Ok, it happened. I finally feel betrayed by Obama. Not betrayed in the sense that he did anything against me, but betrayed in that his people pulled a politically boneheaded move that made no sense. I can accept disagreements on policy, but once Obama starts royally screwing the politics, I get worried.
I speak, of course, of the news that they seriously tried to get Sestak out of Arlen Specter's hair. What a mistake. Now, I don't know enough about Sestak to know if he's a better guy for the job than Specter. Presumably, that'd be the case, based upon Specter's record, but I never really looked into him and tend to avoid the polemic "my enemy's enemy is my friend" reasoning too many progressives indulge in (eg, Ned Lamont). But where I really LIKED Sestak was that he forced Specter to actually be a Democrat, and not just in name.
As it was, I suspect that Specter figured he'd have the D vote locked-up because of the label, and could continue to be a moderate-conservative in order to move in on Toomey's territory. But with Sestak in the race, he'd actually have to act like a Democrat to even get the nomination, and since his status as a recent Republican cast serious doubts on that, he'd really have to look like a team player if he wanted to win.
And so whether or not Sestak won, his presence in the race would surely be an improvement for us. And I naturally assumed that the Obama people would fully have realized that and would continue to support Specter publicly, but would do little to actually help him. After all, their fortunes were hardly aligned, so the harder things got for Specter, the better things got for Obama.
Not What I Thought
And now we learn that the Obama people apparently wanted Sestak out of the way and I...I don't know what to say. This just seems dumb, for many reasons. And I'm thinking that maybe, just maybe this was part of some specific deal with Specter, in order to get his support on something, and maybe they even knew that Sestak would turn it down.
But even THAT doesn't make much sense. If they wanted to help Specter, they could still do so while keeping Sestak in. But once Sestak was out of the race, it'd take all the pressure off Specter and he'd most certainly have moved to the right. After all, it was in Specter's best interests to not have to act like a Democrat if he thought he'd already get the Democratic vote. You're supposed to try to steal votes from your opponent; not secure votes you already have.
And so, now, I can't help but think that maybe the Obama people really didn't know what they were doing on this. And if they got this wrong, what else might they be getting wrong? And who knows, maybe there's some big piece of this that I'm not seeing, and it really is hard to know what's going on with people you don't even really know. But still, I had assumed they knew how to best take advantage of the Specter situation, and it turns out, they almost blew it. It's one thing for them to pretend to support Specter publicly, but privately supporting him? In a way they wouldn't even want anyone to know about? I find that troubling.
So you've been put on notice, Obama Administration. Doctor Biobrain will be watching you a little more closely from now on. Not that this will do any good, as I have about as much influence on Obama as a Monday morning quarterback has on the activities of a real quarterback on Sunday morning. But still, this makes me somehow feel better to imagine I have some influence on anything, so that's what I'm going to continue to do.