Democrats have moved to the left in the Obama era. And if the party’s base, President Obama, and Senator Elizabeth Warren have their way, they will move even further to the left in the next two years. Liberals will rejoice, but there’s a downside. The Democratic nominee will have a considerably harder time winning the presidency in 2016.
Our perceptions of current events are so conditioned by the 24/7 news cycle that we are wont to think of political time in tiny increments. For instance, Barack Obama is up in the polls over the last few weeks, so he is “winning,” in some ephemeral sense. Congressional Republicans are struggling to coordinate on issues like immigration and abortion, so they are “losing.”
At an event this morning, Vice President Joe Biden told Democrats that, "To state the obvious, the past six years have been really, really hard for this country."
"And they've been really tough for our party. Just ask [former DCCC chair] Steve [Israel]. They've been really tough for our party. And together we made some really, really tough decisions -- decisions that weren't at all popular, hard to explain," said Biden.
In last week’s State of the Union address, President Barack Obama came across as the ultimate class warrior. His domestic agenda consists of more spending on roads and infrastructure, new entitlement programs for community college and preschool, and tax preferences targeted to low- and middle-income earners. All of this he would pay for with new inheritance taxes on the wealthy, a hike in the capital gains tax, and a special levy on the biggest financial institutions.
Given that nine in ten African-American women voted for Democrats in 2014, it may be no surprise that a focus group of urban, female, African-Americans had mostly contempt for all things “Republican” or “conservative.” But what was shocking is that this group also, unprompted, uniformly opposed both extended unemployment benefits and a minimum wage increase, and volunteered conservative economic and moral arguments about their potentially destructive impact on job creation, costs, and conduct.
President Obama knocked "constant fundraising" in his State of the Union address delivered tonight from Washington:
I’ve served in Congress with many of you. I know many of you well. There are a lot of good people here, on both sides of the aisle. And many of you have told me that this isn’t what you signed up for – arguing past each other on cable shows, the constant fundraising, always looking over your shoulder at how the base will react to every decision.
Imagine if we broke out of these tired old patterns. Imagine if we did something different.
President Obama talked about spending a lot of money tonight -- on preschool care, community college, new infrastructure, and a variety of tax preferences for middle- and lower-income earners. All financed by new taxes, primarily on the wealthy.
Put simply, in the face of the most Republican Congress since the 1920s, President Obama has offered a defiantly liberal agenda. It has precisely zero chance of passage.
Stephanie Cutter, a deputy campaign manager in President Obama's reelection campaign, said this morning on CBS that Vice President Joe Biden "would be a very good candidate" in the 2016 presidential race:
Cutter made the comment in response to a question about who will run on the Democratic side if Hillary Clinton decides to pass this time.
Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, a likely 2016 Republican presidential candidate, will give a major foreign policy address next week in London. According to early excerpts of the address, Jindal will use the speech to bash Hillary Clinton, the likely 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, and to go after radical Islam in wake of last week's Paris terrorist attacks.
President Obama invited Mitch McConnell , soon to become Senate majority leader, to the White House on Dec. 3. At Mr. McConnell’s insistence, they met one-on-one. They discussed trade, tax reform and infrastructure, the three issues on which they believe compromises are possible in 2015.
In mid-December, Jeb Bush announced his intention to explore a presidential bid. If he runs and wins the Republican nomination and then the election, he will be the third President Bush in 25 years. That unprecedented prospect has left many wondering: In a republic like ours, is it proper for one family to fill the executive seat so often?
Last week, Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren threatened to derail the omnibus continuing resolution (“cromnibus”) that funds most of the government through the end of the fiscal year. She objected to the elimination of an obscure rule in the Dodd-Frank financial reform law known as “push-out.” Under Dodd-Frank, federally backed financial institutions must spin their “swap trades” off to uninsured subsidiaries; after cromnibus, they will no longer have to do this.