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David Axelrod vs. Karl Rove – My deficit or yours?

Posted on January 18 2010 5:30 pm
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Where has David Axelrod been?

Truth be known, if you were the person in charge of maintaining President Obama’s image, wouldn’t you have gone into hiding after the President’s dismal, and belated response to the Christmas day terror attack? With the President’s adequate handling of the Haiti crisis, Axelrod emerged again, and wasted no time making waves.

So, on Friday, January 15, 2010, Axelrod’s op-ed piece entitled, “What Karl Rove got wrong on the U.S. deficit” ran in the Washington Post. Amazingly, Axelrod took umbrage with an extremely minimal commentary by Rove. What subject would cause the President’s top political adviser to respond in such a Pavlovian manner? Unbelievably, the argument Axelrod chose to engage on was – the budget deficit!

Karl Rove correctly pointed out the enormous increase in spending by the Obama Administration, and Axelrod took the bait like a rookie. You would think a man so trained in the ways of Alinsky would have better control of the action-reaction chain. Rove has now vowed to answer Axelrod’s response with a detailed piece in the Wall Street Journal this week, which will include the actual numbers involved.

It’s hard to envision how Axelrod can possibly win this argument or spin it in a positive direction. The numbers are simply not on his side. When President Obama presented his original budget entitled, “A New Era of Responsibility Renewing America’s Promise”, the Administration’s own numbers show an inherited deficit of $459 Billion and a projected 2009 deficit of $1.752 trillion. So will Axelrod argue with the numbers presented by his President?

As shown in the chart above, Bush overspent, but Obama doubled down. For even more charts and information about the deficit visit the Heritage Foundation. So where is the upside for Mr. Axelrod to engage Mr. Rove on the budget deficit? It would appear that he, like everyone else in the Obama Administration, is still clinging to the fading hope that America will forever blame George W. Bush, and exempt Obama from blame simply because as the now tired refrain goes, “He inherited it”. The danger here is that Mr. Axelrod has engaged on exactly the wrong subject – the subject that led to the Tea Parties.

Perhaps it makes sense to attempt to shore up the weakest link in a very weak chain, but inviting more discussion on the budget deficit simply cannot benefit Mr. Axelrod’s boss. In an attempt to respond to his predecessor, and simultaneously repeat the threadbare “We inherited it” refrain, Axelrod seems to have inadvertently invited more discussion, and a closer examination of exactly what this Administration actually inherited, and just how much they’ve spent. It would be remarkable if Mr. Axelrod could find a way to spin this in his, or the President’s favor.

So where has David Axelrod been?  I think we can say with some certainty that he was not reviewing budget numbers or boning up on his Alinsky tactics.

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