The Miami Herald reported on Friday, November 29th that many leading Democrats, including staunch Obama backers from the Congressional Black Caucus, are distancing themselves from the President as they begin their re-election campaigns. Traditionally, the day after Thanksgiving is the launch date for the next year’s mid-term election campaigns. This year, for obvious reasons, Democrats are backtracking on Obamacare and on the broader issue of the population’s growing distrust of the President, particularly after the repeated “red line” promises that the Obamacare website will be fixed and everyone will get to keep their insurance policy and their doctor if they so wish.
Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) was one of the Black Caucus leaders to deliver a public warning to Obama, telling the Miami Herald that “Folks are now, I think in talking to members, more cautious with regard to dealing with the president.” While Cummings claimed he still believed Obama had integrity, he admitted that many Democratic colleagues now have their doubts. “They want to make sure that everything possible is being done to, number one, be transparent, [two], fix this website situation and, three, to restore trust.”
Cummings’ remarks are particularly significant, given that he is the ranking Democrat on the House Government Reform Committee and has been Obama’s biggest defender against all of the attacks mounted by Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Cal.).
Another strong Obama defender, Rep. William Lacy Clay (D-Mo.), has also told the Herald about his growing worries about the rift between Obama and the Congressional Democrats. “I am trying to think if you can call it a relationship at this point,” he said, adding that the administration must “fix it, all of it” after Obama’s public apology for both the website problems and his promise that people could keep their insurance policies. Clay warned that, unless the White House fixes all these problems, “a wide brush will be used to paint us all as incompetent and ineffective.”
The Herald story also named Iowa Democrat Bruce Braley, who is running for a U.S. Senate seat next year, and Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) as other elected Democrats who are publicly breaking with Obama to salvage tight races. Braley voted with 38 other Democrats to support the Republican House bill by Fred Upton (R-Mich.) to fix the insurance cutoffs. And Landrieu has her own version of the insurance fix in the Senate, which Harry Reid has so far refused to bring to a vote.
A source close to the Democratic National Committee and Congressional Democratic leaders reported that the Miami Herald article doesn’t even come close to revealing the magnitude of the break with Obama. He reported that a series of demands have been presented to the President for a complete purge of top White House staff, starting with Peter Rouse, deputy White House chief of staff, and Denis McDonough, his boss. So far, the White House has not even responded to the demands, the source noted. Rouse is rumored to want out on his own. He was a key operative for those Democrats who backed Obama back in 2008 to stop Hillary Clinton from winning the nomination — including Tom Daschle and Dick Gephardt.
The prevailing view among these revolting Democrats, according to the source, is that Obama has failed miserably as the chief executive officer of the country, and the inner circle around him have done nothing to solve the problem. Now they have told the White House that, unless there is a top- down purge, they will chart their own course, independent and separate from Obama, because any association with the President is a kiss of death. The source emphasized that the revolt against Obama is broad-based, with many top Democrats joining the effort.