The Corner

The Weakness of the White House

A couple weeks ago, Ramesh commented to me that the most remarkable thing about the Sestak controversy was how it highlighted the shocking political weakness of the Obama White House. Obama couldn’t get some low-level politicians out of primary contest, not with job offers and not with threats (I don’t know that they made threats, but logic dictates that either they were unwilling to make threats or the threats they made didn’t work). Anyway, I was reminded of this conversation when I read this bit from First Read today:

 What Romanoff Really Reveals About the White House: There’s one undeniable fact on this slightly over hyped storyline: This White House is not good at using its political muscle. In fact, they stink. Let’s look at their track record, three sitting Democratic senators ended up with very serious primary challenges. Let’s not forget the David Paterson near-debacle or the Illinois craziness (which comes roaring back, potentially, thanks to the Blago trial) or the failure to recruit better candidates (after trying) in Illinois, North Carolina and Florida. And we haven’t even gotten to the two senate retirements of North Dakota or Indiana where they either didn’t make an effort or did and failed.  And then there’s the fact that neither Sestak nor Romanoff seem to fear the wrath of the White House, meaning going public (as they did, perhaps for their own politics) has been rather easy.  For those believing there’s a scandal here re: Sestak and Romanoff are blinded by their own partisan rage. But what these stories are bringing to light is the fact that, at best, the White House political operation is a clumsy bunch.

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