YES! I hope that the irony of progressive bloggers’ complaints that White House criticism undermines their legitimacy is finally fully in relief now that David Axelrod basically revealed it to them directly in a call today.
As Greg Sargent describes it, Crooks and Liars’ Susan Madrak called the administration out for “hippie punching” saying that the White House’s, “criticism of the left made it tougher for bloggers like herself to motivate the base. ‘Don’t make our jobs harder,’ she said.
Axlerod’s reply, was spot on: “Right back at’cha. Right back at’cha.”
The “professional left” criticizes the president for his failures to aggressively take-on the opposition, for over-fetishizing bipartisanship and compromise and for abandoning the principles of the liberal base that got him elected.
Now the equivalence that Axelrod offers is somewhat unbalanced because nobody elected the blogosphere. And without their flanking from the left, reasonable people might actually believe that the President’s moderate policies were in fact part of the radical socialist agenda he’s accused of representing (hmm). But Axelrod’s got a point that the criticism from influential bloggers makes it extremely difficult for the President to mobilize his base to serve the left’s legislative and political agenda. If all bloggers were the clear eyed pragmatists many of them claimed to be when Democrats had no power, they’d see that sometimes you’ve got to eat your broccoli to get the dessert. If instead all they do is complain about the President’s failures, how is he supposed to leverage the base when he needs them?
Unless bloggers would prefer to wield their overhwelming influence under a republican administration or congress? Would that be better? Otherwise you’ve got to accept that sometimes your cause is better served by not saying what you really think. It’s no fun, but it’s life.