Monday, November 04, 2013

Self-Interested Campaigning

Through cue(s) from the President on or his own, David Axelrod wasn't so keen three years ago in aiding Democratic candidates.  According to Politico's reading of  "Double Down" by Mark Halperin and John Heileman (to be published Tuesday), Vice President

Biden wanted to send a pamphlet defending the administration’s accomplishments to a huge swatch of targeted voters ahead of the 2010 midterms, and he drafted language with the help of Clinton. Strategist David Axelrod rejected the idea. “We’re not printing a couple million of anything and dropping it at people’s houses, OK,’” he told Biden.

But it's not true that President Obama doesn't care about any Democrats getting elected.  Sunday, USA Today reports,

"I want to get in on the action!" Obama told a boisterous crowd of more than 1,500 who gathered in a high school gym on behalf of Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe.

Obama, McAuliffe and other Democratic speakers sought to link Republican candidate Ken Cuccinelli to the recent federal government shutdown, while Cuccinelli and Republicans hammered Obama and McAuliffe over problems with the president's health care law.

Saying that Tuesday's election in Virginia has national ramifications, Obama praised McAuliffe, defended his own record, and attacked Tea Party Republicans for a series of budget disputes that included last month's 16-day shutdown.

"You've seen an extreme faction of the Republican Party that has shown again and again and again that they're willing to highjack the entire party -- and the country and the economy -- and grind progress to an absolute halt if they don't get 100% of what they want," Obama said.

Bill and Hillary Clinton, for whom McAuliffe once put up $1.35 million of his own money as collateral for a mortgage, have crusaded to get the man largely responsible for the Lincoln Bedroom scandal elected to the statehouse in Richmond.  McAuliffe, an extraordinarily successful fundraiser for Bill Clinton , is the huckster extraordinaire whom a major Republican maintains "is basically bought and paid for by the Clintons right now."

Obama and the Clintons: perfect together, which may leave out in the cold that vice-president whom Obama's close adviser in autumn, 2010 told to take a hike.

And of course it leaves out in the cold Barbara Buono, Chris Christie's Democratic challenger, whose support for an increased state minimum wage (on the ballot on Tuesday), vigorous support for same-sex marriage (a contentious issue in the state), and other liberal causes set her apart from the incumbent and ought to appeal to a President whose supporters still believe is progressive.  Neither Obama nor Bill Clinton has deigned to endorse Mrs. Buono.  Neither has Hillary Clinton, who was rumored as having five years ago boasted of crashing the "glass ceiling."

The lack of interest in the Democrat's campaign- and the support for the incumbent Republican, whom the President has appeared twice on camera and personally praised- has been particularly damaging to Buono and contributed significantly to her failure to garner support among black New Jerseyans typically enjoyed by Democrats.  Moreover, polls indicate Christie currently is the most popular Repub among all those individuals expected to be 2016 presidential contenders, particularly among independents, who may be drawn to the governor's schmoozing with his favorite Democrat.  

It is grotesque to see the Democratic president of the United States give de facto campaign support to a governor who has financed a tax cut for millionaires by vetoing women's health care and diverting $175 million of federal money intended to help homeowners prevent foreclosure, $166 million to build affordable housing, and $700 million dedicated to energy efficiency  And it is remarkable that Barack Obama is doing it for a man whom pundits consider the major threat to the election of a Democrat to the Oval Office in 2016.

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