Axelrod Calls Mitt “Serial Evader”

David Axelrod, in a conference call with reporters, wasn’t as out there as I am in comparing Mitt to a serial killer, but he did call him a “serial evader.”  I think just the use of the word “serial” connotes and conjures up psychological problems.

Axe also said that Mitt’s performance last night was “effective in the short term, vulnerable in the long term. … [H]e gave a good performance and we give him credit for that.  The problem with it was that none of it was rooted in fact.”

Axe promised better from Obama next time:  “You can’t allow someone to stand there and basically manhandle the truth their own record and ideas….”

The Weirdness Factor

Asked if Mitt could win without winning Ohio, his political director, Rich Beeson, said, “If ifs and buts were candy and nuts, every day would be Christmas.”*

Really.  That was his answer.  Who the hell talks like that?  Mitt and his staff.

They come across as people who learned English not in another country, but on another planet.

Honestly, if you were lying on your couch half-asleep, listening to the Sunday talk shows, and Axelrod or Plouffe or Cutter said that, you’d sit up straight, say, “WTF was that?” and rewind your DVR.

Some weaknesses can be overcome (every candidate and campaign has them), but not weirdness.  The weird guy loses every time.

Ideally, we’d like you to give us peace and prosperity.  But at a bare minimum, you can’t give us the creeps.

* Quoted by Gail Collins, “Ohio Gets The Love,” NYT

No, No, We Don’t Hate the Kenyan Muslim Communist, We’re Just Disappointed in Him

From “Obama’s new challenge:  Disappointment,” Jonathan Allen, Politico:

“Yet what emerged from Tampa was a subtle, clever shift in GOP messaging, a much more dangerous strategy for Obama than the kitchen-sink attacks that preceded the gathering.  Republicans posed — rhetorically — as Obama 2008 voters, lamenting his unfulfilled expectations as if they had been with him all along instead of trying to block him at every turn.

Both sides recognize the power of the disappointment theme:  that the hope Obama offered for mending the economy, transforming the political process and even saving the earth has faded.

“Obama’s senior campaign adviser David Axelrod described the convention Friday as an exercise in ‘base’ management, with little crossover appeal.  But the disappointment argument is aimed directly at the decisive 6 percent to 8 percent of voters, mostly independents, who were willing to give Obama a chance four years ago.

“‘Given how the GOP entered the convention on the heels of [Missouri Senate candidate Todd] Akin and the platform discussion, I think they did a very good job of keeping the ‘crazy’ out of the convention.  All the prime-time speakers were reassuring and appeared moderate on social issues,’ Democratic pollster Anna Greenberg said.  ‘In fact, it was a pretty boring convention, in a good way for the GOP.’

“[New Mexico Governor Susana] Martinez told a killer anecdote about her conversion from Democrat to Republican over dinner with her husband and GOP friends.  ‘I’ll be damned — we’re Republicans!’

“The subliminal message to moderate voters?  ‘I’ll be damned — we’re Romney-ans!'”  Emphasis added.

I think that last part is a major stretch.  Even party faithful don’t think of themselves as Romney-ans.

And being disappointed doesn’t also make you stupid.

Inside the Obama Campaign

From “POLITICO e-book:  Obama campaign roiled by conflict,” Glenn Thrush, Politico:

“Second-guessing about personnel, strategy and tactics has been a dominant theme of the reelection effort, according to numerous current and former Obama advisers who were interviewed for ‘Obama’s Last Stand,’ an e-book out Monday published in a collaboration between POLITICO and Random House.

“The discord, these sources said, has on occasion flowed from Obama himself, who at repeated turns has made vocal his dissatisfaction with decisions made by his campaign team, with its messaging, with Vice President Biden and with what Obama feared was clumsy coordination between his West Wing and reelection headquarters in Chicago.

“The effort in Chicago, meanwhile, has been bedeviled by some of the drama Obama so deftly dodged in 2008 — including, at a critical point earlier this year, a spat that left senior operatives David Axelrod and Stephanie Cutter barely on speaking terms — and growing doubts about the effectiveness of Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

“Many of Obama’s advisers have quietly begun questioning whether they should have picked Wasserman Schultz, an outspoken Florida congresswoman, as his DNC chairwoman.  She has clashed with Chicago over her choice of staff and air-time on national TV shows — and they think she comes across as too partisan over the airwaves.

“Obama really doesn’t like, admire or even grudgingly respect Romney.  It’s a level of contempt, say aides, he doesn’t even feel for the conservative, combative House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, the Hill Republican he disliked the most.

“The two thing Obama fears most about a Romney victory:  A 7-to-2 conservative Supreme Court within a few years.  And the equally unbearable possibility, in his mind, that Romney will get to take a victory lap on an economic rebound Obama sees as just around the corner.  ‘I’m not going to let him win…so that he can take credit when the economy turns around,’ Obama said, according to an aide.

“Obama has himself to blame for what has, arguably, been the greatest unforced error of his political career:  his team’s failure to adequately form a strategy to deal with the avalanche of unregulated cash crashing down on him from GOP and Romney-allied super PAC’s.

“Many on his team now regret not dispatching an aide of Plouffe’s stature to the cause in 2011, someone better equipped to go toe-to-toe with the likes of Karl Rove.

“Axelrod…believed trashing the super PACs was a messaging winner for Obama – a stance vehemently opposed by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Messina.  ‘We’re going to lose this [f-ing] thing.  Why don’t they get it?’ Messina said of Axelrod and Obama.

“By early 2012, the GOP super PAC floodgates had opened, and Obama reluctantly agreed to endorse a group friendly to his cause, Priorities USA Action.”
Read more:

I think Wasserman Schultz has been a disaster as head of the DNC.  She’s a caricature of a liberal Dem, a South Park figure.  It should be a moderate, someone like Evan Bayh or Jon Tester.

I agree with the President that the economy will get better soon (you can’t keep a good business cycle down), and I’d hate to see Mitt get the credit.

Too Much Daylight Between GOP and Mitt

David Axelrod on the split between the GOP’s arguing that the Obamacare mandate is a tax and the Romney campaign’s insisting that it’s not:

“So now, as the Republican Party and their SuperPacs try to depict this narrow, freeloader penalty, that would touch less than 1 percent of Americans, as a broad tax on the middle class, they’re sliming their own nominee, as well.”

Mitt Plays Checkers, Not Chess

John (“Game Change”) Heilemann has a wonderful long article up at New York Magazine, “Hope:  the Sequel.”  Here’s David Axelrod on Mitt:

“Romney is thoroughly tactical.  He makes whatever decision he needs to get through the next battle without respect to the war.  So he ran to the right of everybody on immigration because he had to beat Perry.  He embraced the Ryan budget to get around Gingrich.  And then he ran to the right of Santorum, or tried to, on contraception to fend off him.”