Skip to main content

With Walker busting his move last night, the re-ignited culture wars, and the current budget battle, its now become impossible for the tensions within the Democratic party, and here on DailyKos, to remain muted.

The question is now upon us: what if the President has no interest in being the head of the party?

As early as Jan 2009, as Obama entered office, it was clear that he and Howard Dean were not only not on the same page they were barely on the same planet.

The conspicuous absence of Howard Dean from Thursday’s press conference announcing Tim Kaine’s appointment as Democratic National Committee chairman was no accident, according to Dean loyalists.

Rather, they say, it was a reflection of the lack of respect accorded to the outgoing party chairman by the Obama team.

Despite leading the party in consecutive triumphant election cycles — as well as through off-year races such as when Kaine was elected Virginia governor in 2005 — Dean has become all but invisible since Election Day, passed over for the Cabinet position he coveted and apparently not in line for another administration post.

Indeed, when President-elect Barack Obama introduced Kaine at party headquarters Thursday afternoon, Dean was 7,023 miles and seven time zones away, closer to French Polynesia than to Washington, doing party grunt work in American Samoa.

His allies aren’t happy about it.

The rift between Dean and Obama only grew in the wake the whole DFA v. OFA situation.  The real break, for me, and for any number of progressives, came with the ACA and the death of the public option. Dean pretty much placed it's failure in Obama's hands.  

The debate still rages: did the public option fail because Obama did not/would not fight for it, or because he never really wanted it?

I chalked it up to the fact the Obama is basically a conservative guy, about where Reagan was on the Right/Left spectrum, but that  makes him a Marxist in 2011.  

By June of 2010, just before the midterm battle was to be joined after Labor Day, Matt Bai of the New York Times had nailed what may end up being the key question of Obama's presidency: Does he want to lead the party or not ?

Democrat in Chief?

Published: June 8, 2010

A year and a half after they sat, shivering and awestruck, on a January morning and listened to the sounds of a million cheers careering off the marble walls of the Capitol, the Democrats who work under the dome can feel those same walls closing in fast. Throughout the dismal spring, it seemed as if every visiting delegation that drove up in a coach bus — Main Street merchants, family farmers, Rotarians and Elks — arrived with tales of angst and unrest back home.


It’s not clear that Obama can translate his appeal among disaffected voters into support for a party and its aging Washington establishment. Nor is it clear, as he looks ahead to 2012, how hard he’s going to try.

Meanwhile, Democratic governors are bracing for their own losses. The effect of a drubbing at the state level, while likely to garner less attention than what happens in Washington, could be devastating for Democrats, just as it proved to be 16 years ago.

In 2006 and 2008, Democrats did something that had not been done in American politics since the Great Depression, which is to string together two consecutive “wave” elections — roughly defined as a gain of at least 20 seats in the House of Representatives. They gained a total of 55 House seats and 12 seats in the Senate; the tide came in twice and with unusual strength


That story proved to be a good guide to what would eventually play out.  

This morning, on Salon, I read yet another entry in the large and growing genre of "Please Obama Fight"  literature, this one by Sasha Abramsky urging Mr. President: Use the damn bully pulpit!

I don't want a flame war, but I want to ask a simple question: Can a Post-Partisan President be the head of a political party?

If the answer is "no, that's suicidal", is the party in a deadly Catch-22 where it would be stupid/impossible/suicide to primary him, but also stupid/suicide to not engage in partisan politics ?  

That's what I am afraid of.  


Can a President be Bipartisan AND the head of his party at the same time?

14%7 votes
52%26 votes
22%11 votes
12%6 votes

| 50 votes | Vote | Results

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site