People have been expendable to Barack Obama for a very long time. As soon as they become inconvenient to him, they meet the underside of the Obama bus.
Barack Obama is now about to meet the underside of Hillary Clinton's bus. The only chance Hillary Clinton has of winning in 2016 is to blame shift to Barack Obama and sacrifice him for the good of the party.
Leon Panetta has begun the process.
We know what's going on, but it is important to understand why it is happening.
The historic odds of one party holding the White House for three consecutive terms is very low. The George H. W. Bush victory of 1988 was an anomaly that gave Reagan, in effect, a third term. It does not often happen. It certainly does not happen when the economy is bad.
In 2000, Al Gore won the popular vote, but could not win his own home state. He lost the Electoral College. His polling suggested he could not campaign with President Clinton, but he chose not to throw Bill Clinton under the bus or distance himself from Clinton policies. He then lost.
The problem Hillary Clinton has coupled with history is pretty simple. Voters do not like Republicans, but will embrace the GOP as a restraint on Barack Obama's policies. Because of Barack Obama's policies, people have a rapidly developing distrust and loathing of activist, big government. Hillary Clinton intends to campaign on activist, big government.
The only way to convince the voters that activist, big government can work is to blame shift from the policies to the person. Team Clinton must convince an American public that twice voted for Barack Obama and still likes him personally that he, not his policies, are to blame.
Why not the GOP? Well, the GOP is not tied to Obama's policies. He had complete control for his first two years and thereafter went very loudly toward using his executive powers to do everything. He owns the policies and decisions because he claimed he had to go it alone. And he had [mc_name name='Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV)' chamber='senate' mcid='R000146' ] to block GOP initiatives.
But there's more.
In the nineties, Clinton reached across the aisle and worked with the GOP on balancing budgets and welfare reform. Given Panetta's statements on Barack Obama's lack of leadership skills and hatred of working with those with whom he disagrees, we are already seeing Democrats come to the conclusion that Obama will not reach across the aisle in the next two years.
He will make it even easier for them to throw him under the bus because of his own vanity. Bill Clinton, gushing on the campaign trail for his wife, will remind voters how he and Newt Gingrich struck deals. With quivering lip and thumbed fist forward, he will say we need Washington to work again. He'll say he made Washington work. And, without ever saying it directly, he will make it clear that he is disappointed in Barack Obama.
The media will eat it up, remembering just how good it feels to prostitute themselves to Team Clinton.
Just last night, Bill Burton of Team Obama accused Leon Panetta of disloyalty. Panetta is a veteran and Barack Obama's pick for both CIA Chief and Secretary of Defense. The media, already shifting to Team Clinton, won't let those attacks go unanswered.
The Clintons have never liked Barack Obama. The team around the Clintons have never liked Obama. Going back to the South Carolina primary of 2008 when Team Obama accused Bill Clinton of racism, the grudge began and ran deeper and deeper over time.
The Clintons relish the opportunity for payback. And they understand that for Hillary to win, Barack Obama — not his policies — must be seen as the loser. Leon Panetta fired the first shots for Team Clinton. More will come.
The light Barack Obama sees ahead is not the light at the end of the Presidential term, but the headlights of a fast approaching bus. But it's okay Mr. President. [mc_name name='Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL)' chamber='house' mcid='W000797' ] will have a spot next to her all warmed up for you.