"The Mittzkrieg in Illinois isn't terribly inspiring," David Axelrod tweets this morning, "so turnout may lag. But the sheer volume probably has been grindingly effective."
Axelrod, chief strategist for President Obama’s re-election campaign, was most recently seen bellyaching about the "coarsening of our political culture" on CNN. He’s been all over former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s case as the Republicans close in on tomorrow’s Illinois primary.
I’ve never fully grokked the image of Obama is a bomb-throwing Alinskyite Bolshevik – partly because proponents of this theory define Alinskyite stealth strategies as stuff like "divide and conquer the opposition," "ridicule and slander your opponents," "win elections rather than lose them," and other tips that don’t exactly sound like the best-kept secrets of the Shaolin temple.
I also don’t understand visceral reactions against Romney, who in my experience is a resolutely likable figure unlikely to generate visceral reactions of any kind – let alone calls for his assassination from a member of a major newspaper’s editorial board.
Axelrod is a practiced mudslinger however, and his experiences in the Land of Lincoln have left him well prepared for the kind of mega-Godwin stupidities of a general election.
In this crazy, rapidly changing, twitterpated world where people can look at the internets on their telephones, it may be too much to ask for any semblance of logic from political operatives. But I'm used to comments like Axelrod's being cause for much clucking about the loss of civility from people like, well, Axelrod.
It’s just worth pointing out: a) two can play at that game; b) you know who else had a neatly combed moustache and a dangling forelock; and b) with a little trimming and a slight darkening of Axelrod’s care-grayed whiskers, the truth really comes out.
What a return to civility would look like: