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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Shocker Alert: The President is Engaging in Politics !

Having caught the tail end this morning of some inside-the-beltway pundit snarkage about President Obama doing some (gasp) campaign fund-raising for his own party, I was delighted to stumble upon Alec MacGillis’s post, “The Amusing Alarm Over Obama’s 2014 Fixation” in The New Republic. MacGillis bares the silly hypocrisy of it all in this excerpt:

…Underlying the tut-tutting about Obama’s fundraising is a broader, longstanding confusion in the Washington establishment over what is to be expected of Obama. We scorn him for seeking to hold himself above the fray and then lash him with high dudgeon as soon he deigns to descend into the muck. Never mind that he is following in the footsteps of his two-term predecessors–as the Post noted, “Ronald Reagan participated in 20 fundraisers for Republicans in 1985, and George W. Bush did 14 in 2005…. Bill Clinton, committed to helping the Democratic Party eliminate debt after the 1996 campaign, appeared at a whopping 77 fundraisers in 1997.”

Citing “feinting spells on the right” in response to the “news” that the president is now going to raise some dough for 2014 Democratic candidates, MacGillis continues:

…Can you imagine? A president who passed a lot of stuff when his party held both houses of Congress and has been all but totally stymied since losing the House has decided that it would be in his interest to…win back the House. Next thing you know, he’s going to try to help a Democrat get elected president in 2016 to make sure achievements like the Affordable Care Act are preserved.

MacGillis faults the naivete of those purist souls who believe that A President can use the bully pulpit alone to stop well-funded opponents and quotes David Jones, a former fundraiser for Clinton and Al Gore: “The opponents of his agenda are spending tens of millions of dollars to derail his agenda and he can’t unilaterally disarm. In today’s world it takes resources to get your message out to the public and in order to raise resources you have to have fundraisers and send out emails and make phone calls.”
I would just add the obvious fact that the president is the leader of his party and, as such, is supposed to be its top fund-raiser. I would be joining the outraged reaction if he didn’t help raise funds for the 2014 campaign. In fact, he should be doing more fund-raising if he wants to accomplish anything in 2015-16.
The purist whiners need to get real. No president in U.S. history has had to deal with a more obstructionist or more lavishly-funded opposition, nor one more wholly dedicated to reversing the hard-won gains of the Democratic party over generations. We would all like more bipartisan kumbaya. But the only thing this Republican party understands is defeat and it is President Obama’s duty to do all that he can to open another big can of ass-whupping for them in 2014.

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