Despite what I titled this post, I do think President Obama might have a leg to stand on in claiming that had he ran, he would have won:
(CNN)Arguing that Americans still subscribe to his vision of progressive change, President Barack Obama asserted in an interview recently he could have succeeded in this year’s election if he was eligible to run.
“I am confident in this vision because I’m confident that if I had run again and articulated it, I think I could’ve mobilized a majority of the American people to rally behind it,” Obama told his former senior adviser David Axelrod in an interview for the “The Axe Files” podcast, produced by the University of Chicago Institute of Politics and CNN.
Both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton both polled high in the unpopularity ratings. They were both deeply polarizing during the 2016 election. During that same period, President Obama’s approval rating went up. My explanation- and it’s just my opinion- is that President Obama’s approval rating in the twilight of his presidency is a beneficiary of just how loathsome the two frontrunners were in the Election.
I know FA readers will disagree with me on this, but President Obama has governed with a certain appeal, personality-wise. And in wake of Trump’s winning of the presidency, President Obama has more or less conducted himself with class and grace, attempting to follow in the footsteps of his predecessor in that regard; attempting to help unify the country and rectify the divisiveness of the campaign.
In the 50-minute session, Obama repeated his suggestion Democrats had ignored entire segments of the voting population, leading to Donald Trump’s win. He implied that Hillary Clinton’s campaign hadn’t made a vocal enough argument directed toward Americans who haven’t felt the benefits of the economic recovery.
Ouch. Given that President Obama campaigned pretty aggressively on behalf of Hillary Clinton’s candidacy, wasn’t he essentially on the ticket? Given Trump’s unpopularity and his troubles in unifying the GOP tent, wasn’t Trump’s election win a referendum on Obama’s presidential performance, whether it be the last year, 2 years, 4 years or the last 8 years? Just as President Obama’s 2008 election was in part due to a Bush-weary nation? There could be an argument made that Obama campaigning for Hillary might have hurt her chances than helped. It can also be argued that Hillary basically hurt Hillary’s chances by being…well, Hillary Clinton; which supports President Obama’s notion that he could have done what Hillary couldn’t do: Win against Trump. In my opinion, almost anyone but Hillary could have beaten Trump; just as I believe any of the other GOP candidates could have done what Trump did: Beat Hillary.
Trump has a point in tweeting back his counterattack:
“President Obama said that he thinks he would have won against me. He should say that but I say NO WAY! – jobs leaving, ISIS, OCare, etc.,”
If 2010, 2012, and 2016 weren’t a referendum on Obama policies (as opposed to cult of personality), then how does Obama explain the number of governorships in GOP hands? How does he rationalize the loss of Congressional seats in 2010 and 2012?
President Obama ultimately set his party back:
In boasting about his tenure in the White House, President Barack Obama often cites numbers like these: 15 million new jobs, a 4.9 percent unemployment rate and 74 months of consecutive job growth.
There’s one number you will almost never hear: More than 1,030 seats.
That’s the number of spots in state legislatures, governor’s mansions and Congress lost by Democrats during Obama’s presidency.
It’s a statistic that reveals an unexpected twist of the Obama years: The leadership of the one-time community organizer and champion of ground-up politics was rough on the grassroots of his own party. When Obama exits the White House, he’ll leave behind a Democratic Party that languished in his shadow for years and is searching for itself.
“What’s happened on the ground is that voters have been punishing Democrats for eight solid years—it’s been exhausting,” said South Carolina state Sen. Vincent Sheheen, who lost two gubernatorial campaigns to Nikki Haley, President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for ambassador to the U.N. “If I was talking about a local or state issue, voters would always lapse back into a national topic: Barack Obama.”
When Obama won the presidency, his election was heralded as a moment of Democratic dominance—the crashing of a conservative wave that had swept the country since the dawn of the Reagan era.
Democrats believed that the coalition of young, minority and female voters who swept Obama into the White House would usher in something new: an ascendant Democratic majority that would ensure party gains for decades to come.
The coalition, it turns out, was Obama’s alone.
After this year’s elections, Democrats hold the governor’s office and both legislative chambers in just five coastal states: Oregon, California, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Delaware. Republicans have the trifecta in 25, giving them control of a broad swath of the middle of the country.
The defeats have all but wiped out a generation of young Democrats, leaving the party with limited power in statehouses and a thin bench to challenge an ascendant GOP majority eager to undo many of the president’s policies. To be sure, the president’s party almost always loses seats in midterm elections. But, say experts, Obama’s tenure has marked the greatest number of losses under any president in decades.
“Obama just figured his important actions on policies like immigration and health care would solidify support, but that hasn’t really materialized,” said Daniel Galvin, a political science professor at Northwestern University and the author of a book on presidential party building. “He’s done basically the minimal amount of party building, and it’s been insufficient to help the party.”
It’s a political reality that Obama has only been willing to acknowledge publicly after his party’s devastating November losses. He’s admitted he failed to create “a sustaining organization” around the political force that twice elected him to office.
“That’s something I would have liked to have done more of, but it’s kind of hard to do when you’re also dealing with a whole bunch of issues here in the White House,” he said at his year-end press conference.
That’s astounding, coming from a president who I believe never stopped being a president of the Democratic Party, ever in campaign mode throughout his tenure. As a resident of Los Angeles, he seemed to constantly be flying out here to fundraise for the Democratic Party (this is just a perception on my part). During his first 6 years, he hosted at least 393 fundraisers by mid-year:
In his first term, Obama attended more fundraising events than any other president in recent history. According to author Brendan J. Doherty, from 2008 to 2012 Obama went to 321 events, compared to just 80 for Ronald Reagan. And, as the chart below shows, he’s done 72 events in his second term – 34 this year alone. So far, he’s ahead of the pace of George W. Bush, who had been to 30 events at this point in 2006. In his two presidential terms combined, Bush hosted 318 fundraisers. Obama has already smashed that number with 393 events to date.
Apparently Bill Clinton campaigned even more, in the same time period in his presidency.
The candidate of hope and change and post-racial unity. Not.
Osama bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive; and Al Qaeda is on the run. Not quite.
Obamacare? A mess.
Trump vs. Obama in 2016? It happened. And Obama lost. Hillary Clinton was in all essence his surrogate and would have functioned as a third Obama term. American voters decided they had enough.
A former fetus, the “wordsmith from nantucket” was born in Phoenix, Arizona in 1968. Adopted at birth, wordsmith grew up a military brat. He achieved his B.A. in English from the University of California, Los Angeles (graduating in the top 97% of his class), where he also competed rings for the UCLA mens gymnastics team. The events of 9/11 woke him from his political slumber and malaise. Currently a personal trainer and gymnastics coach.
The wordsmith has never been to Nantucket.
At one point, long before Trump had gained the GOP nomination, I remarked about just how shallow of a bench the Dems had.
It was worse than I thought.
Americans wanting Obama’s 3rd term was her only chance of winning.
How old is Hillary?
But then what?
1/3rd of all Dems recently elected come from Mass., NY, and CA.
Their leadership is elderly:
Democrat House leader is 76-year-old Nancy Pelosi.
House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer is 77.
Assistant Minority Leader Jim Clyburn is 76.
Representative Maxine Waters is 78.
She’s taking ”the lead” in promising not to be reasoned with after Trump assumes office.
Where’s the Dem bench?
The canidate of Hope and Change brought none just higher taxes more regulations worthless laws,riots and freeing dangerous crinimals and abuse of power Obama s next place of residence should be prison for life no parole no plea bargins and no movie deals from Micheal Moore,Oliver Stone or Spike Lee. They already made a movie about the Obama’s first romance and it bombed
They have no bench. The democrat party is no longer a national party. Here is what obamas legacy to the party is after 8 years:
There was no opposition on mcconnells part….
mrs clinton is and was a flawed candidate….
Blamed the ‘filters’ why because there was opposition media that exposed the lies of obama?
How do we shut down freedom of speech he axes…
Live by the sword and die by the sword…..
@July 4th American: HRC was an extremely flawed candidate with around 39% approval.. If not for the untimely death of his son, Biden would have been the nominee and beaten Trump rather easily.
Obama at 53% approval would have beaten Trump who stood around 38% approval.
At any rate DT is Prez and with 3 Goldman Sachs guys on board the rich will continue to get richer.
Answering the question, where is the Dem bench is this:
And who are these “winners?”
Elizabeth Warren 67 now.
Bernie Sanders 75 now.
And he’s been had.
Cory Booker, only 43.
But he’s a self-hating gay (like Milo and many other conservative gays who despise the “out” lifestyle.)
Amy Klobuchar (only 56) but a complpete unknown on the national stage.
Kirsten Gillibrand, only 50, but who is Hillary-lite.
Michelle Obama, 52, but too funny. Any school lunch eaters want to give her more power over us all?
John Hickenlooper, 64. Pot-smoker, Lithium-popper, nude-selfie-maker, drunk-driver….might be the “Perfect” Dem candidate!
Chris Murphy only 43, a gun-control nut and online spelling nazi.
Joe Biden, 73. Handsy with women and children. And a mouth that doesn’t know when to put on the brakes.
Andrew Cuomo, 59, sort of centrist, for a Dem future.
Kamala Harris, 52, CA’s Obama: inexperienced, imprudent (according to Obama) but of mixed racial background.
Deval Patrick, 60, wrote Obama’s best speech (O cribbed it) out of Romney’s Bain Capital, plans to “stay woke,” during Trump’s tenure.
And, Oprah, 62.
Still not much of a bench.
You didn’t know who Barack Obama was when he suddenly turned up at a Democratic National Convention and made a speech. Four years later, he was president.
@Greg: @Greg: Actually, intelligent people knew who he was. The media failed to do diligence.
@Greg: Greggie, Obola’s reputation and failure preceded him. Obolacare is the gift to Republicans that keeps on giving!!
@Rich Wheeler: Biden would have been even easier to beat Rich. His comments and lack of real accomplishments would have doomed him just as HRC’s did. America rejected the direction that Obama and Democrats took our country.
Twice before the election, Obama said that his ;lgacy is on the ballot. The voters rejected his legacy.
Obama is his own biggest fan, but he was right about one thing–people projected on him what they WANTED him to be. (Problem was he did the same.) Joe Biden wanted him to be a ‘clean,’ (his word) articulate black guy who wasn’t TOO angry.
I suspect he wouldn’t win a third time merely because people are tired of his act, and enough people wanted something new. Those who voted for him and Trump show that not everyone is hardcore right or left–they just want someone who might help make their lives a LITTLE easier. The most vocal on politics ignore that simple desire.
Can any thoughtful person who voted for Obama say he made anything better?
@Greg: Funny thing is, you didn’t know who he was, either…
…that should bother you, junior.
@Common Sense: Biden would have been a joke similar to Dan Quayle, although Biden has been a reigning dunce for several more years than Quayle.
It’ll never end about ‘could’ve beat Trump’. All the republicans that ran against him thought they could beat him. All the Dims thought for sure hillary was going to win. Hillary thought she was going to win up to the point, while rip roaring drunk, she threw the $950,000 bottle of champagne against the 150 screen tv at the campaign headquarters. Obozo thought she was going to win up til that time also. He would have run the same type campaign that she did. He would have lost. His phony employment numbers would have crushed him. 56% unemployment is too much for this country and it was only going to get worse. Trump has already created more employment since Nov 8 than Obozo did since 2008. He is/was a wannabe community organizer that totally failed at that so he decided to get a paying job in politics. Obozo a winner? Never again.
We know a little more now than we knew in 2008. But, we do not know the real obama, we know he hates America and the People of America, we know he tips the scale toward moslems, we know he is most likely gay and his wife is a she/male ape in heels.
We may never know his true inner self in the sense that he is on an equal ideology with the reverend j wright. He is a hardened anti semite and a racist.
He is the worst president in the History of this Great Country, period.
@July 4th American: The voice of the reactionary right. Fortunately a ridiculed minority in this great country.
@Rich Wheeler: Minority?? Looks to me it’s a majority given the last election cycle. America has rejected the liberal left and inability and their radical policies. Israel is just one more agenda item President Donald Trump will add to the list of Obama disasters in need of redirection!!
@Common Sense: I am referring to Patriot’s ?? SPECIFIC statements in #15. These are beliefs that are held by a small minority of Americans—Unfortunately you may be one of them Doc.
Re Israel The majority of Americans, Israelis and the world believe in a two state solution.
@Rich Wheeler: I am referring to Patriot’s ?? SPECIFIC statements in #15.
First I’m not ‘reactionary’ but I am very patriotic.(as I think you are) but there is nothing I find in his statements in #15 that I disagree with. There is nothing more in his comments about Obama and Moochelle that are any more objectionable than the comments by all the left wing loonies that comment about Trump. I think the sole purpose of Trump running for president was to Make America Great Again. I do not attribute any noble reasons to Obama for running for president. I think his sole objective was to drive America to be a 2nd class nation. Can you, as a patriotic person possibly attribute Obama’s total betrayal of Israel to any other reason? Kinda like throwing an anchor to a drowning person.
So get off your high horse long enough to acknowledge the absolute betrayal of one of America’s true allies.
@RedTeam: The abstention was in no way a betrayal.
Most of America, Israel and the World are in favor of a two state solution–The unabated building of Israeli settlements on land occupied by Palestinians–their originally U.N. MANDATED LAND has been reduced by over 50% — does not promote the solution and certainly does not promote peace which is in the United States interest.
Re Patriot?? Do you agree that Obama ” hates America and The People Of America.” A large majority of Americans DO NOT believe that statement RT. His #15 offensive, erroneous, and even Trump would give it little credence.
Certainly YOU are a Patriot, though IMO, often misguided.
Yes, obama hates America and the people of America who do not agree with him, there is no dispute there.
@Rich Wheeler: Do you agree that Obama ” hates America and The People Of America.”
absolutely. He has not done one single ‘patriotic’ act as president and has done many many things to undermine the country, such as capitulating to Iran, North Korea, and Palestine, to name a few. He has clearly had an objective to reduce the military force of America. He has almost single handedly destroyed the economics of the country. You know, and I know, that Obama’s move on Israel in the UN was conceived and designed and put into motion by Obama as a total reversal of America’s policy toward Israel from day one.
Most of America, Israel and the World are in favor of a two state solution
I notice you left out Palestine as among those that are in favor of a two state solution and I’m sure that was deliberate as it is well known that Palestine has consistently been the only obstacle to a solution. Every agreement ever reached has been violated by Palestine and they are currently sworn to eliminate Israel. This current UN plan was conceived by Obama as a thorn in the side of Trump. Trump will likely have that policy reversed by the end of February.
Certainly YOU are a Patriot, though IMO, often misguided.
Strange, I don’t consider acting in the interest of the USA to be misguided.
Rich, an additional thought. Israel spends it’s time building settlements for it’s people and defending it’s people. Palestine spends it’s time attacking Israel. Which is more noble?
@RedTeam: NOBODY in Obama Admin is defending Palestinian attacks against Israel. Did you hear Kerry’s speech?-made sense to most.
Do you remember those who attacked.W for everything he did?–foolish.
Now we have the reactionary right doing the same thing to BHO–some have taken to attacking he and his wife’s sexual orientation—equally foolish.
obama is an anti semite and he is showing those who can see that he is and has been an enemy of not only America, but America’s most important ally in the ME, Israel.
The tranny that poses as his wife is fair game, get over it.
@Rich Wheeler: NOBODY in Obama Admin is defending Palestinian attacks against Israel. Did you hear Kerry’s speech?-made sense to most. Knowing that every thing he said was a lie, that the whole kaboodle is Obama’s shenanigans. And you can’t see through that?
Now we have the reactionary right doing the same thing to BHO and we have those that blindly defend him, regardless.
some have taken to attacking he and his wife’s sexual orientation—equally foolish.
What the hell are you talking about? Attacking? Calling a spade a spade is not ‘attacking’. It has been clearly established that Obama is homosexual. Have you heard him deny it? Mooche’s sexual identity is still up in the air, I’ve seen ‘semi’ convincing arguments both ways. I don’t personally care about their sexual identities or orientations, but they should be honest with the people. The fact that they adopted both of their children adds credence.
Nothing Kerry said made sense to a sensible individual.
The “first lady” inserted herself into the political landscape, thus she is fair game. It is entirely reasonable to question the sexuality of what ever she/he/it is.
Biden the serial groper, gaffe machine wouldn’t have stood a chance!
Don’t get his popularity as a person and whet the majority of America think about his policies mixed up. Most of America knows hiss failed us and that his identity politics have deeply divided the nation almost to the point of no return. Another 4 years and he’s have us in a race war. America’s had enough!