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How did Democrats end up in this situation? Lack of leadership at the top

Gloria Borger, although she apparently doesn’t know it, has described why Obama and the Democrats are looking at the distinct possibility of an electoral avalanche that will sweep them out of the majority in the House in November.  As Borger notes, when Obama took office, it seemed it was a Democratic majority built to last for years.  Now “years” is down to “two”.

She points to one reason that is typical of any politician who wins an election – they read more into their win than is actually there:

Obama was elected as the corrective to the Bush years. Yet when you’re the winner, the temptation is always there to see yourself as something more than just an alternative — something larger, like a paradigm-changer or a transformational political figure. And Obama wanted nothing less than a change from conservatism to his own brand of 21st century activism.

"When you win an election," says political scientist Bill Galston, "you are always inclined to believe you won for the reasons you wanted to win."

In other words, you believe you won for the big stuff, not just because the voters didn’t like the other guy.

Watching Obama’s fading approval numbers and the ever increasing resistance to his agenda, it becomes clear that it was mostly about ‘the other guy’.

But there’s a larger point to be made as to why Obama and the Democrats are in the electoral shape they enjoy today:

Think back to the beginning. There’s an economic crisis, which the public believes Obama inherited. Then there’s his bucket-list of things he wants to get done. He has a choice: Handle the crisis or do the campaign to-do list.

And what does Obama decide? To do both. That is, the economy plus the rest of it — including health care.

"The irony is he didn’t even run on health care," says one Democratic pollster. "In truth, it wasn’t a large part of the general election campaign."

Interesting point.  “He didn’t even run on health care”.  Well he mentioned it, but it wasn’t his signature campaign issue.  But it sure was Nancy Pelosi and the liberal caucus’s number one priority – a wet dream they’d had all their lives.  And so while the economy was melting down and should have been the single dominant issued for the White House (and Congress), Obama allowed himself to be seduced into using all his political capital for something that wasn’t that important to the American people.

Borger attempts to make excuses for Obama that simply don’t ring true and certainly don’t pass the smell test:

Obama became convinced that solving the health care mess was key to solving the nation’s economic problems, especially bringing the deficit under control. In fact, when he first spoke of the importance of health care reform, it was all about "bending the cost curve," a slogan lost on most of the public.

BS.  Any sane person, with even a cursory understanding of economics, knew that the program outlined in the monstrosity that has since become known as ObamaCare had as much of a chance of “bending the cost curve” down as Togo becoming the first nation in the world to land a man on Mars.  Obama’s agenda was hijacked by Pelosi, et al, and he refused to stand up to them and say, “no – it’s the economy stupid”.

Democrats instead quickly passed an ineffective trillion dollar pork laden stimulus bill guaranteed to keep unemployment under 8% (or so they claimed) and then essentially turned away from the nation’s most pressing problem – other than to occasionally give it lip service – to their pet project, health care “reform”.

Borger claims it was Obama’s “ambitious agenda” that did him in and that the agenda “fed into the GOP narrative”.  Unfortunately, at the point this was done, the GOP had no narrative.   They were in a state of disarray and both powerless and voiceless. 

No, the “voice” came out of townhalls.  The “voice” showed up at “Tea Parties”.  The “voice” expressed anger and frustration.

And what the “voice” was saying and continues to say is Obama and the Democrats made the wrong choice when they chose health care reform over working on the economy.

Nothing’s really changed either.  Most of it – the position Democrats are now in – isn’t a result of any GOP narrative.  It isn’t even necessarily because of the bad economy.  It is a result of a poor leader caving into a special interest caucus within his party and putting that caucus’s priorities in front of the people’s priority.

Pretending it was anything else is simply nonsense.  Democrats are facing an electoral avalanche in November because Obama let Pelosi and Reid usurp the leadership role that was his.  And now they get to pay the butcher’s bill.

~McQ

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13 Responses to How did Democrats end up in this situation? Lack of leadership at the top

  • When Massachusetts replaces Ted Kennedy with a Republican, didn’t anybody think it sent a message ?
    The Democrats, including Obama, walked, rather ran, into this buzzsaw.

  • I think one of the factors in the decline of leadership in the Democratic Party was Bill Clinton.
     
    He was the one who committed the party completely to “ends justify the means” politics. Smearing the women he diddled, lying to a grand jury, getting caught dead to rights, and still skating through it all and being seen as a “good president” tells us all we need to know about the modern Democratic Party.
     
    Sure, sure, the leftists tell us it was all about sex, we shouldn’t be getting hung up on who he diddled, etc. etc. But they’re missing the point. It wasn’t all about sex. It was much more about lying, and willingness to smear and degrade another person to cover up for indulging in the sex. Plus showing zero remorse for any action that he took, while suggesting that those who opposed him were the worst kind of people in the world.
     
    The lesson to Democrats from that whole mess was “deny, deny, deny”. Tell the big lie. Keep to your narrative, no matter what the evidence actually shows. Depend on the media to defend you, muddy the issue, and smear your opponents (Ken Starr was abysmally treated by the media just for doing his job). Demonize your opposition. I think the roots of Bush hatred spring directly from the ethos shown to be successful by Clinton.
     
    We’ve now had twelve years since Clinton set the standard, and we’ve gotten exactly what we should have expected: a Democratic Party that has no values, lies whenever they feel like it to get what they want (“If you like your coverage, you can keep it.”), and feels no remorse whatsoever for any of their actions.
     
    Why should we expect good leaders to come from such a morass? Good leaders have ethics. They know it’s wrong to smear people, even if they would benefit. They have good judgment, which means they are connected to reality. They understand the rule of law, and respect it.
     
    None of this describes modern Democrats.
     
    Now, it also doesn’t describe some Republicans. Some of them have similarly learned the lessons of Bill Clinton. They may not be as craven as Clinton, but the actions of Charlie Crist and Lisa Murkowski betray a similar lack of concern for anyone except themselves. The Republicans, though, still have enough residual morality and ethics to support those who fight and win over their classless, pompous Clinton wannabees.
     
    There are only a handful of Democrats who are in the same category, and they are ostracized and jeered by their party’s base.
     
    The objective of the Democrats now is power, and their modus operandi is “by any means necessary”. Good leaders don’t come out of that.

    • I agree, Billy. I think what we’re seeing with this pitiful excuse for humanity is the application of Alinsky’s rules. Lie, cheat, steal, it doesn’t matter. The ends justify the means. Makes me want to vomit.

    • totally agree, Except that they were well on this path even before Clinton. I remember the reflexive hate, and lies aimed at Reagan,  And let’s not for get all the people they got rid of just by smearing them, Deaver, Tower, Gingrich, and others I have forgotten.

  • Obama’s agenda was hijacked by Pelosi, et al, and he refused to stand up to them and say, “no – it’s the economy stupid

    >>>> I hate to come off as nitpicky but this is just incorrect.  The actual fact of the situation is not that Obama’s agenda was hijacked, but in fact, he basically turned it over wholesale to Nancy and Harry to do whatever they wanted with. He was (and still is) much more interested in making speeches and enjoying the perks of ruling to actually bother with anything as mundane as advancing his agenda.  Frankly, he thought that “he won” and Nancy and Harry would be able to push anything and everything through.  Oooops.

    • I have to agree.  The White House has “outsourced”  the entire legislative agenda to Congress, who can’t even pass a budget.

    • Agreed. Besides how different was the Pelosi/Reid agenda from Obama’s anyway?

      “I am absolutely determined that by the end of the first term of the next president, we should have universal health care in this country,” [candidate Obama] said.

      http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2007-01-25-obama-health_x.htm

      My take is that Obama was lazy and naturally farmed out the hard work to Pelosi and Reid.

  • Something that goes unmentioned by the Dems with healthcare – especially Team Obama – is how different the legal critter that got passed is compared to what “Obama’s” health-care scheme was back in the primary battles with Hillary and the Shyster.
     
    I distinctly remember Hillary Clinton getting heat from Obama groupies (i.e. the press) and Obama himself in a primary debate no less, about the insurance mandates in “Hillary’s” plan. How Obama just didn’t think that was going to work, went against first principles, yada-yada. Mandates weren’t even popular amongst Democrat primary voters evidently. And yet that’s what we ended up with, had to cook the books somehow to make the pig “deficit-neutral.” Of all the Democrats I can see in any position of leadership, there isn’t one who’s a good accountant, and man does it show.
     
    Now Obama wonders where the “youth vote” for “hope and change” went? He and his lefty buddies inflicted a bill on them where they have to get insurance to basically subsidize Granpa’s Viagra (not to mention those $10,000-dollar-a-pop scooter-things they sell on MSNBC all day: “Medicare and my insurance paid everything!”) or they’d get a thousand dollar fee. Being able to free-load on your parents for health-insurance until age 26 just didn’t cast the net wide enough for the entitlement classes Democrats need to create – create NOW – for the votes.

  • McQDemocrats are facing an electoral avalanche in November because Obama let Pelosi and Reid usurp the leadership role that was his.

    I disagree.  Yes, The Dear Golfer hasn’t exactly been much of a leader, but I suggest that he hasn’t HAD to be.  He farmed out his legislative agenda to SanFran Nan and Dingy Harry because (A) they are the legislative leaders of his party; (B) his party held such a commanding majority in the Congress that “leadership” (compromise, negotiation, etc.) wasn’t needed, and most importantly; (C) they were completely in accord with him on policy.  So, why not let them handle the nitty-gritty work of crafting the legislation?  It’s not as if they were going to do anything that he found fundamentally objectionable. 

    As for The Dear Golfer’s leadership skills, I admit that they – like the rest of his resume – are pretty light.  But it’s undeniable that he’s gotten quite a lot accomplished in spite of this.  His problem is that the American people DON’T LIKE WHAT HE’S DONE.  He and his loathesome party are likely to to get hammered in the mid-terms not really because of what they did or didn’t do, but because the electorate is correcting horrible mistakes that they (we?*) made back in ’06 and ’08.  Be careful what you wish for because you may get it: we wished for Uncle Sugar to fix the economy, save GM and Chrysler, fix health care, and make the rich pay their fair share.  Well, we’re getting what we wanted… and it STINKS.

    —-

    (*) Republicans must also bear their share of blame here: what collection of morons nominated John friggin’ McCain to be their candidate????  Um, that would be the GOP.

    • Actually you can make a good case that McCain was forced upon the Party by independents and Democrats because of the early open primaries. 

  • Technically, let’s see what Obama could put under the item of “fixing the economy.” Keep in mind we have to allow him that Keynes works and give him some of these as what he might have thought would work.
    1) Stimulus – which  includes various spending on stuff and tax cuts, etc.
    2) “Saving” the Car companies
    3) “Saving” various banks, etc. – ongoing as banks fail.
    4) Cash for Clunkers
    5) Home mortgage tax credit
    6) Financial reform bill
    7) Healthcare reform – it will help make us more competitive vs. countries with national healthcare.
    Its not a horribly short list. It may be full of horrible policy results, but its not like he did nothing. As a community activist/lawyer, he may have thought this to be enough.
    I guess there should be a negative list, too.
    1) Oil Drilling Moratorium – what a CYA politician sort of solution to a problem.
    2) Even considering cap and trade.
    I cannot think of any more of the top of my head, but I am sure they exist.
     
    I think Obama’s mistake was thinking that #1, 2, 4 & 5 would do the trick so he could simply move onto the big domestic policy issues to “remake” America. By the way, am I the only one who thought he meant nationalizing healthcare when he said he was going to transform America?
    I know QandO was very aware that nationalized healthcare could lead to entrenching leftist control. This is why I think Obama did not run on it. It had to be stealth.