Some high-level Democrats are calling for President Barack Obama to remake his inner circle or even fire top advisers in response to what many party strategists expect to be a decisive defeat on Tuesday.
Tensions have come to the surface after meetings over the past few weeks in which Obama senior adviser David Axelrod discussed communications strategy with senior Democratic strategists and party officials. Some Democrats were so unhappy with the White House meetings, they started their own.
The strategy sessions aired a range of disagreements over how to help Democrats forestall an electoral drubbing at the polls—a defeat party strategists believe could have been minimized with a different White House playbook.
"They just had so much faith in the president's ability to navigate all this and that no matter what the right threw at him, the president would have this force field of trust that would protect him," a House strategist said. "On the Hill, there's this sense that there are three [political] parties, the president, Democrats in Congress and Republicans in Congress."
That force field, said a number of strategists and officials, is comprised of Mr. Axelrod, Valerie Jarrett, press secretary Robert Gibbs and 2008 campaign manager David Plouffe. Some complained the White House, in its focus on building a 2012 reelection strategy, acted at times more in its own interest than that of Democratic candidates.
Another senior strategist who participated in a meeting with Mr. Axelrod said the White House hadn't grasped the economic concerns voters have— something he says Republicans seemed to understand."We ignored what voters were actually feeling and thinking," this strategist said.
When Democrats begin popping up on television later tonight offering one cockamamie excuse after another about what went wrong, they should all be referred back to that last quote. Democrats are about to experience a painful rebuke not because people are "scared," or because of "outside money," or because voters aren't "thinking clearly." They're paying the price for ignoring "what voters were actually feeling and thinking."