Dems wonder: Is Obama just in it for himself?

Alternate title: Self-realization can take years in coming.  One might have thought Democrats understood this after the 2010 midterms, when Barack Obama could barely be bothered to lend his organizational might to protect the House majority he wound up losing in spectacular fashion.  Instead, Democrats now shut out of Obama’s Organizing for America once again feel like Charlie Brown after Lucy yanks away the football, according to McClatchy:

President Barack Obama’s decision to launch his own political organization has some Democrats wondering: Is he just in it for himself?

Obama’s new group, Organizing for Action, will focus on his policy agenda – not on electing Democratic candidates – by raising unlimited amounts of cash and accessing the president’s secret list of 20 million supporters, volunteers and donors.

The operation won’t share money, resources or the priceless Obama email list with the Democratic National Committee or campaign committees that help elect members of Congress, governors and legislators. And it has no plans to coordinate efforts, leading some Democrats to worry that it will take money and manpower away from the party as it heads into the 2014 elections for control of Congress.

It won’t even share the e-mail list? How difficult would that be? If it’s a matter of keeping the supposedly “independent” group separate from the national party, a sale of the list could be arranged.

Democrats worry now that OFA could sap their ability to fundraise for the upcoming midterms:

“There’s only so much money to go around in Democratic circles. There’s a limited pool of resources,” said Gilda Cobb Hunter, a South Carolina legislator and a member of the Democratic National Committee. “Why can’t we strengthen one entity?”

Well, Obama is strengthening one entity — himself.  The effort to fund what will be a permanent campaign during his second term is already unprecedented, as is its focus on one man:

Other presidents have created or championed organizations outside the major national parties. Bill Clinton, for example, embraced the Democratic Leadership Council, an organization that pushed a moderate agenda.

But that functioned more as a think tank. And Obama is the first to form a group that will raise millions of dollars as it seeks to perpetuate a year-round campaign for him.

Remember, too, that Obama can’t run for office again, at least not for President.  One might think under those circumstances that Obama would want to strengthen the DNC in order to fight for larger Democratic caucuses in the next session of Congress, which is really what Obama needs to push his agenda.  Instead, Obama apparently wants to do public-relations end-arounds to bypass not only House Republicans but perhaps also Senate Democrats.  That may be especially true on gun control, as Obama attempts to shame his own caucus into putting an assault-weapons ban on the floor that might cost them every red-state Senate seat Democrats will have to defend in 2014.

Democrats have to face reality.  Their party leader is just not that into them — certainly not as much as he’s into himself.

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David Strom 12:31 PM on December 01, 2022