The Wake of Obama’s Mad Dash to Achieve a Transformational Legacy

Mr. Obama began his tenure in office, having helped his party win three branches of government. But, in a mad dash to achieve a transformational legacy, Mr. Obama destroyed his own power base. When the president rammed Obamacare through Congress, he cajoled Democratic Party members to vote for the health care law despite public disapproval, promising they would be rewarded for the historic legislation.

Instead, moderate and conservative Democrats were defeated in the 2010 midterm elections, in what amounted to historic losses for the party. In particular, Blue Dog Democrats who champion fiscal restraint and pro-life Democrats were each reduced approximately in half, rendering them a paltry force. Congressional Democrats are now wary enough of the president to know his leadership can’t be trusted; it is a party of each one looking out for himself to preserve his standing with his constituents. The Democratic Party is in effect leaderless….

…In a brilliant Sept. 4 [2010] column, in Salon by Matt Stoller, “What Democrats can do about Obama,” the Roosevelt Institute fellow states that the president “has ruined the Democratic Party.” The destruction is so stunning he is calling for Mr. Obama to be pushed off the ticket. “The 2010 wipeout was an electoral catastrophe so bad you’d have to go back to 1894 to find comparable losses,” writes Mr. Stoller. “From 2008 to 2010, according to Gallup, the fastest growing demographic party label was former Democrat. Obama took over the party in 2008 with 36 percent of Americans considering themselves Democrats. Within just two years, that number had dropped to 31 percent, which tied a 22-year low.”

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