Sunday, August 18, 2019
Today's Democratic Candidates for President Lack the Political Genius and Good Fortune of President Obama
Today’s Presidential Democratic candidates are trying to reunite the Obama Coalition based on identity politics. They failed to understand the political genius of President Obama. He ran an optimistic campaign. He understood Americans like to vote for a positive, reassuring candidate. His campaign was the positive, “Hope and Change,” without being too specific. Senator Joe Biden in his usual transparency gaffes said of Senator Obama during the 2008 campaign He is “the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy.” Senator Biden was right. Senator Obama did not come across as an angry, radical, flame throwing firebrand. The future President was moderate, reassuring, non-threatening. He knew the American public was not yet ready for gay marriage or government run healthcare. He knew America did not want a black power candidate. He projected a campaign of unity. He was not going to express his anti-Jewish, anti-Netanyahu bias. He had been careful over the years not to leave a paper trail. He voted present 129 times, often on sensitive issues, as a state senator. Professor, now Supreme Court Justice, Elena Kagan recruited Obama to the University of Chicago Law School. The young lawyer would only accept a contract position rather than a tenure track position because as a tenure track professor he would have to publish articles that might haunt later in political campaigns. He subordinated his radical views of socialized medicine, gay marriage, liberation politics, disdain of the police and military, and his view of America as an oppressor nation. He disavowed The Reverend Jeremiah Wright even though he sat in the pews for 20 years soaking up liberation theology. The future President was moderate, reassuring, non-threatening. He knew the American public was not yet ready for gay marriage or government run healthcare. He knew America did not want a black power candidate. He projected a campaign of unity. He was not going to express his anti-Jewish, anti-Netanyahu bias. President Obama’s concealed views are not unusual. President Lyndon Baines Johnson as a Representative and Senator from Texas was a segregationist. He befriended the rabid Senate segregationists. They thought he was one of them. Yet, LBJ never forgot growing up poor. He never forgot the students he taught at age 20. Welhausen School in Cotulla, Texas 69 miles from Mexico was a segregated school for the children of Mexican American farmers. LBJ was saddened they wouldn’t be going to college because of their poverty. LBJ never forgot. President Johnson got the Civil Rights Act of 1964 enacted followed the next year by the Voting Rights Act. Both Presidents Johnson and Obama dropped their masks when they were in a position to act as President of the United States. Voters don’t like gloom and doom politicians. Not today’s Democrats. They are spewing out hatred, yelling racist and white privilege at President Trump’s supporters and whites in general. Let me summarize their campaign themes: America has never been great, but has always been racist. Today’s Democratic candidates, preaching the politics of identity, are vengeful apostles of hate. They espouse hatred of America. Even the white candidates are ashamed of their whiteness in a field that despises white privilege. That’s not the way to the white vote, which is still a majority, albeit shrinking majority. They are campaigning on Medicare for All, meaning you lose your doctors, health insurance and hospitals. Most are arguing for reparations for the descendants of slaves. Senator Elizabeth “Pocahontas” Warren, who passed herself off as an affirmative action Native American is seeking amends by promising them everything. She has a plan and freebies for everyone. The Democrats also don’t understand Senator Obama won the Iowa Caucuses because the community organizer out-organized the over-confident Senator Hillary Clinton. The American people took a hard and close look at the junior senator from Illinois once he won Iowa. They liked what they saw and heard. President Obama spoke in warm tones with the voice and cadence of great African American ministers. It was a wow moment, and yet when you looked at the substance of his talks, there was often, to use Gertrude Stein’s famous line, “there is no there, there.” President Obama was lucky throughout his political rise. He won the Democratic nomination for the Senate in the 2004 primary. His Republican opponent, Jack Ryan, was a successful businessman and popular politician. Barack undoubtedly would have won, but a stroke of political lightning struck Jack Ryan. The Chicago Tribune and the local Chicago ABC TV station successfully petitioned a judge in Los Angeles to open the sealed Ryan divorce files. Jack’s ex-wife, Jeri, is an actress. She made the allegation that he had tried to coerce her into having public sex in New York City, New Orleans, and Paris. Are the allegations true? I don’t know. Some divorce lawyers are known to create fanciful allegations in divorce proceedings to improve their client’s position, but I don’t know. I know that Jack Ryan had to quickly drop out. Senator Obama defeated Alvin Keyes, Ryan’s replacement, in a landslide, 70%-27%. Senator Obama was on his way. He ran for President 4 years later. He was fortunate in timing. Any Democrats would have won the Presidency in 2008 because of the Great Recession and public displeasure with the war in Iraq. President Obama was immune from many of the vicious attacks on the president, any president because people were scared of being labeled a racist. A sycophantic media would have crucified any vicious criticism of President Obama by Republican office holders and candidates. The Democrat who limps to the nominated regardless of race or gender will lack President Obama’s immunity. Their campaign promises and statements will be hurled at them. Senator Obama would have won anyway, but he benefitted from the inept campaign of Senator John McCain. Governor Romney ran a poor campaign four years later. Not so next year with President Trump. The New York street fighter will run a no-holds barred campaign. President Obama needed 60 Democratic votes to break a filibuster. He was politically lucky in 2009. He had 60 Democratic Senators, including Senator Bernie Sanders, technically an independent, who caucused with the Democrats, because of a rare chain of events. Senator Arlen Spector (R. Pa.) converted to the Democrats. Al Franken defeated incumbent Senator Norm Coleman (R. Minn.) by 312 votes in a rigged recall, and Anchorage Mayor Paul Begich defeated incumbent Senator Ted Stevens (R Alaska) by 3,953 votes after Senator Stevens was convicted of federal corruption charges due to gross prosecutorial misconduct. Senator Stevens was belatedly vindicated. President Obama prioritized his legislative goals with 60 Senate votes to break through a filibuster. His priority was ObamaCare. He ignored the Dreamers. Identity politics, anti-Trump animus, and negativity will not win the 2020 election.