No More Hippie Punching

I was a genuine hippie at one point in my life. I saw the Grateful Dead more times than I can remember <insert joke> had long hair when it was still possible for me to grow it and wore the same jeans jacket for 7 years. (A friend called it my “drug coat” and she wasn’t far wrong.) I drew the line, however, at hackey sack, patchouli oil and incense. Feh.

This post is NOT about literal hippies but about the virtual hippies of the so-called professional left. I’m somewhat jealous of them, actually, since I am merely one of the amateur left. Does that make me a beatnik or something else? I’m not sure…

Anyway, some high profile virtual hippies had a conference call with White House spinmeister David Axelrod and his well-manscaped eyebrows. It’s all over the inteweb now but I stumbled on to the exchangeat Greg Sargent’s blog so I’ll cut and paste his post:


Top Obama adviser David Axelrod got an earful of the liberal
blogosphere’s anger at the White House moments ago, when a blogger on a
conference call directly called out Axelrod over White House criticism
of the left, accusing the administration of “hippie punching.”

“We’re the girl you’ll take under the bleachers but you won’t be
seen with in the light of day,” the blogger, Susan Madrak of Crooks and
Liars, pointedly told Axelrod on the call, which was organzied for
liberal bloggers and progressive media.

The call seemed to perfectly capture the tense dynamic that exists
between the White House and the online and organized left: Though White
House advisers in the past have dumped on the left, anonymously and
even on the record, Axelrod repeatedly pleaded with the bloggers on the
call for help in pumping up the flagging enthusiasm of rank and file

“You play a great role in informing people about the stakes of
elections,” Axelrod told the bloggers. “One of the reasons I was eager
to expend time was to enlist you.”

But hovering over the call was the obvious disconnect between this
plea for help and statements like those of Robert Gibbs, who recently
pilloried the “professional left” for being overly critical of the
White House.

That tension burst out into the open when Madrak directly asked
Axelrod: “Have you ever heard of hippie punching?” That prompted a long
silence from Axelrod.

“You want us to help you, the first thing I would suggest is enough
of the hippie punching,” Madrak added. “We’re the girl you’ll take
under the bleachers but you won’t be seen with in the light of day.”

Axelrod didn’t engage on “hippie punching,” but he said he agreed
with the blogger. “To the extent that we shouldn’t get involved in
intramural skirmishing, I couldn’t agree more,” Axelrod said. “We just
can’t afford that. There are big things at stake here.”

Madrak replied that Axelrod was missing the point — that the
criticism of the left made it tougher for bloggers like herself to
motivate the base. “Don’t make our jobs harder,” she said.

“Right back at’cha. Right back at’cha,” Axelrod replied, a bit
testily, an apparent reference to blogospheric criticism of the

At any rate, for Axelrod to plead with liberal bloggers for their
help turning out the base, only to get accused of “hippie punching,” is
an iconic moment in Campaign 2010.

Hey, at least she didn’t suggest that Axe drink bong juice. I only have one more thing to add to this:bummer man.

For Susie Madrak’s account get thee to Crooks and Liars. I now officially have a crush on her.

6 thoughts on “No More Hippie Punching

  1. Does that make me a beatnik or something else?
    Since you’re online, maybe bytenik…or bitnik.
    Anyway…I really try to cut Team Obama as much slack as I can, given that the president can hardly take a breath without being accused of turning precious oxygen into socialist carbon dioxide (socialist being “the new black”)…and to Axelrod’s credit, he at least held the conference call.
    But it’s awfully late in the game to come to the base, begging bowl in hand…my own suspicion is that Rahm was/is ultimately responsible for all the base dissing, though Axelrod hasn’t seemed to be bothered all that much by it…

  2. Yes, Obama was/is moderate, and between that and the wingnut shrieking I didn’t expect much.
    But slapping around “the professional left” when the other side is doing everything to demonize progressives is…well, stupid.
    The Obama administration, whether they like it or not, speaks for the entire progressive movement. The wingers will ensure this. If things don’t turn out ok, it’s not just the Obama administration that gets smeared, but all of us.
    Similarly, Jimmy Carter, a “new kind of Democrat,” i.e., NOT a liberal (the original neo-liberal, in my book), anyway, Jimmy Carter’s perceived failure and loss in 1980 turned into the ultimate punch a hippie — the term “liberal” literally became anathema.
    OK, just my .00002 cents worth…but it’s also my honest opinion.
    A: glad you like bitnik. Am trying to think of an appropriate symbol…maybe a beret decorated with a sliderule motif?

  3. Doesn’t anybody get this at all?
    the man never said “I can do it all.”
    the man said, “yes, WE can.”
    We still could if we would instead of half of us going, “you’re not doing enough,” half of us going, “You’re not doing it fast enough,” half of us squalling, “I don’t like what you did” and half of us saying, “I don’t like what you didn’t do yet,” so all of us are saying “I’m taking my toys and going home. You can’t make me vote.”
    No. Nobody can make anybody vote.
    But the GOP will gladly lap up the openings your refusals hand them.
    The Obama administration isn’t punching hippies. It’s telling the truth. If we don’t
    GET OUT THE VOTE, if we don’t KEEP FIGHTING FOR WHAT WE WANT, we’re fucked. Completely.
    Do you want to be part of the answer, or more of the problem?
    That’s what the professional left, the bitniks, the hippies, the DFHs, and all the bloggers,
    all the Obots, all the blue dogs, all the yellow dogs, and every other registered voter who’s
    still able to fog a mirror in this whole damned country have to decide.
    You gonna help, or you gonna make shit worse?

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