Sunday, January 1, 2017

We Need To Leave The Clinton and Obama Eras Behind And Move On With New Leadership

I liked Barack Obama a lot more before he became president than I do now.  I was never bowled over by him, his campaign persona and the carefully constructed effort to turn him into an icon of HOPE.  Perhaps that's because I'd actually paid attention to his center-right politics as a Senator and going back to read about his time in the Illinois Senate where it seemed to be Republicans who had the nicest things to say about him.

Once he was the nominee of the Democratic Party he had my full if somewhat skeptical support, both times.  The first time it was with skepticism, the second time with no skepticism because at that point I didn't expect his voluntarily weak conduct in office would change.  He was not going to be the great president that we needed him to be, he never intended to put that kind of effort into being president, to make the kinds of risks it would take to do that.

The reason he ran as a strong, powerful, decisive figure who would deliver on the HOPE which was his campaign slogan while, with obvious intention, governing as someone far more interested in placating Susan Collins, Olympia Snow, Joe Lieberman and Kent Conrad than in actually fighting to make the recalcitrant support the aggressive change he implied he intended to deliver is rooted in his personality.   His concern with his cool demeanor is a big part of it.  I can't see him giving even a weak version of LBJ putting pressure on, thumbscrews if necessary to deliver the Voting Rights and Civil Rights Acts or the Great Society.   I don't think he really cares much about anyone other than himself.  His assertions that he and his equally bad Attorney General, Eric Holder, are going to take command of the Democratic Party and do things like rebuilding it on the state and local level are ridiculous.  He and his chosen appointees are the ones who tossed aside the 50 state strategy that returned the House to Democratic control in 2006 and which gave him the presidency and those majorites in the Congress that he squandered so irresponsibly in his first two years.

His recent interview with his former campaign strategist and Advisor in his first administration, David Axelrod, is so infuriating and his statements about things like the Republican neutering of his power to appoint judges and do other things so absolutely clueless that Barack Obama trying to fix what he so heedlessly broke is a flashing, blaring warning signal to keep him and his people away from it.  If Obama showed some sign that he understood how he wasted the opportunity handed to him and had some idea of how to do it, that might not be as true.  But his last six months in office, as some of the most outrageous of Republican obstruction has been mounted is as weak and as irresponsible as the rest of his time in office. His complement to Mitch McConnell on his strategy of blocking his court nominations, , a man who used every opportunity he had to de-president Obama - largely on the basis of race - something which neither Obama nor Axelrod* seems to understand, is absolutely the final straw.   I am calling this an attempt by a voluntarily weak and largely disappointing president to use the Democratic Party to try to salvage a legacy, one which his eight years in office didn't secure.  

Barack Obama largely betrayed his political base and a decisive percentage of those betrayed turned on him and the Democratic Party.   Barack Obama took Democrats for granted as he hankered after the approval of his enemies, approval anyone with a sense of reality would know he'd never have.   His strongest desire didn't seem to be in delivering what he'd promised to the working class damaged by Republicans or to other groups who voted for him but to get called a bi-partisan leader by the media.  His weakening of the stimulus act to court the non-support of Snowe and Collins, his almost certainly fatal weakening of the health care bill he'd promised, largely caving to the blackmail of Lieberman - not to mention what he gave away on things like drug pricing even before the fight had started.    And the results were that Democrats lost the Congress, they lost state houses in the absolutely crucial election of 2010, what is largely responsible for it being harder than ever to win against them.   I have mentioned before that state and local politicians I know have talked for years about how Obama and his people were entirely uninterested in putting a major effort into that level of the Democratic Party.

Obama had eight years and more to do something to build the Democratic Party, he did the opposite and an election that Democrats should have swept was lost.  If he had not chopped the stimulus bill to get the approval of Snowe and Collins, which didn't work, and get called "bipartisan" I think we would be preparing for the Hillary Clinton presidency.   Under him and as a result of his administration, things are bleaker than ever.   He neither deserves the chance to try or the belief that he has the slightest idea of what needs to be done.  He as well as Bill Clinton should go into retirement and step aside for people who might mean what they say and have some idea of how to build an alternative to Republican-fascism.  Both of them had their day and used their time unwisely.  Both are very smart, it takes more than that to be a great president or a great leader of the Democratic Party.   Both of them played a decisive role in the destruction of the Democratic Party.  Both of them have to be pushed to the side.  Most of all Bill Clinton, with his irresponsibility even damaging Hillary Clinton's chances this year, needs to just go away.  Democrats don't need the baggage either of them brings with them anymore.

*  The interview makes it seem like Obama and Axelrod have no understanding of the past eight years as the Republicans have revived the most dangerous of past American organized racism and even neo-Nazism to benefit from a reaction to Obama's race.   I am left with the unavoidable conclusion that they are two of the most clueless men in the United States.   They might be able to run a successful campaign against a weak opponent, such as McCain or Romney, they are entirely clueless when it comes to the whole picture.


  1. The party's attitude toward Texas for the last 8 years has been not to spend money here until the state turns blue again. Which isn't likely to happen until the party spends money here.

    Where is Dr. Dean when we need him?

    1. I don't know to what extent the rumors of him being shoved out because Rahm and Obama didn't like him are true but they might as well be.

      After reading the transcript of that interview I was so angry I couldn't believe it. I think the comparison I made a week or more ago between him and Calvin Coolidge is more accurate now than when I made it. A Democratic politician I know said during the first two years as he was blowing the best set up an American president has had since FDR's first term that he though Obama only wanted to be called the first Black president in history and that he really didn't care about much else. Someone else told me that they thought he was entirely more interested in hanging out with famous people and jocks than he was in the people who voted for him. I was skeptical of both accessments at the time, I am far less skeptical about them today. That interview is about as stupid as his several announcements just before the election, things such as the sharp rise in healthcare through Obama care that were less than helpful. His refusal to endure the criticism he'd have gotten by exposing the complicity between Trump and Putin in a more forceful and effective manner is another in the large catalog of how he either had no real desire to have Hillary Clinton succeed him or he was too tone deaf and arrogant to care about what he was doing.

      I have to say right now I pretty much despise him and Bill Clinton.

  2. I am convinced Trump won because Clinton lost. She failed to campaign in states like Texas (where she won more votes than any Dem. POTUS candidate in recent memory) where she might have succeeded. But that's the outcome of abandoning the 50 state effort. Now Dems have nothing, and the lesson threatens to be: "If we could only win West Virginia!"

    Or nominate Bernie and Warren. Because POTUS is still all that matters. And they would make the country see the light. Just like Trump supporters expect him to do.

    I now despair of the Democratic re-branding.

    1. She made some mistakes in the campaign, that's certain but she was burdened with Bill and his idiocy and Barack Obama as well as the lies that have been hurled at her. But I think if Obama hadn't given away so much on the stimulus bill the recovery would have been far stronger and people would not have been turned off in as large numbers. It would also not have dispirited the people who had voted for Obama who didn't vote in 2010. It was incredibly frustrating to have him run as a Titan but to govern as if he couldn't make even the members of his own party come on board.

      Obama has no inclination to be bold or creative enough to make real changes. He is limited by his own timidity.