Jonathan S. Tobin at Commentary:
Some Democrats are apparently not waiting for Barack Obama to lose the presidential election before starting the inevitable recriminations about whose fault it was. Whether writing strictly on his own hook or as a result of conversations with campaign officials, New York Times political writer Matt Bai has fired the first shot in what may turn out to be a very nasty battle over who deserves the lion’s share of the blame for what may turn out to be a November disaster for the Democrats. That the Times would publish a piece on October 24 that takes as its starting point the very real possibility that the president will lose, and that blame for that loss needs to be allocated, is astonishing enough. But that their nominee for scapegoat is the man who is almost certainly the most popular living Democrat is the sort of thing that is not only shocking, but might be regarded as a foretaste of the coming battle to control the party in 2016.
Bai’s choice for the person who steered the president wrong this year is none other than former President Bill Clinton, who has widely been credited for having helped produce a post-convention boost for the Democrats. Clinton’s speech on behalf of Obama was viewed, with good reason, as being far more effective than anything the president or anyone else said on his behalf this year. But Bai points to Clinton as the primary advocate within high Democratic circles for changing the party’s strategy from one of bashing Mitt Romney as an inauthentic flip-flopper to one that centered on trying to assert that he was a conservative monster. Given that Romney demolished that false image in one smashing debate performance in Denver that seems to have changed the arc of the election, Clinton’s advice seems ripe for second-guessing right now. But we have to ask why Bai thinks Clinton was the one who single-handedly forced the change, and what is motivating those feeding the reporter this information?
This is clearly intended to absolve the anonymous Obama aides for making a decision that they — and the president — must have signed off on before it was implemented. Bai goes to great lengths to take them off the hook, and even compares their position to a ballplayer who would reject advice from Derek Jeter. In other words Bai is saying that anyone, even really smart political operatives like those working in Obama’s Chicago headquarters, or the top guys themselves like David Axelrod or David Plouffe, had no choice but to bow to the 42nd president’s wisdom.
But the idea that it was only Clinton that advocated this strategy or that without his influence the geniuses running the Obama campaign would not have made this mistake is so patently self-serving on the part of his sources that it’s a wonder that a generally savvy observer like Bai doesn’t point this out.
If anything this omission, like the general thrust of his piece, points to an effort by Obama’s chief strategists to get out in front of the story of who led the president to defeat. Moreover, it is hard not to avoid the suspicion that pointing the finger at Clinton is a way of reminding him that if he thinks Obama loyalists owe him for his herculean efforts on behalf of the president he’s got another thing coming. Especially, that is, if he tries to call in IOUs from the Obama camp on behalf of another presidential run by Hillary Clinton in 2016.
But no matter where the Democratic fingers are pointing, the fact that they are already starting to blame each other for an Obama loss has to send chills down the spines of Democrats who are still operating under the assumption that Romney can’t win.
During my lifetime there have been two successful two-term presidents. Okay, technically three but I was a tiny baby during the last few months of Ike’s administration. JFK was killed, LBJ didn’t run for a second term, Nixon resigned in disgrace, Ford, Carter and George H. W. Bush lost their bids for reelection, and George Bush left office with an approval rating of 28 percent. Only Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton completed two full terms and left office with high approval ratings. Both of them remain popular today.
Can you imagine a Republican candidate for president bashing Reagan’s legacy? I can imagine it, but I can’t imagine them ever winning another election. Reagan is treated as a saint by the GOP and every GOP candidate for high office pays homage to him, regardless of what they might think in private.
Democrats must have a suicide wish. How else do you explain bashing the only two-term Democrat since FDR? Bill Clinton oversaw eight years of peace and prosperity and yet the Vile Progs not only despise him but they hate Hillary too.
Instead of trying to build on his legacy they run away from it. Barack Obama ran as the anti-Clinton and his supporters openly crowed that they were going to purge the Clintons and their supporters from the Democratic party.
Now they want to blame Bill for Obama’s failure.
That’s where the schadenfreude comes in. Winners don’t play the blame game. Four years from now there won’t be an “Obama camp”, just like there is no “Carter contingent.”
Moral: Don’t mess with the Big Dawg.