It's surreal. For years, conservatives (quite understandably) viewed Barack Obama as an embodiment of the Democrats' leftward lurch -- and now, if this CNN report is to be believed, even he's growing frustrated by the deepening extremism of his party. It seems as though analysts and commentators astonished by the extent to which the 2020 field is throwing the Obama legacy overboard as too 'moderate' aren't alone. The 44th president has apparently noticed it as well, and he's none too pleased:
CNN's Newsroom co-host Jim Sciutto mentioned Obama wasn't pleased by criticism from Democratic presidential candidates and asked Buck what she was learning behind the scenes. "As you know, Obama has been trying to stay out of this primary as much as possible, keeping quiet, and not making any endorsements even with his former vice president Joe Biden in the race," Buck said. "But privately Obama, our CNN colleagues are reporting, is expressing exasperation at how far left the party is moving on some policy issues and of course breaking with some of the things he did when he was president." "Primaries are all about the legacy of the last president where the party is moving, and it's no secret that the Democratic Party right now has been moving far to the left policy-wise relative to the Obama administration," Buck continued. "And it is for many of these candidates a balancing act because Joe Biden of course is essentially a third term of President Obama."
As an aside, I'll note that Scuitto worked in the Obama administration. Some liberals may argue that this development is, among other things, proof that Obama was never the wild-eyed radical that Republicans painted him as, but I don't think that's the right framing. My read on Obama, based on his resume and body of work, is that the's a committed leftist ideologue who is nevertheless gifted as a tactical pragmatist and incrementalist. So his objection here, if I were to guess, is both personal and pragmatic. He's no doubt annoyed to see his own party elbowing large pieces of his agenda and legacy aside (and so soon, at that), but he's also likely concerned that 2020 Democrats are hampering their ability to win back the White House by adopting positions that he knows will alienate many persuadable voters.
In the short term, the biggest beneficiary of this trend -- besides Donald Trump -- may well be Joe Biden. By appearing to be the only person onstage committed to unequivocally embracing Obama, he's appealing directly to the majority of Democratic voters who support exactly that. This includes a great many black voters, who are an essential and influential part of the primary coalition, and among whom Biden has been dominating thus far. If the current dynamic keeps up, how soon until Obama's private grousing becomes less private? And what might that look like? Meanwhile, the here's what the surging Democratic Socialists of America are up to:
The Dems continue to move to the left and while it is fun for us to watch the best piece of information coming from it is Obama is irritated.
A look into what happened during one part of the national convention of the Democratic Socialists of America in Atlanta this weekend. pic.twitter.com/bWekVQxPWV— Andy Ngo (@MrAndyNgo) August 4, 2019