flying expletive” what the public thinks (let alone likely voters), their administration and their party will remain in political peril.

–Karl

49 Responses to “The “flying expletive” school of government”

  1. Axelrod, like Obama, think that their fluffy rhetoric trumps their actions.

    It is a special kind of self-delusion that frankly, I have difficulty understanding.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  2. SPQR – we are all coming to understand it better and better, the more we see it practised by the current Administration !

    Alasdair (e7cb73)

  3. The Ax, and his boss, The Obowman, need a new public – one which will swoon over his vision and plan…
    Oh, wait, that’s what happened during the campaign, before they found out how they were going to have to bend over and take it…

    Well, if you want to swing public opinion towards you, a good start would be to stop doing what the public doesn’t like (First Rule of Holes).

    AD - RtR/OS! (a1afa2)

  4. SPQR,

    I think Steven Den Beste explains the self-delusion pretty well.

    Karl (45e11e)

  5. their administration and their party will remain in political peril.

    i see that as a feature, not a bug. %-)

    redc1c4 (fb8750)

  6. I always love how it is just a failure of messaging, if us stoopid people could just listen a little better we would realize their awesomeness.

    JD (bd7f0f)

  7. Karl, Steven Den Beste does his usual incisive work on the topic of the left-wing “wishful thinking” mentality. That may be related to the behavior we see above from Obama and his ilk, but its not the same. Obama and his cronies think not merely that wishing makes it so, as Den Beste describes, but also that all of their actions are magically erased by their rhetoric.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  8. Obama, Ax, & Co. were superb at campaigning–making vague promises of hope and change and denouncing opponents. Governing is more difficult than campaigning. You have to do something, not just talk. Thus the futile searching for improving O’s standing through better “communication.”

    Stu707 (0981d5)

  9. > he did not give a “flying” expletive “about what the peanut gallery thinks”

    ———————————————————————
    Peanut Gallery Definition (emphasis added) —
    A peanut gallery is an audience that heckles the performer. The term originated in the days of vaudeville as a nickname for the cheapest (and therefore rowdiest) seats in the theater; the cheapest snack served at the theater would often be peanuts, which the patrons would sometimes throw at the performers on stage to show their disapproval.

    In the late 1940s the Howdy Doody show adopted the name to represent their audience of 40 kids.
    ———————————————————————

    The message you have is falling on deaf ears — “The peanut gallery” is *US*
    Axelrod is making the point, consciously or subconsiously, that he doesn’t care what people think, which is why things being “unpopular” doesn’t get through to him. He only cares what they think to the matter/necessity of having to sell them on his idea of what should be done.

    Professional liberals are too arrogant to compromise. In my experience, they were
    also very unpleasant people on a personal level. Behind their slogans about saving
    the world and sharing the wealth with the common man lurked a nasty hunger for power.
    They’d double-cross their own mothers to get it or keep it.

    – Harry S Truman, pp. 55, American Heritage 7/8 1992, from a 1970 interview —

    “Politics is Power, nothing more.”
    – X, ‘JFK: the Director’s Cut’ –

    Axelrod is demonstrating classic Narcissistic Personality Disorder: ‘The Purist Lefty Disease’.

    Read Dr. Sanity on the topic:

    When Does Denial Become Sociopathy?

    A Lesson in Narcississtic Rage

    NARCISSISM AND SOCIETY: Part I – The Psychology of the Self (also parts II and III, of course)

    MALIGNANT NARCISSISM – Sociopathic Selfishness and Sociopathic Selflessness

    Tell me all that doesn’t describe The Obamanauts to a ‘T’.
    .

    IgotBupkis (79d71d)

  10. Obama and his cronies think not merely that wishing makes it so, as Den Beste describes, but also that all of their actions are magically erased by their rhetoric.

    It so much reminds me of small children when they’re caught in a lie and continue to resist owning up and instead, keep spinning excuses and denials – and with each spin, they get more absurd and ridiculous.

    What these people do, and what they’ve been trained to do (I believe) from this administration, is to operate from the basic premise that they are always right, and then proceed from there.

    It requires an inherent dishonesty and a willingness to ignore facts. To most of us, facts are indeed stubborn things but to these people, they’re just words to reshape and present in another form of *truth*.

    Dana (1e5ad4)

  11. I think the GOP would love to have the political peril of passing major heathcare reform legislation.

    Comment by imadouchebag

    (you know it was going to say this shortly)

    Dmac (ca1d8c)

  12. The Ax takes after his mentor.

    Obama Confuses Decades, Inflates Estimated Health Care Savings by $868B
    FOXNews.com

    Obama boasted Monday that Democrats’ health care proposals would cut deficits by $1 trillion “over the next decade,” a flub that inflated the actual estimate by $868 billion.

    President Obama, making his final push for health care reform, pitched his proposal Monday to a crowd in Pennsylvania with a deficit-reduction figure that the White House later admitted missed the mark.

    “Our cost-cutting measures mirror most of the proposals in the current Senate bill, which reduces most people’s premiums and brings down our deficit by up to $1 trillion dollars over the next decade because we’re spending our health care dollars more wisely,” Obama told an audience at Arcadia University in Glenside, Pa., a suburb north of Philadelphia.

    Obama was so proud of these cost-saving numbers in the latest version of health care reform, he delved into a bit of Washington-speak to back them up.

    “Those aren’t my numbers,” Obama said to the rising applause of the estimated 1,300 in attendance. “They are the savings determined by the Congressional Budget Office, which is the nonpartisan, independent referee of Congress for what things cost.”

    But the budget office did not say the Senate health care bill would save $1 trillion over the next decade — or even close to that figure.

    It estimated the bill would save $132 billion from 2010 to 2019, leaving Obama’s “next decade” estimate $868 billion short.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (9eb641)

  13. And the CBO report heavily hinted that its own numbers were nonsense stacked on nonsense, given the assumptions they were forced to use.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  14. Amen, SPQR. The CBO’s numbers can only reflect the nonsensical parameters given to them by Congress. In the instant case, it relies on fictional cuts to Medicare and doctors fees upwards of $500 billion.

    JD (60310b)

  15. Here is the entire problem with The Won and those that surround him:
    A guy who had managed to promote himself to somehow getting degrees from not one, but two tony universities and when he arrived at Harvard, he fit right in with Harvard’s then policy of affirmative action and managed to get himself appointed editor of the HLR. His “charisma” worked well for him. He had memorized Alinsky, and knew how to work the system.

    Winding up in Chicago, he made a splash as a community “organizer”, managing to get disillusioned people to do his bidding, and working for Project Vote to turn out 250K new voters. Axelrod’s ears perked up. Here is a guy, a black guy, highly educated, a left winger, who would fit right in with the Daley machine.

    After Obama lost his first election, Alexrod took off the gloves and managed to get the opponents in the next two elections discredited, getting his former newpaper collegues to file a FOIA on Obama’s opponent’s divorce. Both times, the opponents, being of the Chicago type, dropped out of the race.

    Next step: the federal Senate. Stab the existing Senator in the back, use her and abuse her, but get Obama in office by hook or by crook. Enter Axelrod and his “astroturfing” system.

    But that wasn’t good enough. So on to the highest rung of the ladder, the office of POTUS. And The Won, never having to been responsible for a damn thing, and thinking that his charisma and personality, would win over everyone, launched a campaign built on a slogan “Hope and Change” that meant absolutely nothing except to what that meant in each individual mind.

    Axelrod designed a following that was unseen since the days of JFK, and Obama bought into the hype that he was the new JFK and FDR, all rolled into one. After all, why shouldn’t he? He had never been denied anything he ever wanted, although how a kid from a middle class family could pay for such an education remains a mystery.

    Obama believe the hype. He was “The One”. So a war weary nation, made up of independents who thought his election would finally put an end to all racial strife in this nation, elected a guy who didn’t talk like Snoop Dog.

    But governing is a hellofa lot different than being able to criticize the previous adminstration. And a guy who never took much interest in any position he ever held before, now found out that Americans expect results, and not he, or Axelrod, or Rahm Emanuel can control the “peanut gallery” when there are rising unemployement numbers, a declining business atmosphere and the enemies of the nation continue to thumb their nose at his outstreatched hand.

    So it is back to the campaign trail, with the expectations that the same dynamic will carry the day.

    It won’t.

    retire05 (1e885c)

  16. Karl – It obviously must be frustrating for geniuses such as Axelrod and Obama that no matter how hard they try to communicate what they are trying to do, we are just too damn stupid to understand what is best for us. They know and we don’t. That’s is what educated elites are for after all.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  17. Thank you for reminding us of our place, daley.

    Dana (1e5ad4)

  18. You racist teabagging rubes should just STFU and listen to your betters.

    JD (456093)

  19. I love it when they keep talking, it’s easier to figure range and azimuth.

    AD - RtR/OS! (a1afa2)

  20. Dana – You’re welcome.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  21. I love it when they keep talking, it’s easier to figure range and azimuth.

    “Fire mission, polar, over!”

    redc1c4 (fb8750)

  22. he acknowledges bafflement that the administration’s efforts to stimulate the economy in a crisis

    The striking thing to me is that this administration seems to be completely indifferent to the economy and the employment situation. Their overriding domestic policy goal for the last year has been health-care, an issue the public is lukewarm about at best. The economy rarely even gets lip-service.

    Subotai (69b89a)

  23. So long as Obama and the Ax continue to not give a “flying expletive” what the public thinks (let alone likely voters), their administration and their party will remain in political peril.

    Truer words were never spoken. Great post.

    Corky Boyd (a311f8)

  24. “The stimulus is unpopular”

    This is a really great survey.

    imdw (017d51)

  25. May I just pause for a moment and take in the breath-taking prose of the NY Times writer:

    David Axelrod was sitting at his desk on a recent afternoon — tie crooked, eyes droopy and looking more burdened than usual. He had just been watching some genius on MSNBC insist that he and President Obama’s other top aides were failing miserably and should be replaced.

    Well, then, why didn’t he grab some hooch from the drawer, take a shot, get on the blower and have some Chicago friends take care of the itch?

    If this doesn’t qualify for the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, I don’t know what does.

    Sorry for the interruption.

    Ag80 (f67beb)

  26. ““The stimulus is unpopular”

    This is a really great survey.

    Comment by imdw — 3/8/2010 @ 9:02 pm”

    This is a great, on target, substantive comment.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  27. I think imdw means the President gives really great speeches.

    Ag80 (f67beb)

  28. Can’t tell if imdw is being sarcastic or not “““The stimulus is unpopular”
    This is a really great survey’.
    But I clicked on the line at it is a cnn story that says “3 out of 4 americans say much of stimulus money wasted.”

    jb2 (8a32c3)

  29. “For me, the question is, why haven’t we broken through more than we have?” Mr. Axelrod said. “Why haven’t we broken through?”

    First problem is a lot of these people in the current White House don’t understand the concept of “know thyself.” So they’re living in a bubble, blinded by their lack of candor and honesty, incapable of loudly proclaiming “we’re 100% leftwingers, we’re proud of being leftwingers, and if you don’t like it, kiss our asses!!”

    It’s like the idiots at the New York Times — or throughout much of the MSM in general — who are very, very liberal and yet too disingenous and dishonest to admit it. So they’ll say nonsensical things like “you can’t really label our politics because we’re progressive, not liberal.” Or “we can’t be as liberal as people claim we are because we’re owned by a big corporation run by wealthy capitalists!”

    Mark (411533)

  30. imdw,

    Had you read beyond the headline:

    According to a CNN poll released Sunday, 56 percent of the public opposes the stimulus, with 42 percent supportive of the plan.

    Would you have preferred Rasmussen?

    Karl (45e11e)

  31. Would you have preferred Rasmussen?

    s/he/it would prefer a poll result that came up with an answer that supported the positions s/he/it was already committed to believing in, so that the need for intellectual straining beyond its limited design envelope could be avoided.

    redc1c4 (fb8750)

  32. I’m convinced these bastards know full well what they are doing. Please pray Obamacare remains unresolved until the November elections.

    Krusher (706665)

  33. MSNBC? No wonder they seem to be in an echo chamber.

    HeavenSent (c3c032)

  34. #15, Point is he is not as smart as people make him out to be. Having an IVY Degree always makes you SOUND SMART but it is no guarantee for actually being smart.

    HeavenSent (c3c032)

  35. “But I clicked on the line at it is a cnn story that says “3 out of 4 americans say much of stimulus money wasted.””

    Yeah. This is what I mean by saying is a great survey. Like, what do 3 out of 4 americans know about stimulus money? That much of it has been “wasted.”

    imdw (490521)

  36. Well imdw, there is a website for the stimulus money spent, but the information on it referenced districts that don’t exist. Did you miss that in the news? Garbage in, garbage out. You got the “garbage out” thing in spades!

    People's Front of Judea (44bf37)

  37. “Like, what do 3 out of 4 americans know about stimulus money?”

    imdw – Going with the tried and true Democrat standard that Americans are stupid? Where’s your counter evidence? None? I’ll take the survey results over your opinion. Thanks for playing.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  38. “Like, what do 3 out of 4 americans know about stimulus money? That much of it has been “wasted.”

    Yeah, making a $750 billion hedge bet on “the cycle” rather than the actual reason for the crash, and predicting a topped U3 of 8% that instead climbed to double digits, can have that effect.

    Another Chris (2d8013)

  39. “Having an IVY Degree always makes you SOUND SMART but it is no guarantee for actually being smart.”

    You don’t have to look far in our history to find out that a president having an Ivy degree, or two, even going to elite new england private schools, doesn’t always make you sound smart.

    “I’ll take the survey results over your opinion.”

    Oh I’m taking the survey results too! My view of what 3/4 of americans think of stimulus is straight out of the survey.

    imdw (143bb3)

  40. Daley – their default position is that the racist teabagging rubes are too stupid to recognize the greatness of the leftist ideals.

    JD (2830cd)

  41. imd-pathologicalliar, give it up. Seek help for your deeply ingraned dishonesty.

    PCD (1d8b6d)

  42. See, even my parody cannot match it’s relentless habit of spewing out reflexive expectorate at every turn. A leftist’s blowhole wet dream.

    Dmac (ca1d8c)

  43. “A leftist’s blowhole wet dream.”

    Dmac – Pure ankle-biting. No evidence provided to counter the CNN survey that Karl cited supporting that the stimulus bill is unpopular.

    imdw – Do you have evidence showing that the stimulus bill is popular or not? If not, Karl deserves an apology.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  44. Sure he’ll get an apology, just like the other times when Cupcake was proven factually wrong and subsequently admitted his error…meaning it’ll never happen.

    Dmac (ca1d8c)

  45. “imdw – Do you have evidence showing that the stimulus bill is popular or not? If not, Karl deserves an apology”

    I have the CNN article, which I said had a great survey. And anecdotally, we have stimulus money being popular even in the districts of people who opposed the stimulus.

    imdw (05d41e)

  46. They spent the whole damned 2+ years of their campaign studiously hiding their candidate’s agenda – it must have occurred to somebody way back then that these policies were unpopular.

    At some point though, Axl Rod and Ums & Poses came to believe they could safely drop the Joker mask. Like all bullshitters, they finally mistook their own brand for rose petals.

    Is it lefty hubris that makes them think Americans can be governed like good little Comrades if you just hold the right offices ?

    Fool us once…

    societyis2blame (d81c5b)

  47. “I have the CNN article, which I said had a great survey.”

    imdw – Are you now agreeing with Karl that the stimulus bill is unpopular and that your comment #24 (“This is a really great survey.”) was merely to indicate what a great job he did in digging up support for the statement?

    daleyrocks (718861)

  48. Once again, imdw shows us the style of … hey, squirrel!

    SPQR (26be8b)

  49. Like I said: what do 3 out of 4 Americans know about stimulus money? That much of it has been “wasted.”

    Isn’t that a great survey? I mean, they can’t think it is popular if much of it has been “wasted.” Can they?

    imdw (223a39)


Powered by WordPress.

Page loaded in: 0.2991 secs.