Obama allies to Sanders: Hey, we’re “true progressives” too, you know

posted at 9:21 pm on February 2, 2016 by Ed Morrissey

Touchy, touchy! Last night, Bernie Sanders declared his virtual tie in the Iowa caucuses as the start of a political revolution — against the media (natch), billionaires and Wall Street (of course), and the political establishment, too. “[T]he people of Iowa have sent a very profound message to the political establishment, to the economic establishment, and, by the way, to the media establishment,” Sanders started off his speech. “Given the enormous crises facing our country, it is just too late for establishment politics and establishment economics.”

Gee, who might the political establishment be, considering who has occupied the White House for the last seven years, and whose Cabinet official felt the Bern last night in Iowa? Hmmmm:

Barack Obama’s allies and White House alumni are none too pleased to be the implicit targets of Sanders’ form of progressive populism. Politico’s Edward-Isaac Dovere reports that they are angrily defending their status as True Progressives:

“He seems to be talking out of both sides of his mouth,” said Tommy Vietor, an Obama 2008 campaign alum and former National Security Council spokesman. “He knows that Obama’s at a 90 percent approval rating in Iowa. He’s seemingly tempered his language in trying to play up all the work Obama did, but also offering criticisms that aren’t really rooted in the realities of what happened.” …

“What’s frustrating is a very, very, very small minority of progressives hold this point of view, but for whatever reason, they seem to have this giant megaphone,” said Mitch Stewart, who ran Obama’s 2008 operation in Iowa and moved immediately to the president’s reelection campaign. …

“Evaluating the president’s record is not a theoretical exercise—we’ve got numbers we can consider,” said White House press secretary Josh Earnest on Monday, who made a point of reminding people that Sanders had praised Obama’s record standing on the White House driveway just last Wednesday, after his meeting. “And whether it’s the longest job growth streak in history or the lowest growth in health care costs in American history, or the all-time high in renewable energy production in this country, the president’s track record on issues that are important to middle class people in this country or important to Democrats is unimpeachable.”

Asked if that made Sanders voters in Iowa under-informed, misinformed or just plain wrong, Earnest demurred.

Well, fine, except that the person to blame for this isn’t Bernie Sanders. It’s Barack Obama. As I wrote last week at The Fiscal Times, the rise of populism on both sides directly relates to the impossible promises and underdelivery of leadership in both parties. Did they think Sanders’ popularity had something to do with his cool clothing and hip, youthful appearance? Come on, man:

The frustration driving Bernie Sanders’ rise as a legitimate alternative to Clinton can be traced in significant part back to Obama himself. Obama beat Clinton in 2008 for the nomination by posturing himself a break with the Democratic Party establishment, a fresh voice for a more progressive party. He promised to end the Iraq war and win in Afghanistan, take on the “Too Big to Fail” financial institutions, and take action on a broad front of progressive social-justice issues. In September 2011, Obama pitched his rhetoric even sharper and helped promote the Occupy movement as a counter to the conservative Tea Party.

Almost eight years later, most of those promises went unfulfilled. Obama was yanked into openly supporting same-sex marriage by Joe Biden after spending nearly four years “evolving” on the issue. Obamacare passed, but it enabled the biggest insurers to gain a captive market. Dodd-Frank has reinforced “Too Big to Fail,” while not a single Wall Street executive has faced criminal charges for the financial-sector meltdown that helped create the Great Recession. Obama hasn’t passed punitive taxes on the rich as he once championed, and he has made common cause with globalists on trade.

Other than his expansion of the regulatory state, progressives have plenty of reason to feel ignored – which is why they have flocked to Sanders’ populist campaign. Clinton has tried tacking to the Left in the primary without much success, at one time trying to keep arms’ distance from Obama. Suddenly, though, she has chosen to embrace the current status quo, and Obama has in some ways turned his back on 2007-8 to embrace Clinton and the status quo ante. Promising to perpetuate Obama as a policymaker doesn’t make much sense in a primary marked by passionate demands for major change from the present.

Sure, Obama remains a popular figure, but he’s not on the ballot — his Cabinet Secretary is. The fact that Bernie can fight Hillary to a draw in a state where Democrats hold Obama in high regard by attacking the perceived failures of his administration to deliver on its promises says less about Obama and more about how diffident the base feels about its presumptive nominee. Bernie didn’t start the fire; Team Obama did to fire up the base for his 2012 re-election, and now Hillary is reaping the consequences for it — and for her own shortcomings as well.

In short, Obama and his cohort encouraged progressives to become activists for him, and then left them by the wayside after he won. Now that progressives have pitchforks and torches out and are on a purity crusade, Obama’s team is shocked, shocked to see themselves cast as villains. Be careful what you wish for ….

 


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Comments

….feel the Bern!

JugEarsButtHurt on February 2, 2016 at 9:23 PM

. “He knows that Obama’s at a 90 percent approval rating in Iowa.

.

he is?

wolly4321 on February 2, 2016 at 9:27 PM

I think Sanders is more of a Trotskyite and Obama/Hillary are more Lenin/Stalin school.

Buddahpundit on February 2, 2016 at 9:27 PM

…the Skank won’t be able to put Obumbler’s coalition back together and neither will Sanders…

…just as Bush begot Obama, so will Obama beget a republican…

Pelosi Schmelosi on February 2, 2016 at 9:32 PM

He knows that Obama’s at a 90 percent approval rating in Iowa.

Well – we joke about him being a dictator, but unless he really became one while we weren’t noticing, it’s not at 90%. As far as I can tell, it’s really in the low 40s, and disapproval is over five times larger than this assertion would make possible.

calbear on February 2, 2016 at 9:34 PM

Better Bernie than Rubio.

Picture gridlock and shutdowns. Really, that sounds perfect. Ideal. The only thing better would be if about half the federal workforce quit and went into the private sector.

jaime on February 2, 2016 at 9:36 PM

He knows that Obama’s at a 90 percent approval rating in Iowa.

That’s gotta be among Dems or Progressives.

trubble on February 2, 2016 at 9:36 PM

Dear Liar and Hillary are fascists. They like big business, as long as they get to tell business what to do. And as long as business makes money, they are happy with it.

Bernie is Willian Jennings Bryant.

rbj on February 2, 2016 at 9:37 PM

Sanders had praised Obama’s record standing on the White House driveway just last Wednesday, after his meeting. “And whether it’s the longest job growth streak in history or the lowest growth in health care costs in American history, or the all-time high in renewable energy production in this country, the president’s track record on issues that are important to middle class people in this country or important to Democrats is unimpeachable.”

What alternative reality does Earnest inhabit?

onlineanalyst on February 2, 2016 at 9:43 PM

As soon as the primaries hit the south Bernie will be history. Clinton owns the black vote.

alanstern on February 2, 2016 at 9:43 PM

Obama allies to Sanders: Hey, we’re “true progressives bat-sh!t crazy” too, you know

Fixed it…

Bernie Sanders looks as fruit loop crazy as Hillary is criminally insane… And they will both get soft headed, easily manipulated useful idiots to vote for them.

Scary stuff, until you realize that the pervert/liar BJ Clinton got re-elected, as well as the ultimate slacker obama… go figure…

Voodoo Chile on February 2, 2016 at 9:44 PM

In short, Obama and his cohort encouraged progressives to become activists for him, and then left them by the wayside after he won. Now that progressives have pitchforks and torches out and are on a purity crusade, Obama’s team is shocked, shocked to see themselves cast as villains. Be careful what you wish for ….

yes they do indeed own this Frankenstein too long with the media.

wolly4321 on February 2, 2016 at 9:45 PM

*along with *

wolly4321 on February 2, 2016 at 9:46 PM

Hey, we’re “true progressives” too …

As is Trump.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OOJrYxHQO-E

Pork-Chop on February 2, 2016 at 9:47 PM

What alternative reality does Earnest inhabit?

onlineanalyst on February 2, 2016 at 9:43 PM

Baghdad Bobs. they can lie with complete reckless abandon.

wolly4321 on February 2, 2016 at 9:48 PM

I think Sanders is more of a Trotskyite and Obama/Hillary are more Lenin/Stalin school.

Buddahpundit on February 2, 2016 at 9:27 PM

Actually I think I got that backwards because a Trotskyite is an economic one-worlder and although you see Obama allied with the GOPe on trade, the free trade policy’s effect on the wealthy nation is they export their wealth and an equalization among nations occurs and it kills the middle class in the wealthy nation. But the Trotskyism is disguised because he’s allied with the wall street capitalists.

People like Sanders and Warren, and Hillary being newcomer to it, have a more nationalist economic theory. First make everyone economically equal in the US via the parasite vs host political contest. Of course they don’t have much in the way of national defense nationalism as the Bolsheviks of yore.

Buddahpundit on February 2, 2016 at 9:53 PM

Feb 02, 2016 at 9:43 pm alanstern
She thought so in 2008. Last week this awesome coach at a high school I work asked me if Trump could win. He’s 44 years in public schools 5 state championship rings for basketball hard worker. He said Hillary is a despicable crook and, the President has run this country to shit. Never heard him curse before in 7 months. I was surprised don’t discount the anger in the black community they hate this Shiite as much as we do. Don’t pander lead.

LeeBelieu on February 2, 2016 at 10:33 PM

This is pretty much exactly the dynamic in play. Obviously, also in play for the right–sure, some people wanted Medicare Part D and an awesome war, but the house freshman were elected on the premise of implementing radical change they knew they could never deliver. Now both sides are pissed, and nobody’s gonna get satisfied.

The only way this ends is when people stop seeking the federal government to reflect their policy views, and keep it more local. Of course, in the status quo, that’s entirely possible for the priorities of the left (legislatively)–but for the right, you can’t “undo” federal taxation levels.

StaySharp on February 2, 2016 at 10:34 PM

Coach kicks a$$ BTW team slumping but the guy stays cause he believes in his kids wants to make his team great athletes productive citizens he restored my faith in people

LeeBelieu on February 2, 2016 at 10:37 PM

The Democrats are getting a choice between a wannabee socialist (O’Malley), a wannabee Communist (Sanders), and a full-on fascist (Hillary!).

Yes, Sanders dreams of being Lenin. Anyone who is asinine enough to say “if people truly understood Communism, they’d beg to live under it” in light of its actual track record, is delusional enough to think Stalin’s purges were a good idea. He also excoriates people for caring more about…people.. than “Holy Mother Gaia”. Frankly, he’s batsh!t crazy.

On the GOP side, you have a slew of ballot mice (Jeb, Kasich, etc.)who want the status quo to continue to please the Party leadership, and three outliers (Trump, Cruz, and Rubio) who are desperately trying to convince everyone that they are “real conservatives” in spite of their records.

The only thing that’s hard to understand is why the GOP establishment hates them so much. Any of the three would let the party leadership tell them what to do if they got in office.

The only up side is that by definition, any of the GOP front-runners would do less damage than any of the three Dem pretenders to the throne of The One.

Because all three of them would keep listening to him.

clear ether

eon

eon on February 2, 2016 at 10:38 PM

Democrats have gone so far to the extreme left that they are running open Marxists for US president! In my lifetime, Commie thugs with Sanders ideology vowed to bury us and the US Govt trained us to kill them and sent us overseas to do just that. While Reagan and GHWB were waging a brilliant war to defeat the evil Soviet Union, Sanders took his bride there on their honeymoon! If you thought Howard Dean was crazy – and he is – then Bernie Sanders belongs in a padded cell….along with much of the rest of the Democrat Party! Instead of promising a chicken in every pot….Sanders promise is a fruitcake in every closet! And Hillary Clinton is so corrupt she makes John Edwards look ethical!

devan95 on February 2, 2016 at 10:50 PM

I love it when leftists eat their own…it’s been 7 long years in the making.

…just as Bush begot Obama, so will Obama beget a republican…

Pelosi Schmelosi on February 2, 2016 at 9:32 PM

↑THIS

AppraisHer on February 2, 2016 at 10:58 PM

Bernie isn’t a fascist commie like Hillary or Obama

SDRightWinger on February 3, 2016 at 1:14 AM

I think a more accurate term for Bernie and the Obama crew is neo-Marxist.

grumpyank on February 3, 2016 at 7:18 AM

Hey guys! We’re communists too!

darwin on February 3, 2016 at 7:44 AM

Bernie isn’t a fascist commie like Hillary or Obama

SDRightWinger on February 3, 2016 at 1:14 AM

Socialism is the neccessary stage before communism. Unless, you’re Lenin … then you just skip that stage, steal everything and kill anyone who looks at you wrong.

Plus, the left never stops. Never. Can you name any issue won by the left where they’ve stopped? Regardless of what they win they keep pushing for more.

darwin on February 3, 2016 at 7:48 AM

“Longest job growth in history”? WTF?

Count to 10 on February 3, 2016 at 7:59 AM

Budda, no, free trade does not export the wealth of wealthy nations — it increases the wealth of all nations by allowing greater specialization. Inefficient operations go out of business, and workers that demand more compensation than they produce lose their jobs. That’s the way it is supposed to work. If you demand that every worker have job security for life, that makes you a socialist.

Count to 10 on February 3, 2016 at 8:05 AM

He knows that Obama’s at a 90 percent approval rating in Iowa.

Try around 41%.

albill on February 3, 2016 at 8:21 AM

Unimpeachable?

That’s what Boehner said.

Fallon on February 3, 2016 at 8:27 AM

On further consideration, the “job growth” line might technically be true, while still being meaningless or even contradictory. Obama’s policies have kept economic growth to a minimum, which has put off the next boom (and bust) cycle, preventing the kinds of conditions that would cause nominal job growth to go negative. Job growth has not generally been keeping pace with population growth, so a population adjusted measure of job grow would have spent most of the time negative.

Count to 10 on February 3, 2016 at 9:11 AM

Hogwash! They’re freaking communists.

rplat on February 3, 2016 at 12:12 PM

“Longest job growth in history”? WTF?

Count to 10 on February 3, 2016 at 7:59 AM

I’m willing to bet somewhere, at some point in the history of humankind, there was a sovereign nation that experienced net job growth of at least one person every quarter for at least 62 months. Five years is not that long a time. During the 90s boom, there were only three months out of like a hundred that had negative job growth before the dot-com bubble burst.

And there’s also the issue of seasonally adjusted statistics. There are still job losses in January, July and December, like clockwork, in the millions.

For that matter, I’m not sure there’s any seasonally-adjusted data that predates the modern (post-Depression) era.

The Schaef on February 3, 2016 at 12:52 PM