MSNBC host Al Sharpton is having a terrible time accepting the inescapable reality that President Barack Obama was a drag on his fellow Democrats. So much so, in fact, that their association with him, even in a peripheral sense, led to their rejection in historic proportions.
During a segment on MSNBC’s Morning Joe on Thursday, Sharpton got into a bit of a shouting match with legacy newswoman Cokie Roberts over just how much blame Obama deserved for his party’s drubbing.
Roberts made the inarguable observation that most Democrats – especially those campaigning in red or purple states — wanted to avoid being seen with Barack Obama and, among those who did campaign with the president, most went on to lose. She was quickly interrupted by Sharpton who insisted that Roberts was being unfair by not noting Obama was deployed “very late.”
“Cokie, he went out two weeks ago, while Clinton went all over the place. Is this a Clinton defeat? Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton…the cavalry is coming in,” Sharpton exclaimed. “Well, the cavalry got beat.”
“Is this a Clinton defeat?” he continued. “I think we’re Obama obsessed.”
As far as spin goes, that’s about as convincing as Josh Earnest’s tortured efforts to avoid providing the press with a sound bite conceding that the elections were good for Republicans (efforts which resulted in uproarious laughter from the press corps).
Sharpton’s outburst does indicate the extent to which Barack Obama’s stalwart allies will go to avoid casting blame for this historic loss on him, even if that means tarnishing the likely Democratic standard-bearer for 2016 in the process. The African-American community remains less “Ready for Hillary” than the rest of the Democratic coalition, and many resented Clinton’s efforts to distance herself from the president during her summer book tour.
Sharpton’s throwing of Clinton under the bus is a demonstration of just how deep the fissures that are lingering beneath the Democratic Party’s placid façade go. By way of evidence, The Daily Kos – a reliable group of far-left liberals – determined that Sharpton’s attempt to place some of the blame for Democrats’ struggles at the polls amounted to “GOP spin.”
The party is a loose conglomerate of constituencies and client groups, and not all of them will be satisfied by Clinton’s ascension to the head of the party.
It’s going to be a rough two years for the Democrats.