It may seem like an even exchange: weary David Axelrod comes home to Chicago, sees the fam, and starts gearing for 2012, while David Plouffe, the Obama campaign’s brainy strategist, finally takes a public White House post.
But part of makes these two work so well is that they complement rather than mirror each other. And right now Axelrod needs a break while Plouffe comes in relatively rested. Frankly, this may be the best move the White House has made in a while.
Senior adviser to the president was never the job Axelrod wanted – he initially said he wouldn’t take it, then said he wouldn’t stay more than a year and, now, two years on and a devastating midterm election later, we all wish he’d listened to his gut. Gaffe-prone of late, Axelrod needs to come home to Chicago to rest and re-charge.
It’s important to remember that, long before he became the founder of one of he most successful political consulting firms ever, he was a journalist. And the singular quality that good reporters share – and have no doubt that Axelrod was a very good reporter – is the ability to listen. Second to that is the ability to distill.