The Only Politician Obama May Personally Get Elected Isn't Even A Dem. How Obama's Choice Is Screwing Rhode Island Democrats.
by changeagain2012, Sun Oct 31, 2010 at 12:31:08 PM EDT
When does the head of the Democratic Party refuse to endorse the Democratic nominee in the MOST Democratic state in the union.
In the age of Obama it seems.
Obama's Press secretary said that Obama was not endorsing the Democratic nominee for governor of Rhode island because Obama and former Republican Senator Chaffee, who now has taken the lead in the polls since Obama's visit to R.I., were "friends."
Let us remember that in 2006, Caprio, the endorsed candidate of the Democratic Party, was elected General Treasurer of Rhode Island, receiving 73% of the vote. He won by a larger margin than any candidate for a contested statewide office in Rhode Island that year.
Very simply, in 2010, Frank Caprio IS the Democratic Party's choice to be the Ocean state's next Governor.
ALL of the coverage about how Obama very publicly chose not to endorse Democrat Frank Caprio, our candidate for Governor and the currently RI's Democratic Treasurer, in Rhode island has been about the "shove it" comment. I have only seen two people in the ENTIRE media mix (thank you google) even mention how unprecedented it is for the titular head of a political party to help elect someone NOT in his own Party. (Thats taught on day one of Party politics 101 for you people new to politics)
It is unforgivable to every Democrat who cares about his country and his Party that the head of our Party made a big public thumbing of his nose at our Democratic nominee for Governor of Rhode Island.
Making such a public show has very possibly killed our chances of winning there. That was to be expected and sadly, it was intended to do just that.
Proof of this is David Axelrod press statements that added fuel to the fire, further damaging Democratic chances to win.
White House senior advisor David Axelrod said Demcratic gubernatorial candidate Caprio sought the same presidential endorsement he told Barack Obama to "shove."
The Caprio camp was blindsided to see the front page of Monday’s Providence Journal carrying a banner headline about the White House telling reporters Obama would not endorse the Democratic nominee out of respect for Chafee.
“The issue for us was not around his decision not to endorse – the issue for us is more the way the White House handled the situation,” Cario spokesman said.
By speaking to the press without contacting the Caprio campaign first, the White House “basically dropped on us” a negative story amid a high-profile Obama visit in the midst of a tight three-way race for governor.
When Obama came to R.I. he actually held the DCCC fundraiser (which was the purported reason for the trip) at the home of a major supporter of former Republican Senator Lincoln Chafee's and pointedly said he wasn't endorsing the Democratic nominee.
Not good form coming to the state and then embarrasing and then Kicking your Party's own Candidate Under the Bus. Is that any way to build Party loyalty in a election where so many good Democrats are threatened with losing their seats? I think not and I think many will remember this when Obama in the future asks endangered Dems for support or a favor.
What gives Obama the right to undercut and destroy the electoral chances of his own Party.
As President Obama IS the head of the Democratic Party, not the Barack Obama Party.
The message he sent:
"It doesn't matter if you vote for the Democrat in the race. I don't care."
I would say that Caprio's response validate's Obama's decision completely.
What Obama did in Rhode Island was shocking, outrageous and unprecedented. Ive never heard of anything like this happening before, its troubling and it leaves a lot of Rhode Island democrats out in the cold in a very terrible situation. This is a close three way race and President Obama's act can easily swing the liberal vote up there by this and cause the Democrats to lose the Governor's mansion.
The Executive Director of The Democratic Governors Association agrees:
"This is disappointing. Frank Caprio has spent his career fighting for the values of the Democratic Party, and I think he deserves the full support of our party and its leaders. While this might not be what the White House intended, the president’s refusal to endorse a fellow Democrat in the worst environment since 1994 sends a bad message to everyone who’s working to get Democrats elected this year."
Even Maureen Dowd in today's New York Times sees that Obama has damaged the choice and chances of his own Party.
"Hey, dude, you’re a politician. Act like one."
"As the head of the Democratic Party, the president should have supported the Democratic candidate for governor in Rhode Island, the one the Democratic Governors Association had already lavished more than $1 million in TV ads on. If Obama was going to refuse to endorse Frank Caprio out of respect for Lincoln Chafee, the former Republican who endorsed him for president and is now running as an independent, the president should have at least stayed out of Providence."
Actually the DGA has spent $1.5 million trying to elect a Democrat Governor for Rhode Island and Obama comes in and takes a knife to these efforts.
Paul Begala who once was the political director in a Democratic White House understands what Obama did here but can not in any way understand why he did.
From CNN's 360 with Anderson Cooper
COOPER: So the Senator Chafee he is referring is Lincoln Chafee, independent candidate for governor. Back in 2008, Chafee who is a former Republican endorsed then candidate, Barack Obama. So the White House says out of respect for that relationship the president is withholding an endorsement in the race.
Let's bring back in Paul Begala. Paul, are you surprised that a sitting Democratic president would opt not to endorse a viable Democratic nominee in a heavily Democratic state like Rhode Island?
BEGALA: I wish I had my thesaurus -- surprise doesn't begin to explain it. It's unimaginable to me. The notion that the leader of the party is being disloyal to his party is I think its own precedent. I can't think of a time -- and he went to the state today. That's the thing too. You go to Rhode Island -- it's the most Democratic state in the union.
The Democratic Governor's Association has spent $1.5 million trying to elect Mr. Caprio there. And the president has just completely undercut them. Keep in mind, in a three-way race with Linc Chafee, who is a moderate to liberal former Republican, the key vote here unlike anywhere else, the swing vote here, is the liberal vote.
So liberals are the most prized voters in this three-way race in this very liberal state. And so Barack Obama, still beloved by liberals, he might have cost the Democrats this seat. He might have cost the Democrats the governorship in Rhode Island. And he's -- I think is still a Democrat, Obama -- Mr. Obama is -- it's unbelievable.
COOPER: It certainly got a lot of attention.
BEGALA: It did. It's not the language I would recommend. But he is a -- a -- by all accounts from Democrats, perfectly qualified. This is not, say this guy Alvin Green. Ok, the Democratic nominee for Senate in South Carolina, every Democrat has disavowed him.
Well, they have. He's -- he's not a serious or -- or qualified person to be in the United States Senate and I understand if President Obama doesn't want to support him. I agree with that. But this -- this -- Mr. Caprio, for Democrats, perfectly attractive candidate --
BEGALA: -- it's very odd to me.
Damn right it's odd.
Many angry Obama apologists have gone to the blogs to attack Caprio and claim that hey - Chaffee is the more liberal candidate in the race.
Well, on taxation he's sure not. During these hard times Chaffee calls for an increase in the state sales tax which is NOT in any way progressive policy.
And Chaffe surely is not a real progressive on a key issue that matters very much to environmentalists like me.
Any hopes I ever had for a truly progressive environmental Obama administration ended when he announced that the Administration was overturning the 40 year ban on new offshore drilling and opening both the east and west coasts to bidding for new leases to the big oil companies.
Color me unsurprised that Obama is now backing a candidate in R.I. that opposes the thoughtful alternative to offshore drilling - which is offshore wind power.
Obama indeed blew it big in Rhode Island by not endorsing the Democrat Caprio who is the only candidate squarely supporting the Deepwater Wind project planned for the Ocean State. The offshore wind proposal for 8 turbines to test new installation technology is an enormously important project for Rhode Island as well as for offshore wind power development in the US. Obama's failure has broader implications.
Former Republican Senator Chafee has waffled badly in failing to support Deepwater Wind after the legislature forced the PUC (Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission) to reconsider its original rejection by making economic development AND environmental protection factors to be considered in reconsidering the proposal. Previously the PUC based on price alone had no choice but reject this project.
Chafee instead of leading has followed uncritically the Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) and Save The Bay (STB) two groups that make you scratch your head and wonder whether they are on the payroll of the brothers Koch or BP.
Both of these organizations went to the mat trying to stop it. While initially CLF and STB supported it now that the PUC through negotiation extracted a better deal for Rhode Island they are bad-mouthing it is as “sweetheart deal”.
The Deepwater Wind proposed 8 turbines will enable Deepwater Wind to test new installation technology that will make it possible to install hundreds of offshore wind turbines along the eastern seaboard. The economic development stakes for RI are huge. How can a so called progressive like Chaffee oppose the potential for a new industrial revolution based on clean energy that the new technology will make possible?
An immediate impact of Deepwater Wind will be the installation of a cable that will enable the wind electricity to meet 100% of Block Island’s needs and take excess electricity to the mainland. During the winter when the Block Island population shrinks to few hundred most of the offshore wind electricity will go to the mainland. The cable will also provide back up electricity for Block Island for the few hours per year that there is no wind off Block Island. This cable will totally eliminate the need for the small and inefficient diesel power plant that currently burns 1,000,000 gallons of oil per year on Block Island. The question is can a so called progressive like chaffee oppose a project that will eliminate the need for transporting and burning 1,000,000 gallons of oil per year on a little island that is a nature preserve?
How can Obama fail to support Caprio when Chafee is experiencing a leadership meltdown as indicated by his wrongheaded opposition to this most important environmental and economic development project that by-partisan leadership has developed in Rhode Island? Chafee's explanation? The Conservation Law Foundation and the Save The Bay are opposing it.
Hmm we need better leadership than that in Rhode Island and it seems that Obama has blown any chance of that.
Thanks a lot Dude.
Bill Clinton knows better. Back in July he endorsed the Democratic nominee.
Bill Clinton campaigns for Caprio
The Associated Press
Published: July 29, 2010
Former President Bill Clinton is urging Rhode Islanders to vote for Democrat Frank Caprio for governor.
Clinton told supporters at the Rhode Island Convention Center on Thursday that Caprio had old-fashioned family values and understands what it takes to get the state out of its financial crisis.
Rhode Island has one of the nation's highest unemployment rates, at 12 percent.
Clinton said he loves coming to Rhode Island because it's among the state where he always gets the most support. His wife, Hillary Clinton, easily beat President Barack Obama in the state's Democratic primary in March 2008.
Clinton said governors are critical to states' success since they're the ones responsible for implementing federal social services programs.
Remember that RI went for Clinton, not Obama, in the primary, and there are a lot of Clintonites among the Dems. So there is still hope that Rhode island can have a Democratic governor in a year that Republicans are set to sweep up a score of Governors across the nation.
President Clinton is campaigning for Caprio today in Rhode island. The Big Dog stands by our party's choice.
Clinton knows how important it is for Democrats to be elected as state governors. Maybe if Obama had a bit more experience politically he would understood this too. (But if that were true - maybe we wouldnt be about to lose the House and end up with maybe less than 20 democratic governors out of 50 come Wednesday morn.
Obama's withheld endorsement - and the after effects of it - is most likely going to give us another Republican governor, just in time to redistrict Rhode Island for the next decade. (RI possibly may pick up one more House seat)
I expect that Obama's personal friendship with Chaffee is more important to him than Democratic victory, next week and through 2020. So much for "the old kind of politics". Instead we get the oldest.
It seems obvious that Barrack Obama is no "Yellow Dog Democrat".
Well, you know what? 2010 campaign polling shows that neither are 33% of those Democrats who voted for him in 2008 and are now voting for the GOP.
After this kind of self indulgent betrayal - who could blame them??
Surely not the titular head of the Democratic party or any of his enabler apologists defending him and this historic act of Party disloyalty.
During the fall of 2008, Clintonites like me were told over and over and over that primaries had consequences and that if i was a REAL Democrat I had no choice to back the party on election day.
That argument was valid and even though I felt even then Obama was not the best choice we had - my vote for him helped put him in the White House.
Why doesn't Caprio now deserve the same proof of Party loyalty that Obama supporters demanded back then?
Is Obama the leader of the Democratic Party or now the PARTY itself?
Sounds pretty Royalist to me.
To update Louis XIV for these times: "Je suis le Parti Démocrate. Le Parti me est."