Obama’s ego and the future of the Dems
Hillary Clinton’s back must be sore this morning from the stiletto wound delivered by Barack Obama in the course of an interview with former senior adviser David Axelrod. As has been well publicized, he claimed that had he been allowed to run for a third term, he would have won the election against Donald Trump. As summarized by the U.K. Daily Mail:
CNN on Monday published an interview that former Obama senior adviser David Axelrod conducted with his old boss, who claimed the vision of a united America he stressed in his famous 2004 Democratic National Convention keynote speech is still powerful enough that it might have carried the day.
'You know, I am confident in this vision because I'm confident that if I – if I had run again and articulated it, I think I could've mobilized a majority of the American people to rally behind it.'
'I know that in conversations that I've had with people around the country, even some people who disagreed with me, they would say, "The vision, the direction that you point towards is the right one",' he said.
This is a stinging rebuke to Hillary Clinton’s appeal as a candidate and to the campaign strategy she embraced. In essence, Obama is accusing her of abandoning his vision of where America should go, of what the left used to call “deviationism” when Stalin was running the Communist Party and the CPUSA was covertly leading the American left. Of course, the deviation is being not-Obama.
It is absolutely clear that the president is in denial over his claim that his policies were on the ballot, and voters should choose Hillary to continue his policies. That is consigned to the Memory Hole.
It is a fair speculation to believe that as ex-president, Obama will not be stinting in his advice to Democrats, and that the advice he offers will be, in essence, choose someone like me – or someone I designated. That would likely include choosing an African-American as presidential nominee. The president knows but will not admit that his race brought him and his party record turnout and levels of support among blacks and no small number of non-black voters anxious to atone for the legacy of slavery.
There are two problems with this approach. One is that you cannot redo a “historic first.” The potency of the symbolism declines rapidly. And while Obama paints his legacy in fantasy terms (still claiming to be the most transparent president ever), he will be facing not just a bully pulpit, but a bully Twitter feed. For example:
For the past eight years, President Barack Obama has enjoyed the high ground, able to put down anyone he pleases, with the authority of high office. That will no longer be true. He will face a more powerful man. On a symbolic level, he will not have Air Force One; he will have to borrow private jets from friends – a humiliation Hillary Clinton found unendurable. While you and I might find solace in a first class airline seat, for Obama, it is a humiliation to be among the hoi polloi. Pay careful attention to media coverage of his travels, and look to see whose jets he borrows.
The second problem is that there are more white Democrats than black Democrats, and if the party is not insane, it wants to keep that arrangement. There are not enough African-Americans to make an electoral majority, even if Obama wants to push the party in the direction of being the “black party” by keeping a thumb on the scale for the selection of another black nominee.
This will play out in silence, for the issue is too explosive to be addressed publicly. Nonetheless, it is obvious to many Democrat politicians (and former defeated politicians) that millions of formerly loyal white Democrat voters have left the party and delivered enough of the industrial Midwest to President-Elect Trump.
Obama cannot help himself. He will keep picking at the racial scab, and that will not help the Democrats, nor will it help African-Americans.
But it will gratify Obama’s ego as the First Black President.
And that is what controls his future actions. It will not end well for the Dems.