CNN came to this story of Barack Obama’s first political campaign a couple of days late, but they pursued it from an angle that may surprise people convinced that the media is in the tank for the Democratic nominee. They note that Obama certainly didn’t mind playing old-school Chicago politics to kick out his Democratic opponents in the primary, leaving him alone on the ballot. He didn’t mind stabbing his mentor in the back while doing so, either:
As I wrote before, Obama used the rules to his advantage. Many of the complaints of his competitors sound like sour grapes; if they had followed the rules, they would have remained in the race. The excuse that no one had demanded enforcement of those rules in the past really doesn’t negate the fact that, as Obama’s team commented, shows that their lack of attention to them didn’t bode well for their performance in office.
That being said, Obama’s actions in that first campaign bely the rhetoric of “voter intent” that Democrats have used ever since they lost a tough election in 2000. Kicking fellow Democrats off the ballot doesn’t say much for party unity and loyalty, both of which Obama will now demand after Hillary Clinton’s departure from the race. It also shows how much he fears real competition; the only race he ever lost came against his most legitimate challenger for a House seat.
CNN emphasizes the most embarrassing aspect of this issue, which was how Obama used his hardball tactics against his political mentor, Alice Palmer. She originally didn’t intend to run for the seat, but later changed her mind and got back to collecting signatures. Obama not only chose to run against her, but also to apply the same bare-knuckles tactics against her. She never returned to elective politics after her protege essentially stabbed her in the back.
This clip from last week is more interesting for CNN’s perspective than on Obama’s tactics. They seem less mesmerized by leg-thrills than their counterparts at MS-NBC. Does this mean that Obama may find a post-Hillary race a little more challenging than they may have expected?