POTUS Barack Obama and his beloved Democratic Party refuse to allow the holidays to slow their inexorable march to the right. The leader of a Democratic party utterly crushed by a GOP now in full control of US government sat for an interview with David Axelrod, his former advisor whose £300K advice led to Labour being utterly crushed by a Tory party now in full control of UK government, in which POTUS took direct aim at Jeremy Corybn and the UK left, and indirectly fired a shot across the bows of those of the US left who refuse to co-sign the endless list of scapegoats offered by the DNC as excuse for Hillary Clinton’s loss to Donald Trump.
Near the end of their mostly flaccid interview, Axelrod decided it was time to bash Jeremy Corbyn’s (leftish) Labour Party and those to the left of the Democratic Party in the US:
AXELROD: Just a couple more things. Are you worried about the Corbynization (ph) of the Democratic Party? Saw the Labor [sic] Party just sort of disintegrated in the face of their defeat and move so far left that it’s, you know, in a very — in a very frail state. And there is an impulse to respond to — to the power of Trump by, you know, being as edgy…
OBAMA: On the left.
AXELROD: … on the left.
OBAMA: I don’t worry about that, partly because I think that the Democratic Party has stayed pretty grounded in fact and reality. Trump emerged out of a decade, maybe two, in which the Republican Party, because it had to say no for tactical reasons, moved further and further and further away from what we would consider to be a — a basic consensus around things like climate change or how the economy works.
And it started filling up with all kinds of conspiracy theorizing that became kind of common wisdom or conventional wisdom within the Republican Party base. That hasn’t happened in the Democratic Party. I think people like the passion that Bernie brought, but Bernie Sanders is a pretty centrist politician relative to…
OBAMA: Relative to Corbyn or relative to some of the Republicans.
My goodness. Keep in mind, Axelrod was a key architect of the collapse of Ed Miliband and Labour, not Corbyn. Labour members elected Corbyn leader of the party because they were tired of the centrist direction of Tony Blair and the Blairites running Labour. The same Tony Blair that Obama in 2009 called “first friend” and someone “who did it first and perhaps did it better than I will do,” and the same Blairites who have laid siege to Corbyn since he was elected leader, despite a second election confirming his mandate. Corbyn hasn’t taken Labour “so far left,” nor will he; what he has done is oppose Obama’s pet projects like the TTIP, as well as military intervention in Syria. Yet Obama describes Corbyn as an extremist every bit as wrong and dangerous as the GOP, echoing Bill Clinton’s “maddest person in the room” smear from earlier in the year. Obama also dismisses Corbyn supporters as “conspiracy theorists,” despite Labour boasting a modern record for membership. The Democrats couldn’t be more removed from such an energized base.
And that, along with helping his “first friend” bring Labour back to the Blairites, is what’s behind this segment of the interview. The Democrats have faced a growing revolt from the left of its party. Sanders’ campaign was the most visible sign of this, and though Sanders eventually swore fealty to Hillary and the DNC, most of that revolt did not. The DNC know this all too well and have done everything in their power to avoid discussing the morass of greed and corruption that is their party. Note how Obama follows his criticism of Corbyn and Labour’s left with an admonition for what remains of the Democratic left:
OBAMA: And — and so — so I don’t worry about that. What I do worry about is that in an era where we are looking for simple solutions that — and want 1000 percent of what we want and when we want it, that we end up starting to shut ourselves off from different points of view, shutting down debate, becoming more dogmatic, becoming more brittle.
And I don’t see that being a successful strategy for us winning over the country. Remember, we won the popular vote. You know, we don’t have very good population distribution from a Democratic perspective, right? So I’ve told the story about how I was in Brooklyn campaigning, I think for De Blasio, and this woman comes up, hugs me, how can we help you, we love you, I said move to Nebraska.
You know, I got a million..
AXELROD: She obviously didn’t.OBAMA: … wasted votes in — in Brooklyn.
Obama is no stranger to scolding anyone not protesting “the right way.” This is nothing but gaslighting to Sanders’ supporters within the Democratic party still agitating for a move to the left, and to those who abandoned the Dems for the Green Party, the Libertarians or whomever else. The message is clear: it’s okay to support the passion of a reasonable “centrist” like Bernie (now that he’s under control), but don’t start demanding we act on every promise we recklessly toss out in hopes of a vote. The DNC have long been masters of co-opting activists and organizers through a strategy of compromise and respectability, and this is more of the same. The idea that compromise and debate will win over white supremacy couldn’t be more ahistorical. The Democrats know this and couldn’t care less as long as they continue to profit from the inertia of endless compromise.
Obama’s “wasted votes in Brooklyn” might be the interview’s most revealing comment. During the election, Obama and the Democrats couldn’t stop telling us how voting was a sacred duty essential to the survival of the Republic or some such. Until the Democrats lost, that is, and then those votes are just “wasted.” Like any true Democrat, Obama warmly embraces people when he needs them, then coldly tosses them aside once he doesn’t. Won’t he be perfect for Silicon Valley?