After relating a highly amusing incident in which a crestfallen Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was brusquely told by President Obama to deal with Republican leader Mitch McConnell on his own (just try to imagine the expression on the Crypt Keeper’s face – you’ll bust a gut laughing) the New York Times runs the latest Democrat National Committee talking points as if they were a “news” story:
To Democrats in Congress who have worked with Mr. Obama, the indifference conveyed to Mr. Reid, one of the president’s most indispensable supporters, was frustratingly familiar. In one sense, Mr. Obama’s response was a reminder of what made him such an appealing figure in the first place: his almost innate aversion to the partisan squabbles that have left Americans so jaded and disgruntled with their political system. But nearly six years into his term, with his popularity at the lowest of his presidency, Mr. Obama appears remarkably distant from his own party on Capitol Hill, with his long neglect of would-be allies catching up to him.
Obama has an “innate aversion to partisan squabbles?” Oh, my aching sides! That’s even funnier than trying to imagine Harry Reid’s face after Obama supposedly told him to get lost. Barack Obama lives for partisan squabbles. He’s the most divisive president in American history. He has no individual identity outside of partisan squabbling; he barely exists otherwise. Beating up on his partisan opponents is the only thing that brings him to life, especially in these dying days of a failed Presidency, when he’s so obviously checked out that he doesn’t even give a damn about the optics of golfing during the funeral of a general who was murdered in Afghanistan, or violent riots that are tearing an American city apart.
What Obama doesn’t enjoy are the mechanics of governing. He doesn’t want to do the hard work of dealing with anyone on Capitol Hill. He wants to give speeches, write diktats, soak up media adulation, enjoy the perks of his office, and let lesser beings (such as Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell) hammer out the details.
In interviews, nearly two dozen Democratic lawmakers and senior congressional aides suggested that Mr. Obama’s approach has left him with few loyalists to effectively manage the issues erupting abroad and at home and could imperil his efforts to leave a legacy in his final stretch in office.
Grumbling by lawmakers about a president is nothing unusual. But what is striking now is the way prominent Democrats’ views of Mr. Obama’s shortcomings are spilling out into public, and how resigned many seem that the relationship will never improve. In private meetings, Mr. Reid’s chief of staff, David Krone, has voiced regular dismay to lawmakers and top aides about White House operations and competency across a range of issues, according to several Democrats on Capitol Hill.
Stop it, Grey Lady, you’re killing me. This is funnier than the last three comedies I paid good money to see in a theater. There’s nothing “striking” about Democrats crawling out of the woodwork to bitch about Obama after six years of marching as loyal soldiers and closing ranks around him, sabotaging investigations into his scandals and putting their careers on the line to enact his agenda. They’re frustrated that he’s chosen semi-retirement with two years to go, sure. They’re not happy with his arrogance. It’s one of the most under-reported stories of the Obama era that while Media swoons over him from afar and toys with her hair every time she thinks about him, very few people in the entire world seem to like him personally after meeting him. (A rather stark contrast with his two immediate predecessors, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, who both had a knack for personally winning over even people who denounced them in public.)
But above all else, the Democrats are scared to death of the 2016 midterm elections, and they’re frantic to distance themselves from Obama without being seen to obviously turn on him – both because they’re afraid of what his political smear machine might do to them (ask Hillary Clinton about that) and because they understand it’s not possible for any Party to do well by beating the stuffing out of its titular leader.
“Distancing” is a delicate act. It must be done without giving the opposing party too much ammunition, or discrediting important elements of your own party’s ideology. Stories like this piece in the New York Times – which is entitled “Obama is seen as frustrating his own party” – are the perfect way to do it. Play into the idea that the once-mighty King Barack I has disconnected from his job – that way, you don’t look like an abject fool for supporting him until now. Let voters know that Obama’s divorced himself from the Democrat caucus in Congress… so there’s no reason to take your anger out on those bereaved representatives, right? A few of these Democrats even take pains to flagellate themselves, like Senator Claire McCaskill: “The White House has something in common with the rest of America, and that is disdain for Congress. It is hard to blame them.”
This is pathetically obvious, and it doesn’t even take a big media conspiracy to make it work. All you’ve got to do is chat with reporters and get the stories circulating. The tactic speaks volumes about what Democrats’ internal polls must be telling them.