by Ed Lasky
November 5, 2014
The failure of some presidencies can be encapsulated in a phrase. Richard Nixon’s “I am not a crook” was one of them. Barack Obama provided us with another when he threatened a Congressman who was reluctant to vote for Obamacare with the taunt, “Don’t think we’re not keeping score, brother.” And with that phrase Barack Obama laid bare the fundamental problem of his presidency: the idea that loyalty to Barack Obama trumped loyalty to American voters.
Presidents want to enjoy support for their policies and agenda, but Barack Obama has surpassed previous presidents in demanding universal support among members of his own party. Many presidents have lived and worked in the real world where working with others — including those not considered allies — is required to perform well. When presidents have listened to the American people and seen their party “shellacked” in elections, they have “triangulated” — adjusted and moderated their policies. Bill Clinton was compelled to do so when Newt Gingrich led a resurgent Republican Party to widespread victories in 1994. However, Barack Obama refused to change tack after losses in 2010 and he shows no inclination to do so now.
He had made many mistakes but this was probably the most critical one. And among the victims have been a slew of Democrats who have seen their careers wrecked because they showed obedience and allegiance to Barack Obama and have paid the price for doing so. When Obama laid down the line about “keeping score” he made clear to one and all that they were expected to do his bidding in Congress: to fall in line and support his agenda to the hilt, come what may……A better president, a man with more foresight and concern for his country as well as members of his own party who staked their futures on him, would have chosen a different path……
…….Democrats could run but they could not hide. Democrats were cowed into submission; they could not show any degree of independence from their boss. And now many of them have been shown the door by the people they should have obeyed over the years: the American people. They can blame racism; they can blame women-haters but the ones to blame are the one they see in the mirror or on fading and curling campaign posters. Americans know to keep score, too, brother.