Commentary Magazine


Contentions

RE: How Bad?

Democrats on the ballot are understandably infuriated with the White House. First, Robert Gibbs announced that the House could well be lost. Then, after months of trying to pump up the base, the White House went after the “professional left.” Rebecca Traister (h/t Ben Smith) wailed on behalf of Democrats: “Congratulations, administration, on helping to further ensure that the only people in the country absolutely guaranteed to go out and vote for Obama will now do so with a hell of a lot less enthusiasm.” Next up was the Ground Zero mosque fiasco.

The fury among Democrats shouldn’t be underestimated. A longtime Democratic operative steamed to me: “Valerie Jarret is the Barack-whisperer-in-chief. She has nurtured the myth of Obama’s supernatural powers longer than anyone — second only to her sidekick, Axelrod — and the two of them, and their bad ideas, are at the root of virtually every mistake and overreach out there, especially the ill-fated Muslim-outreach campaign launched in the first hours of the presidency. It was probably Jarrett who told the president it was a good idea to bow down to the king of Saudi Arabia, too.” Ouch.

But wasn’t this an act of bravery and courage, as the left punditocracy has trumpeted? Not for those trying to win elections, the operative explained:

By getting involved in this issue — which was on a glide path to work out fine at the local level — the president and his team have put every Democrat running for Congress in the crosshairs of an issue that is 70-30 the wrong way. “Mr. Candidate, do you agree with your president?” This is just the latest insult these guys have hurled at Congress. And what do you get? Does your 30% base like you more? I can’t remember a White House with so much contempt for its own party. And why? Because they love the sound of their own voice.

Yowser. August is a month that in recent years has been fraught with political peril and more than a few surprises. Democrats never imagined, however, that there would be a bombardment launched at them from the head of their own party. The smarter ones will run far from the president; the survivors after the election will owe the White House no loyalty. Forget the right-wingers; Obama’s biggest problem may be preventing a mutiny in his own party.



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