Sore losers are always going to carp and I never expected Hillary Clinton to be particularly sanguine about the results, but is Team Clinton seriously placing most of the blame for her loss on… Barack Obama? That’s the story being floated by Mike Allen this week (now writing at Axios) and while defying conventional logic, it has the ring of truth to it. Some upset staffers are casting about for targets in the blame game and the 44th President is apparently an appealing choice.
The worst-kept secret inside Democratic circles is how bitter Hillary Clinton’s team is at President Obama over her election loss. We have heard from numerous, anguished people in Clinton-land blaming Obama — more than Putin, FBI Director James Comey or, um, Hillary herself — for the defeat.
The reason: Clintonites feel that if Obama had come out early and forcefully with evidence of Russian interference in the campaign, and perhaps quicker sanctions, she might be president today. His caution, they argue, allowed the public to have a foggy sense of clear, calculated, consistent Russian meddling in the campaign. We can’t stress enough how upset some Democrats are. It’s testing relationships between Clinton and Obama loyalists. It’s making efforts to form a new Trump opposition coalition harder.
Mike apparently spoke to a Clinton campaign official on condition of anonymity and their answer seems (at least to me) a bit more vague. They’re basically saying that Obama was too lackadaisical about it all, assuming that the race was a slam dunk and there was no way Hillary could miss “such an easy layup.” But the same official admits that even if Obama had “done more” for her, it might not have altered the outcome. If that’s the case, what exactly is their complaint?
First of all, saying Obama didn’t do enough seems patently insane. From the time the Democratic National Convention was over (which Obama and his wife headlined, as you’ll recall) he was out on the campaign trail constantly. Clinton got rides on Air Force One to lend her candidacy more gravitas and Obama appeared at so many rallies he barely had time left over on his schedule for golf or approving more business crushing regulations in the final months. He beseeched Democratic voters – particularly minorities – to get out there and safeguard his legacy by voting for Hillary. He said that if they didn’t show up, they would doing be a disservice to him, not to her. What else could the guy do?
Hillary Clinton was a flawed candidate who was immersed in scandals of her own creation. She hired a team who gave her bad advice, assuming she’d already won the election from the beginning and wasting her time in red states while Trump was hammering away at the blue wall. Trump’s victory obviously came as a surprise to much of the nation, so I don’t blame her for being a bit shocked, but she was playing for the biggest brass ring in the game. If she can’t accept the fact that she was the author of her own defeat and chooses to blame Barack Obama for it, she’s a fairly pathetic creature. Of course, perhaps she’ll be happy with a consolation prize in the form of being Mayor of New York City?
It would at least make for some interesting blogging.