Barack Obama Warns Progressives Not to Form ‘Circular Firing Squad’

BERLIN, GERMANY - APRIL 06: Former U.S. President Barack Obama speaks to young leaders from across Europe in a Town Hall-styled session on April 06, 2019 in Berlin, Germany. Obama spoke to several hundred young people from European government, civil society and the private sector about the nitty gritty of …
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On the heels of a week’s worth of attacks on handsy Joe Biden for his years of untoward treatment of women, former President Barack Obama is warning progressives not to form a “circular firing squad” to take out their own candidates.

Speaking in Germany at a town hall event on Saturday for his Obama Foundation, the former president said he feared that the extreme left of the Democrat Party has become too rigid.

“One of the things I do worry about sometimes among progressives in the United States is a certain kind of rigidity where we say, ‘Uh, I’m sorry, this is how it’s going to be,’” Obama said, according to the Hill. “And then we start sometimes creating what’s called a ‘circular firing squad,’ where you start shooting at your allies because one of them has strayed from purity on the issues. And when that happens, typically the overall effort and movement weakens.”

“So I think whether you are speaking as a citizen or as a political leader or as an organizer,” Obama continued, “you have to recognize that the way we structure democracy requires you to take into account people who don’t agree with you, and that by definition means you’re not going to get 100 percent of what you want.”

The former president was speaking to a group of young people about leadership. He added that leaders should not go too far either way. “You can’t set up a system in which you don’t compromise on anything, but you also can’t operate in a system where you compromise on everything,” he said.

The former president’s comments come on the heels of growing outrage against his former vice president, whose decades of handsy and creepy treatment of women has finally come under fire among Democrats.

Joe Biden recently gave a half-hearted non-apology for invading women’s space, and touching, hugging, and kissing them repeatedly without their permission. Biden has been making women uncomfortable for decades, but only now in this #MeToo era, as he gears up for a possible run for the Democrat nomination in 2020, has his behavior come into question.

Many have wondered why Barack Obama has not jumped to the defense of the man who was his vice president for eight years. Indeed, by some reports, Biden has been annoyed over Barack Obama’s fawning over presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.


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