Some fireworks at the end of an otherwise uneventful conference call with White House Senior Adviser David Axelrod, when blogger Susie Madrak took the White House to task for their continued swipes at the “professional left.”
Madrak asked, “I’m a blogger, and I don’t know if you know this term, but are you familiar with the term hippie-punching?”
There was about a 15-second pause. “Go ahead,” said Axelrod.
She continued. “Liberals and bloggers feel like we’re the girl you take under the bleachers but won’t be seen with in the light of day.” She mentioned a series of incidents where the White House distances themselves from their base, and wondered how that helps Democrats regain enthusiasm from those same people. “We’re not big numbers, but we raise money and we encourage people to vote and get involved. You have to help us help you,” she concluded.
Axelrod tried to bring Madrak in on common goals. “Let me say this. I really believe this is the most consequential time in our lifetime… We are in a struggle, we are in a fight. We don’t have to agree, but we all have to lock arms and move forward here.”
He then pivoted, kind of making it sound like both sides need to lower the temperature. “Saying we shouldn’t be involved in intramural skirmishes, I couldn’t agree more. And that goes on both sides… I’m not lecturing you, I’m speaking to everyone involved on our side. There are big things at stake here. The nature of progressive thought is that we go at it, we trade ideas, and that’s as it should be. But we have to come together.”
Axelrod tried to make it sound like Madrak was saying she wanted help (I don’t really know what he was intimating here), but Madrak said, “No, I said help us help you. Don’t make our jobs so much harder with these comments.”
“I’d say right back atcha,” replied Axelrod, growing a bit tense. “Whatever differences we have pale in comparison to the differences to the folks out there today masquerading as representatives of the American people.”
“I hear you, I hope you hear me,” he wrapped up.
I’d go over the rest, but it mirrors this White House blog post taking a pinata to the Republicans for their “Pledge to America” today. Also, Axelrod still plans to say Republicans are holding the middle class tax cuts hostage, even though Democrats didn’t bother to offer a vote showing that contrast. And he thinks the Administration will ultimately win that debate and get only the middle class tax cuts extended, which makes him more optimistic than virtually anyone.
But I’m pleased that David Axelrod knows the meaning of the term “hippie punching.”
UPDATE: Greg Sargent covers the same territory.
UPDATE II: Here’s Susie’s take:
Basically, after Axelrod told us how wonderful we were and how much they needed us to close the enthusiasm gap in this election, I called him on it. Like, yo Dave, here we are, liberal activists who give money and GOTV, and the White House needs to punch us in public so no one thinks they take us seriously?
And then he said, like, your feelings don’t really amount to a hill of beans in this crazy mixed-up world when we’re TRYING TO SAVE THE COUNTRY, and then I said excuse ME, we’re not talking about my feelings here, how am I supposed to motivate my readers when you treat them like the town ho?
Or words to that effect. I do it all for you, my beloved readers.