Barack Obama certainly isn’t feeling the Bern, unless it’s indigestion. Concerned that presidential candidate Bernie Sanders — perhaps the new Democrat front-runner — won’t be able to trump Trump, the ex-president is considering a public rebuke of the Vermont senator designed to kill his momentum.
Obama isn’t alone in experiencing the Bernie blues. The Democrat establishment clearly doesn’t want Sanders, who’s not even a Democrat but an independent (and avowed socialist), as its party’s nominee; this was evidenced in the recent failed effort to tar Sanders as “sexist.”
As for an Obama bust as Plan B, Fox Business reports that “people who spoke on the condition of anonymity say Obama’s preference had always been to lay low through the primaries aside from making some broad comments as he did in November of last year when, according to a report in The New York Times, the former two-term president, best known for expanding the size of government and his eponymous health care mandate, appeared genuinely worried about some of the increasingly leftist proposals being touted on the campaign trail from Sanders, the US senator from Vermont, and to some extent, Elizabeth Warren, the US senator from Massachusetts.”
“‘The average American doesn’t think we have to completely tear down the system to remake it,’ the Times quoted Obama, who was speaking at a gathering of Democratic donors, [as saying,]” Fox continues.
The sources say that while Obama has warmed up to presidential contender Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), he has grown even more wary of Sanders. “Obama has told people in private that Sanders is both temperamentally and politically unfit to beat Trump in the 2020 general election, these people say,” Fox also informs.
“Among his concerns are Sanders’ strident form of politics and confrontational manners where he was known not to seek compromise during his long years in the US senate,” Fox further relates. “Meanwhile, Obama is said to worry that Sanders’ far-left policies, which include massive tax increases, free college tuition and massive student debt forgiveness, would alienate even traditional Democratic voters.”
Thus is Obama considering an intervention — either via direct statement or indirect suasion — unless Sanders’ momentum stalls. Moreover, former Obama rival Hillary Clinton has joined the Bernie Bash. “He was in Congress for years…. Nobody likes him, nobody wants to work with him, he got nothing done,” she said in a recent Hollywood Reporter interview. “He was a career politician. It’s all baloney and I feel so bad that people got sucked into it.”
Well, Clinton does know a thing or two about baloney and being unlikeable, that’s for sure.
As for Obama, his problems with Sanders likely involve the threat he poses to establishment power and to the goal of defeating President Trump; it’s unlikely a matter of principle. While the above Fox article includes a video in which journalist Charlie Gasparino claimed that Obama is more “moderate” than given credit for, this is short-memory-enabled illusion.
Note that an analysis of 2007 voting records — not words but actions — showed that then-senator Obama owned the most left-wing record in the Senate, placing him ahead of even Sanders. So it seems almost certain Obama is merely practicing realpolitik here, and he’s right about Sanders’ electability issues.
It’s not just the socialist’s radical policies, which include free healthcare for illegals, eliminating ICE, and decriminalizing border crossing (i.e., legalizing Invasion USA). It’s not just the recent undercover videos showing his campaign workers talking about putting political opponents in gulags — when they weren’t talking about just shooting them (Clintons included!). It’s also style, the matter of decrepitude vs. pulchritude.
Sanders is the antithesis of what in 2011 I called “that presidential look.” Like it or not, many people cast ballots on superficial bases, and being unattractive will likely cost you enough votes to turn an otherwise winnable election. Just consider: When was the last time a white-haired man, a bald man, or one sporting glasses won a presidential contest?
Answer: Prior to the television age.
Of course, Sanders is white-haired, bald, and bespectacled.
Moreover, he’s a grumpy grandpa, the un-Reagan, rating just below Richard Nixon and Bob Dole on the charm-meter. Yes, these things do matter.
What Sanders does have going for him is genuine passion, misguided though it is; that America, lamentably, continues to drift left culturally; and media and Big Tech manipulation, the latter of which a study showed can shift 15 million votes in the Democrats’ favor.
But Obama apparently doesn’t want to roll the dice on someone violating the Democrats’ closet-socialism standard. Yet he must tread softly whatever he does. Overtly striking the senator would alienate his base, whose passion was epitomized by the Sanders field organizer who vowed that cities would “burn” if his man was denied the nomination.
So what’s a closet socialist to do? It’s a delicate situation, and Democrats may be feeling a Bern, or a burn, no matter the course they choose.
Photo: stockstudioX / iStock / Getty Images Plus
Selwyn Duke (@SelwynDuke) has written for The New American for more than a decade. He has also written for The Hill, Observer, The American Conservative, WorldNetDaily, American Thinker, and many other print and online publications. In addition, he has contributed to college textbooks published by Gale-Cengage Learning, has appeared on television, and is a frequent guest on radio.