A follow-up to yesterday’s post about the mysterious penchant of progressive candidates to attack the legacy of the most popular and successful politician in their party.
I don’t know whether to mock this guy for feeling butthurt that the party’s racing away from him or to champion him as a pillar of sober moderation among a horde of batsh*t leftists. Consider this further evidence that we’re all actually dead and in hell, though: Barack Obama is now very much the Democratic voice of reason.
The most recent debate didn’t go over so well in ObamaWorld, it seems.
The skeptical examination of the party’s de facto leader left several veterans of the Obama administration outraged that more attacks were trained on the former President than the current one. And Obama has privately expressed some disapproval of what he views as unrealistic proposals from some Democratic candidates, according to a source familiar with those conversations…
[H]e also has privately expressed exasperation at some policy proposals and promises that he believes are unrealistic. And he and people around him question the wisdom in assailing the record of a popular ex-president rather than the unpopular-by-comparison current one…
“Everybody has got to be kidding me here,” Emanuel said. “You have a perfect set up. President Trump is suing to [undo ObamaCare]. We won an election on it. I don’t get this.”
Some Obama veterans were polite after watching the top tier of the current presidential field dump on O-Care on Tuesday and Wednesday nights…
To my fellow Democrats. Be wary of attacking the Obama record. Build on it. Expand it. But there is little to be gained – for you or the party – by attacking a very successful and still popular Democratic President.
— Eric Holder (@EricHolder) August 1, 2019
…and some were less polite. Hoo boy:
Henry Crespo, former chair of the Democratic Black Caucus of Florida, who watched the debate with about a dozen fellow black Democratic officials and operatives, cold-called a POLITICO reporter outraged with what he saw transpire on the debate stage Tuesday and the following day, when Harris and Booker appeared to him to be insufficiently supportive of Obama.
“Obama is an icon in our community. And they’re attacking his legacy Obamacare? And Joe Biden is the one defending it?” he asked.
“We were sitting here watching this and wondering: ‘What the hell are you doing? What is wrong with our party?’ It’s like they want to lose,” Crespo said, adding that Democrats like him resent Harris and Booker for attacking Biden’s record on race.
“Joe Biden is not Bull Connor,” Crespo said. “You just can’t make us believe it.”
“When did Barack Obama become a Republican?” wonders John Avlon today at CNN. God, it’s going to be so great if the dopey progressives in the field end up inadvertently goading O into endorsing Biden by dumping on his record just a bit too enthusiastically.
Question, though: Is Obama’s view that some progressive policies are unrealistic really a secret? WaPo reported months ago that he brought up the subject when he met the new House Democratic majority earlier this year. “He said we [as Democrats] shouldn’t be afraid of big, bold ideas — but also need to think in the nitty-gritty about how those big, bold ideas will work and how you pay for them,” said one person who was in the room. Barack Obama is now the fiscally conservative realist in his party.
On the other hand, it’s also no secret that O wishes he could have gone further left as president, in which case I’m not sure why everyone’s supposed to be mad at Bernie and Warren etc for complaining that he didn’t go further left. As late as 2003, he was calling himself a proponent of single-payer health care. I don’t think I’ve ever heard him denigrate Medicare for All as a bad idea, in fact. To the contrary:
Obama endorses Medicare for all. pic.twitter.com/QCwgLj6425
— Dan Diamond (@ddiamond) September 7, 2018
Obama’s issue with single-payer has always been its feasibility. You can’t get it passed, he would insist, and even if you could it would require tearing up the private insurance industry by its roots and that’s too much upheaval for America. But now here come Sanders and Warren promising that we can get it passed and it won’t be too much upheaval and, well, how exactly is that an insult to Obama’s legacy? All they’re doing is trying to fulfill a dream he himself holds but didn’t think was possible.
In fact, I’d direct you to this post I wrote last year when Obama called Medicare for All “a good idea” during a speech. From day one, the conservative fear about ObamaCare was that it would ultimately prove to be a trojan horse for single-payer, especially if/when a public option is added — which even Joe Biden now supports. Greater government intervention in the insurance industry plus the promise of universal coverage would prepare Americans ideologically for a government takeover down the road. If the government offered its own plan on the ObamaCare exchanges, that would accelerate the process by undercutting private insurers on cost. Now here we are all of three years after O left office and the progressive wing of the presidential field is already following through. MFA isn’t a betrayal of Obama’s legacy, it’s the fulfillment of it. And foreseeably so, from the start.
Here’s CNN chattering about Obama’s alleged “exasperation.” Expect more warnings from Democratic apparatchiks to Dem candidates to lay off Barack going forward, for the simple reason that they’re terrified that black voters will turn out at 2016 rates instead of 2008/2012 rates against Trump next year. They desperately need black voters to be ramped up for this election. Forcing them to watch the first black president getting knocked around by woker-than-thou progressive panderers on debate night doesn’t help.