Former president expected to return to political spotlight in ‘delicate dance’ to prop up faltering party
By Edmund Kozak; LifeZette:
Former President Barack Obama is currently engaged in a “delicate dance” with a Democratic Party that thinks it needs his help but that is also trying to rebrand itself, The Hill reported on Friday.
According to the report, while Democrats want Obama’s help with rebuilding the party, they apparently do not want him anywhere near the public eye. Reportedly Obama and Democratic aides with spend the next weeks devising his Democratic duties.
“This is a desperate attempt by the Democrats to bring back the only popular progressive in the country,” Eddie Zipperer, an assistant professor of political science at Georgia Military College, told LifeZette. “Obama won two presidential elections while, simultaneously and somewhat paradoxically, his ideology was turning most of the country red.”
The report also makes it clear that the prospect of Obama’s public re-entry into national politics is not being met with universal excitement among Democrats.
“It’s wise for both Clinton and Obama to hang back at this point,” the Hill cites a Democratic strategist as saying. “Otherwise our party will have an even harder time rebounding.”
“The fact that they have to drag Obama out of retirement is very bad news for the party,” said Zipperer. “Obama leaving created a leadership vacuum that no Democrat had the gravitas or mainstream appeal to fill. That’s a big part of why their donor dollars have disappeared.”
And indeed, Zipperer pointed out that Obama’s presence might be far more trouble than it is worth.
“Obviously, Obama has the power to inspire a Democrat-friendly electorate to turn out and vote,” he said, but “unfortunately, his powers don’t seem to extend to elections where his name is not on the ballot.”
While drafting Obama may seem like a good way to secure some easy victories in 2018, it is not a good, forward-looking strategy for defeating the Republicans, Zipperer explained.
“Digging up Obama to be de facto party leader is not a long-term solution to the total leadership failure in the Democratic party,” he said.
Added Zipperer: “It’s like a football team dragging their gray-haired quarterback out of retirement. He may not have the golden arm anymore, but he can still sell a few tickets while you pray for a miracle down the depth chart.”
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