Liberal Blogger Accuses White House Of “Hippie Punching”

The relationship between the Obama White House and the progressive blogosphere isn't very good right now, and it's a preview of what is likely to happen on the right if the GOP gets back in power.

During a conference call today, White House adviser David Axelrod got quite the earful from Susan Madrak of Crooks and Liars:

Top Obama adviser David Axelrod got an earful of the liberal blogosphere’s anger at the White House moments ago, when a blogger on a conference call directly called out Axelrod over White House criticism of the left, accusing the administration of “hippie punching.”

“We’re the girl you’ll take under the bleachers but you won’t be seen with in the light of day,” the blogger, Susan Madrak of Crooks and Liars, pointedly told Axelrod on the call, which was organzied for liberal bloggers and progressive media.

The call seeme to perfectly capture the tense dynamic that exists between the White House and the online and organized left: Though White House advisers in the past have dumped on the left, anonymously and even on the record, Axelrod repeatedly pleaded with the bloggers on the call for help in pumping up the flagging enthusiasm of rank and file Dems.

“You play a great role in informing people about the stakes of elections,” Axelrod told the bloggers. “One of the reasons I was eager to expend time was to enlist you.”

But hovering over the call was the obvious disconnect between this plea for help and statements like those of Robert Gibbs, who recently pilloried the “professional left” for being overly critical of the White House.

That tension burst out into the open when Madrak directly asked Axelrod: “Have you ever heard of hippie punching?” That prompted a long silence from Axelrod.

“You want us to help you, the first thing I would suggest is enough of the hippie punching,” Madrak added. “We’re the girl you’ll take under the bleachers but you won’t be seen with in the light of day.”

Is this what the so-called “reality based community” now thinks of it’s relationship to the White House, as some sort of analogy to high school date rape ? If that’s the case, then I’ve got to wonder how much reality they’re really clinging on to.

On a side note, though, don’t be surprised if we start hearing similar things, albeit expressed differently, from the right side of the blogosphere when they discover the lesson that the “Netroots” are only now starting to learn — that there is a distinct difference between being a propaganda organ for a highly ideological movement, and actual governing.

There are many criticisms one can level on the Obama Administration and on President Obama’s leadership abilities, I covered some of them earlier this week, but expecting ideological perfection in a business that has been compared in the past to sausage making is, quite honestly absurd. And expecting the President of the United States to stroke the egos of a few bloggers just strikes me as vanity.

My advice to the Tea Party crowd ? Look at how the progressive left is reacting to the Obama Administration, and prepare to be disappointed. Because it’s going to happen. Take what you can get rather than taking to streets.

FILED UNDER: Barack Obama, Blogosphere, Politicians, Tea Party, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Paul L. says:

    My advice to the Tea Party crowd ? Look at how the progressive left is reacting to the Obama Administration, and prepare to be disappointed. Because it’s going to happen. Take what you can get rather than taking to streets.
    Actually that is what happened with George W. Bush.
    And Progressives now retort with
     
    Where Were The “Tea Party” Protesters During Bush Years?

  2. F says:

    Doug,
    Typically lurk, but I had to come out for this one.
     
    Tell me, where does Susan Madrak make an analogy to “date rape”? Her analogy as I took it was that the Obama administration was willing to have hidden sex (fund raise, etc.) with liberals, but was unwilling to be seen (publicly fight for liberal causes) in public with liberals. how does that equate to “date rape”?
     
    On one of your posts this morning I started to write about how reasonable, conservative, but reasonable you were on most things, but that you had some really really, really big blind spots (Krugman) which caused you write things which were not only dumb but easily proved wrong. This statement is a point in fact.
     
    You’ve lost a lot of credibility with me and you’re becoming a skip-over headliner.

  3. mantis says:

    F is right, Doug.  The metaphor has nothing to do with rape.  Silly of you to say so.

  4. Well, I guess we’ll just have to disagree on my interpretation of the comment.

    The broader point, that the lefty blogosphere has turned into a bunch of unrealistic crybabies, remains.

  5. Steve Plunk says:

    So the lefty bloggers are the sluts for going under the bleachers in the first place?
     
    The difference with the Tea Party is they know they can’t trust the guys trying to get ’em under those bleachers.  They know being a slut won’t get them to the prom (I’m lovin’ this high school thing).
     
    Progressives are just too idealistic to accept some political realities the way conservatives can.  They trust more than they should and are too willing to cede power to those they trust.  It bit these bloggers in the butt.

  6. sam says:

    “The difference with the Tea Party is they know they can’t trust the guys trying to get ‘em under those bleachers.”
    Heh.  The Republican establishment won’t even kiss the TPers behind the ear when it’s over. Which will make the TPers’ adventures in government all that much more fun to watch.

  7. mantis says:

    Well, I guess we’ll just have to disagree on my interpretation of the comment.

    Your interpretation is quite obviously absurd.  “Under the bleachers” is a pretty well known American colloquialism meaning somewhere you go to do something without being seen, and the idea that a victim of date rape would want to be publicly embraced by her rapist, as your interpretation must suggest, is rather offensively absurd.

    You can double down and say “hey, we’ll just agree to disagree,” but I’ll bet you realize that it’s you alone who decided to insert a rape metaphor, and now look foolish for having done so.

  8. Tano says:

    Well, I guess we’ll just have to disagree on my interpretation of the comment.

     
    Ya know, your readership is a little bit smarter than you must think they are. We don’t necessarily simply accept any ol’ words you write. For example – this comment of yours is pretty quickly and seamlessly translated as “Well, I guess I really can’t defend that comment….”

  9. So let’s see.

    Either the lefty blogosphere was led “under the bleachers” by deceptive politicians who never actually intended to give them what they wanted. In which case the “date rape” analogy applies.

    Or, they went willingly. In which case, as Steve said, they’re sluts.

    In either case, they’re fools for trusting politicians,and they look like little children for crying that they haven’t gotten what they want.

  10. mantis says:

    Or, they went willingly. In which case, as Steve said, they’re sluts.
    In either case, they’re fools for trusting politicians,and they look like little children for crying that they haven’t gotten what they want.
    No one is disputing this interpretation.  Are you getting it yet?

  11. mantis says:

    Either the lefty blogosphere was led “under the bleachers” by deceptive politicians who never actually intended to give them what they wanted. In which case the “date rape” analogy applies.
    And by the way, no, that’s crap.
    Bobby tells Susie, “Susie, come make out with me under the bleachers and I’ll take you to the dance.”  Susie agrees.  Bobby then shuns Susie and does not take her to the dance.  Was that rape?

  12. Grant says:

    Oh, for christ’s sake. Madrak isn’t talking about “giving them all they wanted.” All she’s is saying is that the White House is happy to praise liberal bloggers behind the scenes, but turns around and leverages against them in Politico for the benefit of Blue Dogs. That Sistah Souljah strategy not only pisses off the bloggers but needlessly alienates tens of thousands of activist blog readers.
    It has nothing to do with date rape; that’s your own fixations talking.

  13. Paul L. says:

    F & mantis

    “The metaphor has nothing to do with rape.”

    It counts according to the feminist definition of If the woman regrets it later, it is Rape.

  14. MM says:

    Is this what the so-called “reality based community” now thinks of it’s relationship to the White House, as some sort of analogy to high school date rape

     
    This is not an analogy to date rape.  It’s an analogy for feeling like you can take what you want from someone without giving back and that they will always be there if you want to take more.   Just because most people misuse phrases like sour grapes and begging the question, doesn’t mean we get to start making up our own interpretations of common turns of phrase.
    Now, the bigger issue is that Susie Madrak is using “hippie punching” which is a term that is NOT common and does not get the message accross to anyone who isn;t at least passingly familiar with most of the major political bloggers on the left.  It’s as meaningless to Axelrod and to Obama as it would be if I told a Latvian I was “ready to go Dwight Freeney on a QB”.

  15. C’mon Doug, man up and just admit it was a terrible interpretation. It’s just not that hard. I’m a die hard lefty and enjoy reading what you write, but this is just silly.

  16. Madrak compares the “Netroots” relationship with the Democratic Party to sex underneath a high school bleacher and I’m the one getting criticized ?

    We truly do live in a weird world

  17. Susie Madrak says:

    Let me explain it S-L-O-W-L-Y, so you get it. My point was that the Obama camp was more than happy to take our sizable campaign contributions and GOTV efforts when they wanted to win, but started badmouthing us after we “held [his] feet to the fire”, as Obama publicly asked us to do.
    No date rape analogy here. Okay? We clear now?

  18. Of course they were Susie, they’re politicians.

    Let me explain it to you S-L-O-W-L-Y……you got taken. You can’t trust politicians any more than you can trust government as a whole.

    Us libertarians figured that out a long time ago. Welcome to the club.

  19. wr says:

    Paul L — Sorry your mother was mean to you. Still, time to get over hating women.

  20. […] Liberal Blogger Accuses White House Of “Hippie Punching” (outsidethebeltway.com) […]

  21. Lawnguylander says:

    It wasn’t a rape analogy. It was a stupid and crude thing to say in such a setting but it wasn’t alluding to rape. The use of the term “hippie punching” was just as stupid. I think bloggers like Susie only ever talk to other bloggers, online and off and her audience wasn’t Axelrod but other bloggers. It was a little like a Howard Stern fan calling up Larry King and yelling out “bababooey!” As for this:

    Obama camp was more than happy to take our sizable campaign contributions

    What do you mean “our?”

  22. c.red says:

    Ok somehow this thread got lost in silliness…
    People get frustrated, sometimes they have to vent. The “Liberal Blogosphere” has an agenda and aren’t happy that everything isn’t going exactly the way they want. The Obama administration, which is made up of people too as much as people forget sometimes, feels like they are pulling as fast as they can and aren’t happy that with what they feel as a lack of support.

    But here’s the thing: do you think anyone on the left thinks we would have been better off under McCain/Palin?

    Though I do admit the parallels and comparisons with the Tea Party are somewhat amusing…

  23. Brian says:

    It was obviously not a rape metaphor.  Good grief, Doug.

  24. Eric Florack says:

    As I stated elsewhere…. Obama and the congressional and Senate Democars ahve been a collectivist failure. Not because they failed to get their far leftst policy enacted but because they succeeded in it.

    Stop wishing, Lefties. This is the change you demanded.

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