Labour Party guru David Axelrod popped up in Sunday’s New York Times, presumably to promote his new book. He spoke candidly to columnist Maureen Dowd, attempting to explain why Barack Obama is plummeting in the polls:
‘Reagan significantly changed the trajectory of the country for better and worse. But he restored a sense of clarity. Bush and Cheney were black and white, and after them, Americans wanted someone smart enough to get the nuances and deal with complexities. Now I think people are tired of complexity and they’re hungering for clarity, a simpler time. But that’s going to be hard to restore in the world today.’
That’s right; apparently, President Obama is just too complex for the simple American public.
Is that a bold political strategy rooted in honesty, or merely yet more evidence of the political class’s breath-taking arrogance? You decide – if you’re bright enough.
One wonders what that clever Ed Miliband makes of Axelrod’s analysis. You may recall that it was he who hired the celebrity campaigner, much to the excitement of the political classes, to help him into Number 10. You will struggle to find anyone Westminster who would honestly say that the Labour leader is speaking to those who are ‘hungering for clarity’ and a ‘simpler’ politics. So does he think that the British are crying out for nuance and complexity?
With catchphrases like ‘pre-distribution’ and ‘producers versus predators’ and a fondness for Thomas Piketty, it would appear that Ed’s on the side of the wonks. And it just so happens that his own approval rating is tanking. Mr S may be a bear of very little brain compared to the likes of wise political lodestars like Ed and the Axe; but even he can see a correlation…