Ed Rendell joins Harold Ford and Cory Booker as critics within Barack Obama’s own party of his electoral strategy of demonizing private equity. In a BuzzFeed article that focuses on the larger disconnect between Obama and Democratic Party institutions, Zeke Miller gets the former Democratic governor of Pennsylvania — a state critical to Obama’s re-election hopes — on the record as decidedly uncomfortable with the tone of Team Obama’s attacks on Bain Capital:
Rendell joined the chorus of criticism of Obama’s attacks on finance, whose leaders have written checks to many members of both parties.
“I think they’re very disappointing,” Rendell said of the ads attacking Bain. “I think Bain is fair game, because Romney has made it fair game. But I think how you examine it, the tone, what you say, is important as well.”
As for Booker, “I admire him,” Rendell said. “People in politics should tell the truth. He could have qualified it better, he could have framed it better, but if you’re in this business, none of us like negative ads.”
If Democrats don’t seem to be into Obama these days, it’s perhaps because Obama has never really been into them. One consultant that Miller interviewed says that the problem started from the beginning with Obama:
“He’s not as engaged in building Democratic institutions in different states,” the consultant said. “If you think about how he came to beat Hillary and become president, he did not go through typical Democratic institutions — he ceded that to Hillary. Eventually some started to come his way. I don’t know if there’s as much of a reliance on building these operations state by state.”
Obama didn’t help matters as President, either. First he forced the ObamaCare issue onto the Democratic Congress, insisting that passage would guarantee their re-election. Instead, House Democrats lost more seats in a midterm than any time since 1938, and nearly lost control of the Senate as well. This year, Obama continued with his arms-length approach by refusing to share his campaign fundraising with his party’s efforts in the House and Senate. Small wonder that the party feels a little disaffected from its putative leader.
Also at Buzzfeed, Rosie Gray reports that another small but perhaps key constituency has also distanced itself from the Obama bandwagon, especially on free-market issues:
But as President Barack Obama struggles to keep his party united around him, few figures have proven more troublesome than that cadre of black leaders, each of whom was seen at some point as a candidate for the post which only Obama will ever hold: First Black President.
Davis, 44, a fellow Harvard Law School graduate, was among the first members of Congress to endorse Obama in 2007; a campaign joke labeled him the “Second Black President.”
Now he’s out of politics after an unsuccessful run for Governor of Alabama, and writing for the conservative National Review. Harold Ford, another leading light of his generation of black leaders, this week re-emerged as a spokesman for the finance industry that employs him. And Booker, 42, a Rhodes scholar who has remained closest to Obama and to his party, had to be pushed firmly back into line by the White House after saying the Obama campaign’s attacks on Mitt Romney’s record at Bain Capital were “nauseating” and made him “very uncomfortable.”
The men have, for reasons of politics and personality, found themselves largely to the right of the president and well outside his inner circle.
It seems that while the unity issues in the GOP may have been overstated, we’re just discovering the unity issues among Democrats.
Update: The latest Democrat to back Booker is … Van Jones?