The Bill and Barack Super Fundraising Show
WASHINGTON – It was never going to be otherwise.
When he took the backyard podium, Obama, 50, noted Clinton’s “remarkable” economic record in his two White House terms and referred frequently to the political powerhouse standing behind him, who stands to be a huge fundraising force in the final months of the presidential campaign. – Obama and Bill Clinton campaign together on economy
The record smashing fundraising is making Dana Milbank “queasy,” and some would contend for good reason.
In a political culture that long ago surrendered to the permanent campaign, Obama has managed to take things to a whole new level. According to statistics compiled for a book to be published this summer, the president has already set a record for total first-term fundraisers — 191 — and that’s only through March 6. Measured in terms of events that benefit his reelection bid, Obama’s total (inflated in part by relaxed fundraising rules) exceeds the combined total of George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter.
That Barack Obama as a candidate in ’08 never once lauded former Pres. Bill Clinton’s economic record, preferring to cite Ronald Reagan instead, was one of the primary insults that caused the deep rift with staunch Hillary supporters. Pres. Obama has learned a lot since, most of it forced on him by circumstances of the job of president that is far more difficult than anyone can imagine from the outside looking in.
For Pres. Obama not to call on the ultimate Democratic ATM machine, William Jefferson Clinton, would be political malpractice, because against Mitt Romney and his Wall Street buddies, with an assist made possible by the Roberts court decision on Citizens United, he’s going to need all he can get in an election that will be a race to the bottom that depends on big cash cows.
The 44th president is enlisting the 42nd president, both as a historical validator of his own leadership and as a PIN to one of the richest A.T.M.’s in American politics. Rather than viewing him as a relic of the past, Mr. Obama is embracing Mr. Clinton as a party wise man who can reassure both the general public and the well-heeled benefactors needed to win re-election. – Hardly a Close Ally, Clinton Teams With Obama to Raise Cash and Votes, by Peter Baker
That Pres. Clinton offers a bank shot to the Hillary wing of the Democratic party is obvious. That many of these voters are still not enamored with Pres. Obama is true, but only part of the story.
In general election presidential years voting practicalities make even the most wayward Democrats come home, which I’ve been noting for over a year now. Pres. Clinton’s presence in the recent OBL ad, along with his fundraising efforts for Pres. Obama, reveal the common interests of party insiders when faced with a situation that could wreak havoc with what the Obama administration has tried to do economically.
“When you’re president, there are very few people to whom you can turn who really ‘get’ what the job demands,” Mr. Axelrod said. “President Clinton has been the source of very good advice, and very meaningful support.”
Privately, Democrats portray the evolving alliance as more utilitarian. “Once Obama’s out of office, I doubt they’ll take family vacations together,” said a former Clinton aide who has also worked for Mr. Obama and asked not to be named to avoid offending either man. “But Clinton thinks it’s critical for the country that he gets re-elected, and will do whatever he can to see that that happens.”
Another Democrat who has worked for both men said: “There’s no love lost. But Bill Clinton is not stupid. He knows if he can give a little of his 60-percent-plus approval rating halo to Obama, and Obama does well, that only helps Clinton. And it helps the missus if she wants to run.”
There’s a reason there is “no love lost,” which I recount in chapters “Blaming Bill” and “Eating Your Own” in my book.
What many anti-Obama Democrats simply will not accept is that when your average Democratic voter meets his or her choices inside the voting booth, looking at Mitt Romney’s willingness to adopt Paul Ryan austerity, as well as the hard right’s war on women, there isn’t a more practical choice than to pull the lever for Pres. Obama, even if it requires holding your nose to do it.
Pres. Clinton’s presence makes this more palatable.
The political disagreements I have with Obama are wide and deep domestically, but particularly on foreign policy, having been against the Libya bombing, as well as questioning his overreach of the Executive branch on a whole hosts of issues. But I’m anything but your average voter, who sees voting for president as a choice between two people, one who represents your basic political philosophy, even when you disagree, and the other guy, who is from another political planet, one that doesn’t believe in women’s individual freedoms, and that’s just for starters.
What Democrats offer women that Republicans don’t also extends to economic issues. The entire Republican party establishment voted against the Lily Ledbetter Act, which equalizes a woman’s options when she’s discriminated against by her employer. Nothing cuts to the heart of the American modern family more than a woman’s inequality at her job. While Mitt Romney says he won’t repeal Ledbetter, this is simply not good enough. Nothing less than a full-throated statement saying his party was wrong on the vote is acceptable. That should be a minimum standard for a Republican nominee who cannot win without women.
However, Mitt Romney is no William Jefferson Clinton, so even when the opportunity presents itself, which is accompanied by a moment to also help himself, there’s unlikely to be a Sister Souljah moment on women for Mitt.
Left out in the cold are The Gays, as Kathy Griffin would say. Neither Obama or Romney have the courage required to make equality a reality for all families. In 2016, you can bet Republicans still won’t be on board with that one, but just maybe if Hillary Clinton runs she will.
Unfortunately, neither Democrats or Republicans offer a way out on the hamster wheel of our insidious flailing that is the “war on drugs.” Both political parties are immune to reality, even when a person is sick or dying of a disease that medical marijuana can make more humane. There remains no politician willing to take on Big Pharma on behalf of medical marijuana and other options outside pharmaceutical dependency, because in U.S. politics, money decides policy.
Taylor Marsh is the author of The Hillary Effect, which is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble, where it was 1 of only 4 books in their NOOK Featured Authors Selection launch. Marsh is a veteran political analyst and commentator. She has written for The Hill, U.S. News & World Report, among others, and has been profiled in the Washington Post, The New Republic, and seen on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal, CNN, MSNBC, Al Jazeera English and Al Jazeera Arabic, as well as on radio across the dial and on satellite, including the BBC. Marsh lives in the Washington, D.C. area. This column is cross posted from her new media blog.