September 30, 2016
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Dangerous Dump Obama Fantasy

 Commentary by Earl Ofari Hutchinson

WASHINGTON - The dump President Obama fantasy gets sillier and sillier every day. First a handful of noted Democratic consultants openly call for Obama not to run again. Then another handful of noted progressives led by Ralph Nader who called Obama “a con man” and practically begged someone to run against him within or outside the Democratic primary. The much maligned tax cut package brokered by Obama with the GOP leadership presumably is the final straw for many that made them call for Obama to either stand down in 2012 or for a liberal Democrat or progressive to take him on.

President Obama couldn’t step down if he wanted to and no progressive or liberal Democrat would get to first base challenging him if they wanted to. But if, just if, the fantasy of Obama withdrawing or facing a credible challenge could actually materialize it could guarantee that Obama would be the one term president that GOP leaders incessantly chatter about. Grossly unpopular presidents (Jimmy Carter) or accidental presidents (Gerald Ford) in recent political times have faced stout challenges from name political figures or elected officials from within their party. Ted Kennedy took on Carter. Ronald Reagan took on Ford. The winner was neither of the presidents or their challengers. The ultimate winner was the opposing party’s presidential candidates.

Democratic presidential candidate Carter wrested the presidency from Ford in 1976. 1980 Republican presidential candidate Reagan wrested the presidency from Carter. The rare defeat of two sitting presidents happened as much from the ideological splits, divisions, and financial drain from intra party fights, as for their dismal performance in office and voter demand for a change. That won’t happen with Obama. His base among key Democratic constituencies, African-Americans, Latinos and young voters remain rock solid. Midterm Polls show that that they stayed away from the polls in droves and cost Democrats the House and much of the Senate because of alienation, indifference or hostility to Obama and the Democrats is a myth. Lincoln Park Strategies surveyed 1000 Obama voters and found that they had not altered their largely favorable view of him. They did not feel that Obama had betrayed his promises, principles or was GOP lite. The defection and the pile of losses by Democrats came from GOP leaning independents that had crossed over in 2008 and voted for Obama, but backpedalled from him and the Democrats in November. The harsh political reality is that neither Senate Democrats, they have repeatedly shown they will backseat to the GOP on legislation and initiatives, or progressive Democrats, there aren’t enough of them, can staunch a full blown roll back of the Iraq War wind down, social security evisceration, total gutting of education and health care, and infrastructure spending, and packing a Supreme Court and federal judiciary with even more hard line pro corporate and anti-criminal justice reform justices. Obama is the only thing that stands in the way of that happening.

 

The GOP leaders know that. They did not launch their take no prisoners war solely to drive him from office. The war would have been waged against Hillary Clinton or any other Democrat that won the presidency. The only thing different about Obama from them is he's African-American and that opened the racial floodgate to hector, harass, and pillory demean him. The GOP war is about regaining power, control, political dominance, protecting its corporate and financial interests, its strict construction definition and enforcement of the laws, and more broadly the imposing its philosophical view of how government should be run. The presidency is the grand prize that pulls the political, economic and philosophical threads on how government and power will be exercised together for the GOP.


The other blurred crystal ball gazing foisted off as political reason for Obama to pack it in or for a challenger to him to step forth in 2012 is that America has plummeted into an era of scarcity, class gaping divisions between rich and poor, plunging living standards, military decline, and faces major challenges to its economic dominance from China, India, Brazil, Japan, and Western Europe. In this view America is going the way of the Roman and British Empires. This supposedly explains the anger and angst of the Tea Party at Obama. In short, he's the fall guy for America's sink. This is bunkum too.

The Tea Party's relentless rage and hounding of Obama is not fueled by insecurity over where the tomorrow's paycheck is coming from, whether America will get clocked in Afghanistan, what Brazil will or won't do in the financial markets, or that the government can't pay its bills because of massive hock to everyone. It's fueled by race and shrewd media and political manipulation. America has been in the era of economic uncertainty, foreign competition, and military shrinkage, for the past two decades. If America's domestic and foreign slide alone was a reason to tell a president not to run that president should have been W. Bush in 2004.

Presidents from Truman to Clinton have all heard the dreaded three words, "one-term president" said about them after popularity plunges, legislative reversals, or midterm party losses. They were all elected or re-elected. The fantasy that Obama is the great betrayer or hopelessly damaged goods are talk based on frustration and anger, not political reality, or more accurately political fantasy.



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