December 1, 2023

David Axelrod is just not a prick.


I’ve recognized him since 2007 and if I needed to choose a noun to explain him, it might be mensch.

So when President Biden privately employs that epithet for Axelrod, according to Politico’s Jonathan Martin, it’s dangerous for a couple of causes.

The ordinarily gracious president is punching down on the strategist who helped elevate him onto the ticket with Barack Obama in 2008 and who thinks he was “an excellent vice chairman” and has executed numerous fantastic issues as president.

When some within the Obama camp chattered in 2011 about switching Biden out for Hillary Clinton, Axelrod mentioned, he protested: “That might be an unimaginable act of disloyalty to a man who has executed an excellent job for us.”

Certainly, Mr. Biden doesn’t wish to decrease himself to the vulgarity of the growling, brawling, thieving Republicans within the Hieronymus Bosch hellscape of our Congress.

(As Seth Meyers famous, George Santos — who spent marketing campaign cash on Hermès, Ferragamo, Botox, Sephora and OnlyFans — had “the procuring checklist of a 98-year-old oil tycoon’s 20-year-old spouse.”)

Axelrod drew Biden’s ire as a result of he urged the president to contemplate stopping at one time period, throwing open the race to youthful Democrats whereas there’s nonetheless time, and leaving as a hero. He mentioned that, regardless of Biden’s insult, he received a slew of messages agreeing with him.

“I don’t care about them pondering I’m a prick — that’s tremendous,” the strategist instructed me. “I hope they don’t assume the polls are incorrect as a result of they’re not.”

In accordance with a New York Occasions/Siena Faculty poll, Donald Trump is forward in 5 battleground states and, as another surveys have discovered, is even making inroads amongst Black voters and younger voters. There’s a generational fracture within the Democratic Social gathering over the Israeli-Hamas horror and Biden’s age. Third-party spoilers are circling.

The president turns 81 on Monday; the Oval hollows out its occupants shortly, and Biden is coping with two world-shattering wars, chaos on the border, a riven social gathering and a roiling nation.

“I believe he has a 50-50 shot right here, however no higher than that, perhaps somewhat worse,” Axelrod mentioned. “He thinks he can cheat nature right here and it’s actually dangerous. They’ve received an actual downside in the event that they’re relying on Trump to win it for them. I keep in mind Hillary doing that, too.”

The president’s flash of anger signifies that he could also be in denial, surrounded by enablers who’re sugarcoating a grim political forecast.

Like different pols, Biden has a wholesome ego and like all presidents, he’s truculent about not getting the credit score he thinks he deserves for his accomplishments. And it should be infuriating that a lot of the age qualms are about him, when Trump is only some years youthful.

Little doubt the president is having a tough time wrapping his thoughts round the concept the 77-year-old Mar-a-Lago Dracula has risen from his gilded coffin though he’s albatrossed with authorized woes and appears extra deranged than ever, referring to Democrats with the fascist-favored time period “vermin” and plotting a second-term revengefest. Trump’s marketing campaign slogan must be, “There will probably be blood.”

For Biden, that is about his id. It’s what he has fought all his life for, even battling his approach by “pleasant hearth,” as Hunter Biden instructed me, within the Obama White Home, when some Obama aides undermined him. It should have been terrible when Obama took his vice chairman to lunch and nudged him aside for Hillary to run in 2016. Biden craves the affirmation of being re-elected. He doesn’t wish to appear like a man who’s been pushed from workplace.

However he shouldn’t indulge the Irish chip on his shoulder. He wants to assemble the sharpest minds in his social gathering and listen to what they must say, not interact in petty feuds.

If Trump manages to flee conviction in Jack Smith’s Washington case, which often is the solely felony trial that ends earlier than the election, that’s going to turbocharge his marketing campaign. In fact, if he’s convicted, that would turbocharge his marketing campaign much more.

It’s an ideal taking part in subject for the maleficent Trump: He discovered within the 2016 race that bodily and rhetorical violence may rev up his base. He told me on the time it helped get him to No. 1 and he mentioned he discovered violence at his rallies thrilling.

He has no thought why making enjoyable of Paul Pelosi’s accidents by the hands of one among his acolytes is subhuman, any greater than he understood how repellent it was in 2015 when he mocked a disabled Occasions reporter. He will get barbaric laughs by some means, and that’s all he cares about. In an interview with Jonathan Karl, Trump gloated about how his viewers on Jan. 6 was “the most important crowd I’ve ever spoken in entrance of by far.”

By no means thoughts that it was some of the harmful, shameful days in our historical past. To Trump, it was wonderful.

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