*Tuesday’s primary elections were again about President Obama. And from the look of things every election up to and through 2012 will also be about the president.
And the elections will continue to put Obama in a Catch 22.
He is duty bound by Democratic Party loyalty, ties, incumbency, tradition, and political need to support seasoned, but shaky incumbents.
Ousted Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter crossed party lines to back Obama on key issues. Tottering Arkansas Senator Blanche Lincoln, a conservative Democrat, with deep corporate interest ties, risked much to back Obama’s health care reform package.
If he played Pontius Pilate and washed his hands of them while the danger mounted against them, he would be reviled as the worst kind of fair weather president.
A president who plays it tight to the vest, and sticks his finger in the wind to see which way the political wind is blowing before helping out at risk Democratic incumbents in dire need of support. What kind of leadership is that?
Obama’s recognized the dilemma. Endorse an incumbent that loses, and in the case of Specter loses badly, and be called a president whose support for an incumbent is tantamount to a kiss of political death (that was the tag on W. Bush). Or, do nothing, and weaken and divide the party at a time when it needs every ounce of strength it can muster to hold off the GOP counterassault.
The Scott Brown win in Massachusetts earlier this year and the GOP gubernatorial wins in New Jersey and Virginia last November again underscored the painful reality that a crushing majority of independents who oppose Obama or disavow his policies for racial, party, ideological reasons or personal prejudices, are a solid backbone of the GOP’s counter insurgency against him.
This was yet another reminder that Obama’s presidential victory was as much due to his personal appeal and a public fed up with Bush’s colossal domestic and foreign policy bungles and GOP corruption and sex scandals than any profound shift in voter party allegiances.
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