Published for foxnews.com, February 1st, 2011:
Two small episodes Saturday night and Monday morning were deeply revealing about the culture of official Washington now.
Keith Koffler wrote about the first Sunday for “White House Dossier.” Atlantic Media — publisher of The Atlantic, National Journal, and Government Executive and which describes itself as “among the most influential media outlets in America” — hosted a going-away party for presidential senior adviser David Axelrod. It was held at the home of his former White House colleague, Linda Douglass, a reporter for ABC News before joining the administration.
The party drew President Barack Obama, Cabinet officials, White House aides and a passel of first-tier journalists, including (according to Koffler): Major Garrett of National Journal, John Harwood of the New York Times, Jake Tapper of ABC News and Chuck Todd of NBC News.
Could anyone imagine what would have been said about the inappropriateness of a similar event hosted by a news organization like Congressional Quarterly as a going-away party for a senior aide from a Republican White House?
But no, when it’s the Obama White House, it’s apparently just another cozy evening for the White House press corps and its subject.
Then there was story by Glenn Thrush in Politico based on an exit interview with Axelrod, colleagues and friends. In it, Axelrod (or his allies) say he “initially opposed Obama’s plan to push full-speed ahead with health care reform,” intimating it was a mistake to do so.
Axelrod also felt Obama rejected his advice to stay on the high road during the 2010 campaign, “fretting to friends that the midterms were putting too much ‘torque’ on Obama’s core image.” After being beaten at the polls, the president returned back to listening to Axelrod and “increasingly turning back to [a] vision of an elevated politics as 2012 approaches.” If he keeps that tone, “Axelrod thinks Obama’s recent rebound is sustainable,” Politico went on.