‘Everybody needs to chill out about the candidates but gin up about the prospect of rallying behind whoever emerges from this process…’
(Ben Sellers, Liberty Headlines) After staying below radar for much of the year, former President Barack Obama has finally commenced his inevitable handicapping of the 2020 presidential race, notably trashing his former vice president in a conversation with a Democratic rival.
“With one candidate, he pointed out that during his own 2008 campaign, he had an intimate bond with the electorate, especially in Iowa, that he no longer has,” Mediaite reported. “Then he added, ‘And you know who really doesn’t have it? Joe Biden.'”
Many—including Fox News host Tucker Carlson—are now espousing the theory that Obama is seeking to clear the field for a late announcement from his wife, Michelle, despite her declarations to a child-journalist in August that she had a “zero percent” chance of running.
The biggest barrier, however, to an Obama entry is former Vice President Joe Biden.
The baggage-laden front-runner has maintained steady support in the polls, weathering scandals about his uncomfortable contact with women and girls; his racist policy positions; his tendency toward gaffes and lies; and, most recently, his family ties to a corrupt Ukrainian energy company.
As House Democrats press forward with an impeachment investigation into whether President Donald Trump pressured the Ukrainian president to investigate Biden, Republicans have pledged to call Biden and his son Hunter to testify, should it go to trial in the Senate.
Even those on the Left, such as Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., have acknowledged that such a move would be like “rolling a grenade down the aisle” of Congress.
Obama has pointedly refused to endorse Biden, whose personal bond with the former president has been a source of speculation, despite Biden’s dubious claims that they were close and that he asked his former boss not to back him.
In fact, the egocentric ex-executive has demonstrated a telling restraint from making frequent public comments on the Democratic primary race—or politics in general—and has focused instead on building a get-out-the-vote infrastructure through his gerrymandering operations with former Attorney General Eric Holder.
That Obama, in February, folded his former campaign arm, the nonprofit Organizing for Action, into Holder’s National Democratic Redistricting Committee, which includes a political-action committee, was one of several indications that something lay up his sleeve.
Holder, too, has played a convenient foil in Michelle Obama’s efforts to rehab her public image as a moderate, motherly voice of reason instead of a hate-filled radical.
Obama’s longtime confidante, bundler and “wing man” chided Democrats in September for attacking the Obama legacy while engaging in political infighting.
But Holder changed his tone recently with a leak that criticized Biden for standing in the way of his own political aspirations.
Obama, himself, has given similar signals of an overt rejection of Biden amid reports that he had encouraged former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick to enter the race.
Last week, the de-facto party leader told a group of major donors to put aside their “tactical disagreements” with the current candidates in order to support a common effort.
“Everybody needs to chill out about the candidates,” he said, according to ABC News, “but gin up about the prospect of rallying behind whoever emerges from this process.”
Likewise, the Democratic National Committee has demanded that all of the current candidates—which includes two of its all-time biggest mega-donors, Michael Bloomberg and Tom Steyer—promise to throw their support and fundraising to the eventual nominee.
Of course, even without the backing of other candidates and donors, Michelle Obama would enter the race well positioned to assume the lead with few of the financial hurdles that other candidates face.
The Obamas have been working with Netflix on developing several series, some of which conveniently may be timed for release around campaign season.
In addition to her work “educating” school children in red states how to vote, the former First Lady follows on the heels of a successful book tour last year with a new self-help journal based on her bestselling memoir, Becoming.
Michelle Obama’s former chief-of-staff, Tina Tchen, also holds the reins currently at the well-healed Southern Poverty Law Center, which—despite its nonprofit status—is reported to have more than half a billion dollars in assets, much of it in offshore bank accounts.
Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., earlier speculated that the embattled organization may seek to convert into a super-PAC, which would allow it to spend unlimited funds supporting candidates or political causes of its choosing.