Biden’s capsized presidency has recently come under an onslaught of negative news so shocking to Americans’ conscience that not even farcical weeklong coverage of an imploded submersible has been able to sink it.
The Biden family has been flagged with credible accusations of public corruption so compelling that even the likes of CNN and the New York Times have been compelled to seriously cover them.
The teetering octogenarian has been encumbered with persistently low approval ratings so dismal that many progressive Democrats doubt whether his administration can legally take out his chief rival Donald Trump before their two-year long campaign of “October Surprises” leads to the ultimate “November Surprise” that the former president is nonetheless re-elected to four more years.
It is amidst the endless struggles of the hapless Biden presidency that a report has emerged detailing how a group of congressional Democrats has found solace in the company of a younger, more charismatic figure they hope to see lead their ticket next year.
The story, coming by way of Politico Magazine, is not as stunning a ‘reveal’ as the infamous Time article published in the wake of the 2020 election openly describing how a shadow cabal of corporatist magnates, union leaders, and political elites conspired to “fortify” the election, but it is damn close.
“Is Barack Obama read to reassert himself?” the headline coyly asks. It is almost laughable in its professed innocence, but I invite the reader to suspend their disbelief at the feigned naïveté and humor the beltway publication’s premise for the sake of amusement and enlightenment.
“Former President Barack Obama has hosted a handful of informal, but lengthy private meetings with groups of next-generation House Democrats this spring, I’m told by multiple attendees,” Jonathan Martin reveals. “The initial session featured the chamber’s new trio of leaders, but he then held subsequent conversations with a range of lawmakers.”
“Included were progressive members, like Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Maxwell Frost (D-Fla.), as well as more moderate lawmakers, such as Mikie Sherrill (D-N.J.) and Haley Stevens (D-Mich.),” Martin joshes, as if Democrats vote in diverse coalitions, instead of as a monolithic bloc.
“The gatherings were Obama’s idea, I’m told, and were designed for the now-61-year-old former president to keep current with his party’s rising stars, more than six years after he left office,” Martin continues.
That’s precious. Barack Obama rubbing elbows with the kids. Maybe the old fellow is just lonely.
“The sessions, which took place over cheese and crackers in Obama’s Washington office, are striking for a number of reasons,” Martin adds, apparently besides the fact that it’s all just so goshdarn folksy and quaint.
“For starters, he rarely took much of an interest in counseling lawmakers when he was president,” he contends. “And while he reliably shows up on the stump each year for a number of Democrats, he’s hardly played the role of party power broker since leaving office. Podcasts, documentaries, his foundation and, yes, golf in Hawaii and on Martha’s Vineyard have taken precedence.”
Wink, wink. It’s only Obama’s former vice president in the Oval Office now. That must be based solely on Joe Biden’s spectacular track record, broad-based appeal, and gift of gab, which garnered him 81 million recorded votes last election.
“Further, there’s the Obama-Biden relationship, which was never the bromance it was made out to be and was soured by Obama effectively tapping Hillary Clinton as his would-be successor,” Martin continues. “The times Obama has appeared with Biden since the former vice-president became president have been marked by Obama overshadowing Biden.”
Recall the sad spectacle of Joe Biden wandering aimlessly around the White House while “former” president basked in the adoration of the press corps and Washington power brokers. It’s like Obama never left!
President Biden eventually threw his hands up in confusion when no one engaged him, not even his own staff, as Obama was fan-mobbed by the likes of Sen. Amy Klobuchar, VP Kamala Harris and other adoring Democrats.
The Politico Magazine piece also trickles out the perception of Democrats that Obama is the more successful campaigner, despite Biden’s somewhat incredible distinction in presidential history of being the nation’s all-time “vote-getter.”
“One of the gatherings, though, included members who also worked in Obama’s administration and when the former president recalled having won Florida twice, one lawmaker interjected that he also won Ohio. (Biden, few in the room needed reminding, didn’t win either state in 2020),” Martin added.
Biden’s cause would have been helped if he had actually campaigned in 2020, beyond the paltry socially distanced get-togethers numbering in the tens of attendees.
The Politico piece continues on its convoluted smoke-screening of the former president’s involvement in contemporary Democratic politics, but in a clumsy and unconvincing fashion.
“For all of Obama’s one-president-at-a-time deference, one attendee complained to me that it was to the party’s detriment that Obama was so careful to avoid antagonizing Biden,” the story claims, as if the famously narcissistic Obama would restrain himself out of utmost worry that he might hurt poor Joe Biden’s feelings.
“Pointing to the former president’s popularity and rhetorical gifts, this person said Obama could help Democrats by being more of a political presence and articulating the stakes, as he did memorably if momentarily in last year’s midterms,” the story adds. “After all, Obama was willing to swallow his pride and, at crucial moments, turn to Bill Clinton for help, including in the 2012 campaign.”
I will spare the reader the idle cocktail circuit chatter to return to the real world and the actual political dynamics at play.
On Thursday, Barack Obama was more than happy to bask in the limelight of CNN in a fluffy sit-down interview. In the course of the interview, Obama discussed Trump’s two indictments, saying it is “less than ideal” that the leading Republican presidential candidate is facing federal charges.
“But the fact that we have a former president who is having to answer to charges brought by prosecutors does uphold the basic notion that nobody’s above the law,” Obama said.
Barack Obama then suggested Trump’s behavior makes him unfit for office.
“Having been president of the United States, you need a president who takes the oath of office seriously,” he said. “You need a president who believes not just in the letter, but in the spirit of democracy.”
Try not to pass out from laughter. The oath of office is about upholding The Constitution of the United States, not defending the “spirit of democracy,” which is essentially mob rule.
“There are checks and balances to the system, you are subjected to those checks and balances,” Obama continued. “You cannot ignore them. You cannot make your own rules. You cannot view the Justice Department as your personal law firm.”
No, this is not the Babylon Bee. Barack Obama actually said this on air and he wasn’t struck by lightning. Praise G-d for small miracles.
The thrust is that the Democratic Party’s brand is being wrecked by a feckless and feeble president whose corruption is now well-known even to CNN watchers and New York Times readers. The party needs a boost of energy, enthusiasm, and excitement to distract the Democratic Party faithful from the malingering and malaise of the Biden years.
Enter Barack Obama. As he is has done at other low points in Biden’s presidency.
In April 2021, former White House press secretary Jen Psaki gave the game away by confirming that Obama and Biden talk regularly, but she wouldn’t say just how often.
“How involved is former President Obama and first lady Obama in the Biden-Harris administration?” Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade asked Psaki.
“They’re not just former colleagues,” Psaki replied, “I guess you’d call them as president and vice president, but they also remain close friends, and they talk regularly about a range of issues from policy issues to bouncing ideas off of each other to their families. So, they are in close touch but we just don’t read out those specific calls. We keep them private.”
Of course, the White House keeps their conversations private. Just like the visitor records at the innumerable trips to Delaware that Joe Biden has taken during his presidency.
The thrust of this Politico Magazine piece is not to illuminate the special relationship between Barack Obama and Joe Biden, but rather to obscure it by stopping people from asking serious questions about the former president’s networking with key Democrats behind-the-scenes.
All the former president wants is to have cheese and crackers with the the nation’s top powerbrokers, you see, and to chew the fat about the good old days when he was actively involved in national politics. And if you believe there’s more to it than that, why, you’re just a ‘far-right conspiracist.’ It’s a tired act and not a very credible one.