"Something that the president said this week struck me ... he said it's not as cool to be an Obama supporter as it was in 2008... I think he's right. I think it's not as cool to be an Obama supporter now. How do you get cool back into this?"
Gee, how do you compare a campaign that was based entirely on vapid promises and vaporous sentiment with a referendum on actual job performance? Axelrod denied (unconvincingly) that the 2008 campaign had been a "cult of personality" and assured Crowley that once the campaign gets "fully engaged and the choices become clear, you are going to see a great deal of activity out there on his behalf." In a signal of just how feeble the case for Obama's re-election is, Axelrod fell back on the bogeyman:
"I think one of the things that's going to inform that campaign is whether that Republican candidate is going to yield to some of the forces within his own party or her own party that is driving their -- their party further to the right."
For the record, there has never been a time in the past 50 years that the Democrats have not claimed to detect a frightening rightward tilt in the GOP -- even as the party has nominated such wild-eyed radicals as George H.W. Bush, John McCain and George W. ("compassionate conservative") Bush.
Crowley pointed out that support for the president among independents has declined from 52 percent in the 2008 election to 42 percent today, and that even among staunch liberals, 89 percent of whom voted for Obama in 2008, support has dipped to 64 percent. How does the Obama team re-create a victory in light of these numbers?
She might have added so much more to that question. She might have asked how an incumbent requests re-election when the unemployment is at 9.1 percent. Even more worrisome, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, fully half of the jobless are now long-term unemployed, meaning they have been without jobs for 27 weeks or longer. That is the highest percentage of long-term unemployed since the Labor Department starting keeping such records in 1948.