If former President Barack Obama thought that he was going to sit out the 2020 presidential election cycle, enjoying his new role as a Netflix content producer, he seems to have thought again. While he has offered sage advice from many of the Democratic candidates who have asked for it, he has not spoken up for or against anyone, except his former Vice President Joe Biden. Obama has let it be known that he had advised Biden not to run and has said that he did not think that Biden has what it takes to prevail against President Donald Trump.
Bernie Sanders is one candidate that Obama seems to be particularly concerned about.
“There is one potential exception: Back when Sanders seemed like more of a threat than he does now, Obama said privately that if Bernie were running away with the nomination, Obama would speak up to stop him.”
Also, Obama does not seem to be all that enthused with Elizabeth Warren, who like Sanders is a far-left socialist. “Back in early 2015, when Warren was considering running for president and started to excite progressives, Obama said privately that if Democrats rallied around her as their nominee it would be a repudiation of him—a clear sign that his economic decisions after the Great Recession had been seen as inadequate.”
Obama has already been quoted as saying that certain people in the Democratic field of presidential candidates need to out a sock on some of the revolutionary rhetoric. He is enough of a canny politician to know that Americans prefer gradual change and not the abrupt transformation of American society. In the context of proposals such as Medicare for All, Obamacare, public policy and political disaster though it was, seems moderate in comparison.
CNN is reporting that many Democrats have concluded that Obama is out of touch and that the current crop of Democratic hopefuls, including Sanders and Warren, are not #TooFarLeft. Strategist Peter Daou is leading the charge on Twitter against any calls for moderation on the Democratic side.
“Indeed, considering the state of the country, its festering political, economic and social problems and the seeming inability of the government to address them, Daou and others who have embraced the hashtag make a good point. America is not well, and ignoring the symptoms of what ails the nation — not pushing too far for change — is what gave us Donald Trump.”
Of course, many Trump supporters might counter that the excesses of the political class, both Democrat and Republican, are what caused them to vote for the current president in 2016 and are likely to cause them to do it again in 2020. Trump is a repudiation of Obama and the 2016 candidate, Hillary Clinton. Someone even farther to the left is not likely to change things.
Obama might point at what is happening to Elizabeth Warren as proof that his call for caution has some validity. Fox News reports:
“Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren is sinking like a rock in the latest national Democratic presidential primary polls — a development that comes amid sustained criticism over the details of her “Medicare-for-all” plan.
“A Quinnipiac University poll released Tuesday shows the populist liberal senator’s numbers slashed in half from 28 percent to 14 percent from the month before. After leading the pack in Quinnipiac’s October poll – which was seen as a sign of her surge in the race – Warren’s 14-point drop has her now in third place behind former Vice President Joe Biden and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg.”
Besides voters turning against grandiose proposals like Medicare for All and the Green New Deal, as Obama is warning about, but also Warren’s rampant dishonesty about her biography and her persona as a lecturing school marm have contributed to Warren’s drop in the polls, according to pundits.
Obama has not unburdened his mind about which candidate he would prefer to win if any. Rumors about Michelle Obama jumping in at the last moment can be discounted. She is extremely popular but she has expressed no desire to get into elected politics.
Stephen Green at Instapundit noted one delicious irony about the Democratic Party’s lurch to the far left and Obama’s disquiet about it. “Obama did more than any other person to embolden and enable his party’s most radical wing, and now he’s decided he doesn’t like the monster he’s created.”