The White House yesterday beseeched liberal bloggers to help the administration rally Democratic voters this November, but instead, the Democrats' liberal base decided to let the White House know just how disappointed they are in the administration.
White House senior adviser David Axelrod told liberal bloggers on a conference call yesterday, "You play a great role in informing people about the stakes of elections," the Washington Post's Greg Sargent reports.
Blogger Susan Madrak of the website Crooks and Liars reportedly retorted, "Have you ever heard of hippie punching?" Madrak was referencing a phrase thrown around by bloggers who think the Obama administration has treated its liberal base with disdain.
"You want us to help you, the first thing I would suggest is enough of the hippie punching," she said. "We're the girl you'll take under the bleachers but you won't be seen with in the light of day."
Madrak reportedly implored to Axelrod, "Don't make our jobs harder," to which he replied, "Right back at'cha. Right back at'cha."
The exchange crystallizes the strained relationship between the White House, which has attempted to implement a liberal agenda without ignoring conservative ideas, and the liberal base, which is resentful of the White House for letting conservatives and moderates hold up important liberal goals.
The White House, for instance, has allowed the Defense Department to take a slow approach to repealing the "don't ask, don't tell" policy that prohibits gays or lesbians in the military from being open about their sexuality. After liberal bloggers this summer angrily lashed out about the delayed progress, a Pentagon spokesperson replied that criticisms from the left were "not helpful."
Later in the summer, White House spokesperson Robert Gibbs blasted the "professional left" as unrepresentative of liberals "in America."
One of the Democrats' biggest challenges this November appears to be motivating its liberal base: polls consistently show that Republican voters are more motivated than Democrats to vote in the midterms.