The Obama folks have made a couple of big vetting mistakes, but I don't think their internal political shop is getting enough credit.
I mean, look at the Stimulus battle. They came out of that thing smelling great while Republican approval fell substantially. Their budget came out, and they didn't really get smashed for a trillion dollar deficit. Republicans are looking crazier and crazier and are now even expressing caution in their criticism
Or take this. Tell me this isn't some sweet spin for an administration ending a war.
President Barack Obama leaned heavily toward field commanders' preferences in settling a time frame for ending the war in Iraq, as he weighed the fervent desires of the anti-war community that propelled him into office and the equally strong worries of the generals commanding troops in the war zone.
Withdrawing, but being heard to shade on the side of commanders is a great split down the political middle, and having this fact "leak" is good politics. (Heck, I think if they can take some public flak from the "anti-war left," it only helps them politically.)
Frankly, I don't know if where the Obama folks are governing is actually the center, but they're doing a hell of a job crafting opinion so that it is.
It's funny, after Karl Rove was so public, now we have David Axelrod and his politics shop not even getting mentioned. (...because the Obama White House is beyond politics? Yeah right
: As another example, take a look at this
. The Obama folks get their Saturday message carried as the AP's second story, and it's about defining the budget/agenda fight primarily as Obama against "lobbies", laying the groundwork to tar anyone against him as part of a "lobby."
(Interesting they chose "lobbies" rather than lobbyists. "Lobbies" is far more inclusive and makes opponents part of the lobby rather than influenced by lobbyists. And, "lobbies" rather than the more traditional but externalizing "special interests.")
I'm kinda circling around this thing. My point is, the Obama folks are playing politics and playing them pretty damn well, and thus far, they're doing so quietly enough that nobody really seems to be noticing.
Pretty impressive, Axelrod.