Maureen Dowd: Washington Is Always the Last to Get the News

From a New York Times column by Maureen Dowd headlined “Can Dems Dodge Doomsday?”:

It may be a TikTok world, but sometimes old hacks know best.

James Carville helped Bill Clinton get elected against stiff odds. David Axelrod helped Barack Obama get elected against stiff odds. And Stan Greenberg was the first to identify the fateful trend of Reagan Democrats.

All three Dems are speaking out with startling candor about the impending Repubocalypse. Many Americans are fed up. The jumbled Covid response has eroded an already shaky trust in government. Inflation is biting. War is looming. Things feel out of control. People are anxious and reassessing their lives. Democrats have to connect with that.

The Democrats are stepping all over themselves…..Voters like to punish the people in power. So if the Democrats don’t figure it out, Jim Jordan is going to be running the House and pushing investigations of Biden and Hillary.

Exhausted, confused, isolated and depressed Americans are not buying the Democratic line that things are better than they look.

Biden’s superpower was supposed to be empathy, but nobody’s feeling it.

“He is depriving himself of his strongest assets: empathy and an identification with the day-to-day lives of people,” Axelrod said. “One of Biden’s strengths is that, at his best, he speaks the language of America, not Washington. But he has been speaking more in the voice of government officials than he has of Scranton Joe. He needs to get back there.

“Gary Hart told me the smartest thing I ever heard in politics: ‘Washington is always the last to get the news.’”…

In a Times opinion piece, Axelrod said Biden should avoid “off-key” triumphalism in his State of the Union address, and remember the country is traumatized.

Carville, still a Ragin’ Cajun, took time out from his Mardi Gras planning to reiterate points he has made in a Vox interview and elsewhere: Democrats should not be defined by their left wing or condone nutty slogans like “Defund the police.” They should work not to seem like an “urban, coastal, arrogant party” indulging in “faculty lounge politics” that appeal to reason rather than emotion and use “woke” words like “Latinx.”

“Seventy percent of the people in San Francisco tried to warn us,” he said of the battle among Democrats that ended up with voters firing three far-left school board members who mandated a long break from in-person learning during the pandemic and who wanted to rechristen schools named after Abraham Lincoln and George Washington.

“They’re not popular,” Carville said of such far-lefties….

Right now, he said, Americans are seeing “confusion and disorder.”…

In a blunt piece in The American Prospect, Greenberg warned Democrats not to use Obama as a closer in campaigns anymore or to present themselves as the party of Obama.

Once, Democrats believed that Obama’s multiracial coolness would animate his party. But his failure to prosecute any bankers after the near-collapse of the economy solidified fears that Wall Street and Washington were in cahoots.

“Obama did not give voice to the hurt and anger that working class voters were feeling,” Greenberg wrote, adding that Democratic leaders “stopped advocating for workers against corporate excess and stopped challenging the exceptional corruption that allowed billionaires and Wall Street to dominate politics. The result is that the Democratic Party has lost touch with all working people, including its own base.”

An Associated Press story’s headline echoed his point: “‘The Brand Is So Toxic’: Dems Fear Extinction in Rural U.S.”…

Maureen Dowd, winner of the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for distinguished commentary and author of three New York Times best sellers, became an Op-Ed columnist in 1995.

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