Well, shit. Obama’s handpicked go-to girl for his trademark vapid Bush-lite Blue Dog Democrat stance on everything from the environment to labor laws just eeked out another shot at the job as Senator from
Wal-Mart Arkansas. Bully for her. She did so by defeating a much more palatable (to, you know, real people with real issues like the economy, the environment, etc.) candidate, who received huge backing from the local unions. Their guy lost. Obama’s girl won. That’s politics. But.
This may be a good time to recall that the President is supposed to sit out primaries — that’s supposed to be a local operation. However, in this particular case, the White House was quick to flip the AFL-CIO the bird and tell them to suck on it, arguing that labor “flushed $10 million down the toilet.” It’s also worth remembering that the DNC (Obama’s wing of the Democratic Party) rewarded Ben Nelson (D-clueless) with half a million dollars worth of TV ads shortly after he managed to foot-drag and fuck-up the health care reform process to oblivion, even though he wasnt’ even up for re-election, while there were hard-fought seats (like, oh, the replacement for senator Kennedy in MA) that could’ve used a real boost with some support from the DNC. How’s that for flushing millions down the toilet? Nelson, meanwhile, proceeds to continue fucking up on the job, most recently sabotaging finance reform as a paid lackey of Wall Street. How’s the return on that half million working for you, Obama?
And, finally, it may be worth remembering that Obama’s BFF and consigliere, Rahm Emanuel, in his day as head of the DCCC, personally fucked around with key primaries waaay back in 2004, when a good friend of mine ran against a Blue Dog Democrat for a house seat in upstate NY. Rather than stay neutral, Rahm decided to throw gobs of $$$ at the Blue Dog already in the primary, effectively killing the chances of a progressive getting the seat. The Blue Dog went on to win.
All of this simply to say that when the Obama faithful trot out the tired argument that “oh, you kniow, Obama really wants to do well, but, gosh darn, he can’t do any of the visionary things he’d like to do because he has to work with the current crop of congressmen” — that’s simply bullshit. What they try to label his “pragmatism” apparently is nothing more than a heartfelt desire to maintain the status quo. And as long as Obama and his crack squad of advisors keeps working so hard to re-elect the very worst of the Senators and Congressmen, then we can only assume that, in spite of all the fancy posters, he really doesn’t want any change at all.
Corrupt & impotent as they are, I do appreciate the AFL-CIO pointing out to the White House that they are not an extension of the Democratic Party, and I appreciate their courage in supporting a candidate running against a D incumbent. Now, if only the moribund average D voters would wake up and seize the opportunity to flush the dead weight there’d be some hope for change. But as it is, the change clearly isn’t coming from the White House.
Update: of course, digby always does this better.