When Obama decided to turn his campaign into a permanent Super PAC; he was stabbing the Democrat Party in the back. But he was doing it to them, before they did it to him.
Organizing for America gave him an independent source of power and influence at the expense of the Democrat Party. Obama was carelessly draining money and energy out of his own party because whatever common interests he had with a political party, that for all its leftward swing was still too conservative for his taste, were about to be fractured during his second term.
The Democrat Party might have been satisfied if he had retained his 2008 halo in 2015. But that was never going to happen. No matter how much the media slobbers over a politician, the voting public, at least those parts of it that don’t have Hope posters and Obama holograms hanging on their walls, eventually needs a break and someone to blame.
Even vice presidents tend to turn on their own presidents once they begin running for office. George H.W. Bush did it to Reagan and Gore did it to Clinton. It may be hard to remember now in this wave of nostalgia for the 90s when there was actually an economy instead of a shrunken shell of one, but the Democrat Party and the American people had grown sick of Clinton and his scandals.
Gore was running as the antithesis of Bill Clinton. Boring and serious-minded where Bill was the life of the party. An ethical man, aside from all those scandals due to the lack of a controlling authority, who really understood the new internet technology, and wasn’t going to be caught with an intern; unless she was working at a massage parlor.
Al Gore was just a less successful and even more hypocritical version of Bill Clinton; but the Democrat Party tried to build him an image as a stiff and serious fellow who spent a lot of time deep in thought and might be awkward at parties; but wouldn’t cheat on the entire country. That’s what the Macarena jokes and the grotesque public kiss were about.
With Hillary Clinton, the Democrat Party already has an Anti-Obama in waiting. Hillary claims to be experienced where Obama was inexperienced. Savvier about the practical details of getting things done in Washington D.C. and capable of going the long distance in governance instead of making abrupt leaps of inspiration.
The “Ready for Hillary” image is as phony as Gore’s serious ethical look; but it’s also a shot across Obama’s bow telling him that the Dems were going to throw him under the bus before the next election. With Organizing for America, Obama, whose allegiance has always been to the left, not to anything as reactionary as an American political party, threw them under the bus first.
It’s not a full-fledged civil war. Yet.
Obama’s biggest asset is still the media whose younger and more energetic members lean as leftward as he does. Its older members are more skeptical, but still willing to toe the party line. At the end of his term that will change with the media suddenly hurling unexpectedly bitter criticism his way. That happened to Bill Clinton. It’s likely to happen to Barack Obama.
The media won’t step forward to destroy Obama. But they will pile on him once it helps Hillary. And he knows it.
There’s a reason that Obama never trusted his biggest fans, locked them up in closets, avoided conferences, carefully selected loyalist lefty pundits for private meeting and even set up his own photographers.
He knew that the time would come when the media would turn on him. When the halo photos would make way for pictures that make him look old and tired. When the same columnists who were talking him up as the great hope of the nation would turn to writing pieces about how he failed and why Hillary is the right woman to take his place.
His media loyalists have worked hard to stem any defections. The vicious attacks on Bob Woodward and Lara Logan are nasty reminders to keep the rest in line. The media lefties who lead them care less about the Democrat Party than they do about the agenda of the left. That is what they have in common with Barack. But the Democrat Party hacks care less about the left than they do about staying in power.
The ObamaCare crisis killed any hope of an enduring truce. Obama has been politically weakened now and there’s blood in the water.
The media hasn’t turned on him. It’s still repeating much of his propaganda about substandard plans and insurance companies, but the polls show that the public isn’t buying it. And the media has not done everything that it could have to shield him from it. There have been too many negative stories that got past the gatekeepers and too many cracks and leaks in the political wall.
ObamaCare has shown that the Prince of Chicago is mortal and that like all politicians, he will go down sooner or later. There will be no revered transition. He will not remain an undying JFK stepping forward into the pages of history. Instead he will be shoved aside to make way for a successor while the men and women who once lionized him shake their heads. In time he will emerge again, the way that Carter and Clinton have, as an elder statesman. But not in 2016.
The split between the Democrat Party and its leftist hijackers was always bound to happen. The interests that aligned them were nakedly political. The left wanted to push its agenda through and the Democrats would have adopted any tactic at all to win. The Democrat Party is ready to cover its tracks and move on. But the left isn’t done pushing through its agenda.
The collapse of ObamaCare may be a disaster for the Democrat Party in the short term, but it’s also an opportunity in the long term.
There’s not much else that Hillary Clinton can run on in 2016 except health care. Foreign policy interest is at an all time low which takes her time as Secretary of State off the table. That just leaves the economy; an unpredictable topic to build an election campaign around for a race years into the future.
The rebirth of HillaryCare demands the destruction of ObamaCare. For Hillary to be able to return to her core issue in 2016, she has to take away Obama’s biggest legislative achievement. And so the problems with ObamaCare may be a nuclear bomb for the Democrats in 2014, but a gift-wrapped package for Hillary in 2016.
If Obama were a team player, he might grit his teeth and take one for the team. But he isn’t. OFA was just the latest demonstration that he owes no allegiance to the Democrat Party and that the awkward marriage of Chicago community organizers, liberal billionaires and the turgid ranks of the jackass party swollen with living fossils like Harry Reid was bound to end sometime.
The big dream of Republican campaign professionals is to force the Democrats into the same circular firing squad that its own people keep collapsing into. That hasn’t happened yet, but there are signs that a stampede may be building.
The Democrats swallowed their losses in 2010 instead of turning on ObamaCare because they still had the Senate and the White House. If they lose the Senate in 2014, suddenly having a lame duck in the White House and a program that everyone hates at the top of the news hour won’t seem like such a bargain.
Obama knows all this and doesn’t care. He’s counting on the left to have his back while sacrificing the political fortunes of the Democrat Party for the sake of the progressive agenda. The Democrats might have held on to Congress, but Obama traded their political successes for his own success; weakening the Democrat Party while building his own image and power.
Now the Democrat Party is beginning to bite back. If it’s going to get into shape for 2014 and 2016, it has to claw back donors from his OFA and undermine his political infrastructure. And then it has to turn ObamaCare’s problems into a HillaryCare opportunity. All this is going to mean an ugly political civil war with the left turning on the Democrat Party and the media caught in the middle.
Obama carved up the Democrat Party for political spare parts. Now the Democrat Party is about to return the favor.
Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam. He is completing a book on the international challenges America faces in the 21st century. He blogs at Sultan Knish