Axelrod’s Poverty of Ideas

by Patrick Brennan

On CNN’s State of the Union this morning, Candy Crowley pushed Obama adviser David Axelrod on the president’s election message, and why he deserves a second term. Host Candy Crowley pointed out that by wide margins Americans still believe the U.S. economy is on the wrong track, but Axelrod pushed back with a different set of polling statistics, arguing that “by a huge margin, people think this president is an advocate for the middle class,” and consider him someone who will build “an economy that works for the middle class.”

When asked what that would mean for his second term, and “what’s different” about Obama from 2012 to 2016, Axelrod reached back to the beginning of Obama’s first term, saying, “we’ve come a long way from when we were losing 800,000 jobs a month,” and explaining that the administration has created 5 million jobs from the low point of the recession.

Crowley pushed him on the issue, asking, “what are the specific proposals?” Axelrod repeated a set of Obama proposals familiar to all political observers now: spending on green energy and “100,000 science and math teachers,” tax changes to encourage domestic manufacturing, etc., and Axelrod concluded, “I believe these plans will pass.” The host was quick to point out, “But they haven’t passed.” Axelrod admitted that “some of these proposals haven’t passed,” to which Crowley argued they are “goals,” rather than realistic accomplishments. When asked how preserving proposals the president has had for the past two years would not constitute a “stay the course” strategy, Axelrod offered, well, more of the same, explaining that “the president has a series of specific proposals around education, around energy . . . We need a long-term plan, not taglines for a show like this.”


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