The New York Times has yet another story about disgruntled Democrats and their frustration with President Obama. But a quote from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) displays the twisted nature of this kind of “Obama’s in trouble with his base” story.
“If you read the papers, you almost think the Republicans are in control,” said Senator Bernard Sanders of Vermont, an independent who caucuses with Democrats and vigorously opposed Mr. Summers until he withdrew from consideration. “They’re constantly on the offensive. Democrats are on the defensive.”
Mr. Summers is a reference to Larry Summers, the man everyone believed Obama wanted to be the next chairman of the Federal Reserve. That Summers dropped out of consideration is a victory for the liberal wing of the Democratic Party. So, how exactly are Democrats on the defensive in this regard?
There’s something else to keep in mind. As Obama holds fast to his commitment to not blink in a showdown with Republicans over the debt ceiling, he is going to need congressional Democrats to hold the line with him. Summers’s decision to walk away makes this infinitely easier. That there’s a more popular and equally qualified alternative in Janet Yellen surely makes things easier.
Are there problems between Obama and Democrats on the Hill? Yes. For many of them, his “style” leaves a lot to be desired. I just wished folks focused on what they have actually achieved than on how they achieved it. Summers’s withdrawal is a perfect example of this.
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