The Clintons' Covert War on Obama
Panic is setting in among the people who ran the Democratic Party prior to the miraculous arrival on the scene of Barack Hussein Obama and the perfect storm of events that propelled him into the White House.
These people, starting with Bill Clinton, the master Democratic politician of our era, can read the tea leaves, and the following factors alarm them:
1. Obama has energized his opposition. Despite throwing everything they could into the game, the turnout effort in Wisconsin was handily beaten by those Tea Party nobodies and an RNC head who is actually up to the job.
2. Obama has alienated hugely important constituencies. Labor unions, utterly essential to the ground game in November, feel betrayed, and are starting to focus more on their own survival than the success of the Obama re-election campaign. The antiwar left feels betrayed over Gitmo, drones, rendition, domestic surveillance, and a host of other issues. They turned out in San Francisco picketing his fundraisers, and spoke of not voting. His Bain Capital attacks are verging into a repudiation of capitalism, so Wall Street and the finance sector are getting alarmed, and the essential flow of political contributions to Democrats from them is drying up.
3. The economy is a disaster, and Obama is doing all the wrong things. The administration is reduced to making implausible claims of spending moderation based on an internet post. The public is fed up with Obama's performance, and his personal popularity is declining and will tank further as he goes increasingly negative on Romney. Swing voters are almost as negative about Obama as are Romney voters.
4. Obama is out for himself, and himself only. He has even thrown national security under the bus, allowing the leaking of critical information to the press about intelligence operations and cyber-warfare, and feigning outrage in Friday's presser over the idea that he would do such a thing. Never mind what they say publicly; the insiders know that we are at cyber-war with Iran and China, among others, right now. Following the prosecutorial lynching of Scooter Libby, it is politically impossible to sweep this leak, which actually is causing our allies to shun information-sharing with us, under the rug. Unlike the Valerie Plame case, people have died, and intelligence operations have been seriously harmed.
5. A wave election is shaping up. Democrats could be swept out of office in Congress, and on down to statehouses, city halls, and dog pounds. With the left flank threatening to stay home, union funds and enthusiasm depleted, and Obama offering nothing but negativity, while Tea Partiers mobilize nationally as never before seen on the GOP side, the electorate will skew so far right that the GOP could end up as dominant in 2013 as the Democrats were in 2009.
This, not coincidence, is why several brainy Democrats, including Cory Booker, Deval Patrick, Ed Rendell, and Lanny Davis, have been providing sound bites that can be used by the Romney campaign to destroy the effectiveness of Obama's attacks on Mitt Romney. The biggest damage has been done by Bill Clinton, whose barrage includes providing the title for the current number-one bestseller about Obama, Ed Klein's The Amateur, calling Mitt Romney's business track record at Bain "sterling," and stating that the Bush tax rates should not be increased, disagreeing with Obama.
He's laying down the groundwork for Hillary Clinton running for president in 2016. Everything she is doing and everything he is doing argues that they want to run Hillary Clinton for president in 2016, so while he might appear with Obama in fundraisers in New York and elsewhere, he's basically undermining Obama.
My colleague Richard Baehr believes that Bill Clinton actively wants Obama to lose:
Bill Clinton thinks long term. Hillary will run in 2016, I am certain of it. No one loses the bug after one attempt when they came that close. I am guessing that Clinton thinks that if Obama wins this time, it will be tougher in 2016 for Hillary than if Romney wins. If Obama wins, then Hillary has to run at age 69 against a Rubio or a Ryan -- somebody young and charismatic. She goes down in flames, especially if economy is still in the tank.
But if Romney wins, Clinton thinks he will have his hands full, and there is no magic bullet to turn the economy around. He is right. In fact, all the stuff that could happen January 1st with taxes going up and spending cuts could sink the economy into a big hole for another few years. If Obama loses in November, do you think he cooperates with GOP to avoid this? I don't. If Romney wins, then Hillary runs against him in 2016, after people think GOP did not solve the problems. She wins.
All very logical. But there are only two problems with this scenario.
1. If the Clintons and their allies, like Ed Rendell and Lanny Davis, are believed by black voters to have sabotaged the re-election of the first black president, blacks will turn with fury on the Clintons. I do not imagine for a moment that Barack Obama will quietly sit back and take what he sees as abuse from the Clinton gang. If word is already out that Cory Booker is "dead to" Obama, we can be certain that the president will let his most devoted followers know if he regards the Clintons as traitors, should he lose. No Democrat can be elected president without an overwhelming share of the black vote.
2. Countless other elected Democrats in Congress and down the ticket stand to lose their offices if discouraged Democrats stay home and a wave election results. Lobbying prospects would be reduced in tandem with the loss of Democratic officeholders.
The Clinton forces are already warning the rest of the party that the Obama operation is not to be trusted. Lanny Davis called Obama's people "vicious":
You have vicious people who are working for the president - not the president [himself] - who are saying that Corey Booker - one of the great supporters of President Obama's policies - is 'dead' because he's giving the president good advice, disagreeing with the Kool-Aid drinking people in the campaign who think the way to win the presidency is to trash the other guy rather than to defend your own guy's record.
[W]hy would they want to create enemies, or depict people as enemies, who are their friends?
Mind you, this comes from a former colleague of Sidney Blumenthal.
So friendless are the Obamas that they can't even get a decent, reliable surrogate out on the stump, and are reduced to ineffective third-raters like David Axelrod, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and Joe Biden.
I suspect that the Clintons and their allies are spreading the word that smart people are planning for life after Obama, that he is going nowhere, that there will be a reckoning. And that now is the time to distance oneself from what promises to destroy the party if not stopped. Perhaps the time has come to figure out some way to get Obama off the ticket. Somehow.
It would have to be a covert op. No Democrat who ever wants to carry a black precinct can be seen as slipping in the stiletto. It has to have the appearance of Obama voluntarily announcing that he will not be a candidate for re-election. Just as LBJ did on March 31, 1968. For the good of the country, his family, maybe his for his health. His medical records have never been released, after all.
It has to be a multi-phase, multi-front strategy. Right now, we are in the softening up phase. The highly public defection of Newark Mayor Cory Booker, calling the attacks on Bain "nauseating," certainly got Obama's attention. So much so that enough pressure was exerted on the mayor that he issued a self-repudiation video that might as well have had the mayor blinking S-O-S in Morse code. Follow this with respected people and allies like Deval Patrick, and Hillary enthusiasts Ed Rendell and Bob Shrum, and most of all employ the biggest gun of all, Bill Clinton. The denials and clarifications don't matter at all. The message to Obama is unmistakable: it is war. We don't have your back.
Senator Dianne Feinstein truly cares about national security. But I also know that she can read the handwriting on the wall. Last week, she came out and made the leaking of national security information into a scandal with bipartisan support for an inquiry. This is criminal behavior. She is far from the only powerful Democrat who sees the wisdom of disentangling herself from the Obama disaster.
Obama does not want to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the leaks, and his press conference Friday took a strong stand against them and promised a thorough internal investigation. Eric Holder has appointed two subordinates -- U.S. attorneys, one of whom donated thousands of dollars to Obama's 2008 campaign. This does not pass the giggle test. If Senator Feinstein or any other prominent Democrat comes out in support of an independent prosecutor this week, the pressure on Obama and his cohorts will build. Scooter Libby was ruined, and he didn't actually leak anything.
The signal also has been received by the mainstream media allies of the Clintons. Many of them are already fed up with the high-handedness, venality, incompetence, and amateurishness of the Obama crowd. But now that they see that it is okay to notice when the emperor has no clothes, they can breathe the intoxicating air of honesty and start to include some of the obvious warts on the idealized image. Obama is starting to realize that his media invisible shield is falling apart.
All of these factors paint a bleak picture for the Obama campaign's prospects, but unless there is a smoking gun about the national security leaks, nothing that would actually force a narcissist to put the interests of party and country ahead of his own. So there may be something else, something which Obama fears so deeply that he would see his own interests best served by withdrawing from his re-election bid.
Yes, we are talking blackmail. That's phase two.
We do not know what the operative issue would be, but we do know that Barack Obama is an international man of mystery, and that he has gone to great lengths to hide his documentary record. There is on the record his claim of Kenyan birth to his literary agency. It may well be that he was born in Hawaii, but used a claim to Kenyan or Indonesian nationality to gain scholarships and admission advantages at the series of elite and expensive schools he attended, starting with Punahou, the St. Grottelsex of the mid-Pacific.
Perhaps by coincidence, last week Stanley Kurtz was able to write about newly revealed evidence that in 2008 the Obama campaign lied about his membership in the radical socialist New Party. I have no knowledge of the specific circumstances of the document in question becoming available, but I would note that the offices of the federal bureaucracy, state and local bureaucracies, academic bureaucracies, and nonprofit bureaucracies are largely staffed with lifelong liberals, who were Democrats before the Obama craze hit the party, and who want the party to survive, and who may even be a little nostalgic for a president with the last name Clinton.
So, hypothetically, if someone in one of these bureaucracies happened to notice a document that proved something embarrassing about Obama, something that exposed a serious biographical lie, serious enough to put him out of the running, she might consider it worthwhile letting others know. Word gets around.
The New Party membership documentation might well be a warning shot.
But what about Hillary, you may be asking. Look at her hair! She's given up.
If you imagine that the secretary of state is so weary that she lacks the energy to do her own hair, you do not understand the realities of her life. She has staff who do all the mundane tasks at her convenience, to her specifications. Or else. Her current down-and-out look is just another hairstyle, one calculated to provide political cover. Hillary knows that she will need the black vote once she heads the ticket, so she absolutely cannot be seen as scheming to bring about the sudden surprise announcement from President Obama that her allies are greasing the skids for right now. The worse she looks, the more convincing will be her "surprise," the more sincere her willingness to step forward and save America from a disastrous Romney presidency.
If you imagine that Barack Obama's playing of the race card against the Clintons in the 2008 South Carolina primary battle has been forgiven or forgotten, you do not understand Bill Clinton. As a Southern liberal, a big part of his personal identity is wrapped up in his anti-racism. Not just his political posture -- his sense of his own self-worth is linked to his crusade to overcome the legacy of racism. It is one of the ways he excuses the cruder aspects of his life choices. His racial virtue justifies his life.
Bill Clinton, for all his bonhomie in public, is a bitter man -- first for his impeachment, and second for the humiliation he and his partner were dealt by the Obama forces in 2008. A man prone to purple rages in private, following his heart surgery, he may be taking his revenge slowly, a moderate blood pressure, as it were, smiling when walking back the latest diss.
Until Obama came along, Bill was hopeful that the novelty and wonder of history's first husband-and-wife team of presidents would overwhelm the shame of his impeachment and lying under oath. Obama spoiled that, and made Clinton's sobriquet "first black president" faintly ridiculous.
Whichever way the current campaign goes, with Obama defeated and the party in ruins, or with Obama off the ticket and Hillary triumphantly accepting the nomination for the good of the party and the nation, or so we will be told, Bill Clinton would prefer it to a second Obama term. And this time, he may get his way.
Thomas Lifson is editor and publisher of American Thinker.