The Politics of Distraction

Carol Platt Liebau
Posted: Jan 18, 2012 9:18 AM
ABC News' Emily Friedman has a story about a bickering twitter exchange between David Axelrod and Eric Fehrnstrom (his counterpart in Mitt Romney's campaign).

I understand how easy it is to get caught up in a campaign bubble.  Little, inconsequential things start to take on earth-shaking importance.  But it's always worth thinking about how what you do looks to the larger world.

This kind of stuff (and the reporting on it) is what normal people hate about politics.  Axelrod would like nothing better than to get into the "heads" of the Romney team.  What's more, they're going to try to turn the campaign into a contest of personalities -- not only because they have little record to run on, but because they believe the President's likability numbers (not great, but better than his other numbers) may help him against a candidate who is often perceived as stiff.

The wise response when Axelrod tries to do this is to ignore him, don't bicker with him -- just ask if his time wouldn't be better spent helping the President get Americans back to work than tweeting childish insults, and leave it at that.  Resist the urge to do anything that looks like it's about a personal contest between two advisors, rather than what's best for the American people.  Refuse to engage in the "politics of distraction" -- which is one of the only weapons in the arsenal of a failed president's campaign.