No Balls, Plenty of Errors: Inside the Obama Reelection Campaign

The Fiscal Times quotes excerpts from MSNBC regular and former Newsweek contributor Richard Wolffe’s recap of Obama’s reelection bid:

Picture infighting, dysfunction and personality conflicts and you might think of the key players of a production team on a Hollywood blockbuster sparring over budgets, promotion strategy and how to keep the temperamental lead actor happy.

Oops, wrong coast. Try Washington, D.C., where author Richard Wolffe, in a new book, The Message: The Reselling of President Obama, brings the brutal 2012 Obama reelection campaign to new life:

* David Axelrod didn’t think former Obama Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina was “up to the job” of campaign manager and tried to short circuit him at almost every turn.

* David Plouffe had confidence in Messina, but “nobody could come up with a good candidate to replace him.”

* Messina couldn’t fire Axelrod – but Barack Obama could.

This is how Wolffe tells it: “He [Axelrod] was pushed out. Not officially, of course. He was just leaving a little earlier than intended…. Nothing unusual, really. Just a wrenching expression of disaffection from the president he had fallen for.”

The takeaway was this, Wolffe says: “For those who remained, the departure of Axelrod and [Robert] Gibbs sent a clear message: They were all dispensable. ‘He doesn’t need anyone,’ said [a] member of the [Obama] inner circle. ‘Axe and Gibbs were effectively fired. He owes everything to Axe. Everything. He’d never have gotten anywhere without him. I’d like to think he knows that and sees him differently. But I’m not sure.’”

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I’m not either, based on the stratospheric level of Obama’s malignant narcissism. And while Axe was getting the axe from Obama, Wolffe notes that the Obama administration lacked the collective “balls” — his word — to tell deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter she was fired:

WOLFFE: You had a communications team that was not on speaking terms with itself. They took the decision at a senior level to push Stephanie Cutter out, again one of the single most effective people in the campaign and they could not have the guts in the end to tell her about their own decision. You know, there’s a leadership question that comes out of that. The secret plot, they get together at the White Sox game to fire her–by the way all of them men–and here she is one of the most profiled, the highest profiled woman in the campaign and they don’t have the balls to go tell her they decided to fire her.

JOE SCARBOROUGH: So who ended up telling her that she was fired?

WOLFFE: Nobody did. They tried layering around her. They sent Dan Pfeiffer in from the white house. And she carried on regardless. Because she knew they didn’t that have balls to take her on, and by the way, to take on the First Lady of the United States, who was her biggest backer.

On the other hand, take Wolffe’s opinion’s with a grain of (non-Michelle Obama-approved) salt, writes Mark Finkelstein of Newsbusters, noting that in the above passage, Wolffe described Cutter, claimed that Cutter was “one of the single most effective” people in the Obama campaign. “Cutter?,” Finkelstein asks, “The nasty gaffe machine?”

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And yet, after gutting his first string players from his introductory term, the mercurial Obama is now eager to put  the band back together again.

It’s as if the deeply oikophobic administration hasn’t a clue how to govern a nation that it loathes and despises — or, from the Politico’s perspective, the president’s knowledge, wisdom, patriotism and overall strategery are all simply too clever for we mere mortals to comprehend.

Behold: the president as “pathological rationalist.”

Update: Richard Wolffe self-triangulates his ideology: In his worldview, Joe Scarborough, Steve Schmidt and Michael Steele are all “conservatives,” Noel Sheppard writes at Newsbusters.

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