It’s one thing for those of us on the Right to say that Obama completely destroyed the Democratic Party. Personally, I say it with a smile and sometimes believe he should be titled America’s greatest living president for it.
However, it’s a completely different thing for any Democrat to say it. After all, they circle the wagons around their own. Not only do we have a Democrat blaming Obama, however… we have the deputy chair of the Democratic National Committee, Keith Ellison, saying it. Watch:
Look I’m a great fan of President Obama. I totally voted for many of the things he supported — Dodd Frank, Affordable Care Act, Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act — I could keep going. Wonderful achievements. But Barack Obama could have been a better party leader, and I think the fact that he wasn’t put his legacy in jeopardy.
That’s a huge admission, but Ellison focuses on one word that perfectly explains why Obama wasn’t a good party leader: Legacy. Obama spent his entire presidency building a legacy. That is exactly why he didn’t get involved in party politics. The label of Democrat was the vessel by which he gained his power and the means by which he built his legacy.
He built “historic” coalitions to get himself elected. Minority groups like the black, Hispanic, and LGBT communities who don’t normally work together did come together for Obama. Not for the Democrats.
In 2008, Obama rode the wave of an anti-Republican, war-weary public that needed to hear something positive for a change. “Hope and change” gave them that. The promise of America’s first black president, the end of wars, and health care that was affordable at a time when the price of everything was steadily rising? That was a music to the American public’s ears.
Once he was there, and once the term “signature legislation” was attached to the Affordable Care Act, he was done. It was golfing and world tours.
Ellison does mention Obama’s “achievements” – namely, legislative achievements that his name just happen to be on – but Obama was very hands off when it came to maintaining Democratic power across the nation. The Republicans gained record seats of power and the Democrats just crumpled to the point of their party losing to Donald Trump. That’s a major blow and enough to destroy a legacy on its own.