Fun: Axelrod, lefty bloggers get testy with each other on conference call

Have tea partiers had any calls like this yet with the GOP leadership? All in good time, all in good time.

“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 administration.

Mind you, the purpose of the call was for Axelrod to beg the nutroots to help get rank-and-file Democrats excited to vote in November. Three questions, though One: Aren’t lefty bloggers already doing everything they can to scare the hell out of their readers about the coming GOP wave? Didn’t Kos, whose site is big enough to have generated an annual conference attended by top Democrats, just publish a book comparing conservatives to the Taliban? What more do you want them to do, Ax, immolate themselves in grief? Two: How much can bloggers do, really, to improve turnout? Most people who care enough about politics enough to read blogs every day are already motivated to vote, and the size of the audience even on sites with heavy traffic simply isn’t that big vis-a-vis the total pool of voters. We can post the links to candidates’ donation pages and we can publicize canvassing efforts, but if I were Ax, I wouldn’t even bother with the small fry. Just dial up Arianna Huffington, whose online reach is truly massive compared to everyone else, and try to arrange something with HuffPo.

Third: According to new data from PPP, a.k.a. Kos’s pollster, Democrats who are staying home in November might not be sitting things out because they’re depressed and need a pep talk. They might be sitting out because they’re relatively content with the big agenda items passed thus far (while being dispirited about the economy, natch, but there’s nothing to be done there). Ironically, it’s the unhappy Democrats — many of whom are no doubt the hippies the White House keeps punching — who’ll be out in force in November because, when push comes to shove, it’s more important to the left to keep the GOP out of power than it is to punish Obama for being too, ahem, centrist. Which, of course, explains why the White House is willing to take liberals for granted (and why the GOP is willing to take tea partiers for granted) but doesn’t explain what, precisely, Axelrod wants from the blogosphere. If most of the liberal blogs and their readers are unhappy with O and yet almost all are sure to vote anyway to try to stop the “conservative Taliban,” what good does he think a big bloggy push towards November is really going to do? Believe me, I’ve seen this phenomenon from the other side — partisans grudgingly forced to rally behind a guy at the top whom they’re less than thrilled with — and I assure you: The story ends badly.