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Thread: Even Barack Obama's deputy campaign manager has lost patience with him

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Lightbulb Even Barack Obama's deputy campaign manager has lost patience with him


    One of President Barack Obama’s former top campaign advisers is “losing patience” with the White House, he told POLITICO Tuesday morning, as frustrations among the president’s liberal allies crest over issues from health care legislation to gay rights.

    “I am one of the millions of frustrated Americans who want to see Washington do more than it's doing right now,” said Steve Hildebrand, the deputy campaign manager who oversaw the Obama campaign’s field organization and was an architect of his early, crucial victories over Sen. Hillary Clinton in Iowa and South Carolina.

    Obama, he said, “needs to be more bold in his leadership.”

    “I’m not going to just sit by the curb and let these folks get away with a lack of performance for the American people,” he said, speaking of Washington’s Democratic leadership as a whole. “I want change just as much as a majority of Americans do, and I’m one of the many Americans who are losing patience.”

    Hildebrand is by far the most senior member of Obama’s political team to express public doubts about the White House, though he had already begun to part ways with Obama’s other top aides as the 2008 presidential campaign wore on.

    Hildebrand was a key player in the primary campaign but, other aides say, grew increasingly alienated from the organization as Obama – as he saw it – chose to compromise on some civil rights issues. Other top campaign officials grew frustrated with what they saw as Hildebrand’s at times negative attitude and his candid comments to the press, rare in the intensely disciplined campaign.

    Still, he remains close to some top Obama aides, and his blast from the left is a mark of the depth of dissent even within elements of the organization that elected the first black president. His public comments are “nothing I haven't directly said to folks in the White House,” Hildebrand told POLITICO in an interview from his native South Dakota, where he came to prominence running former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle’s political operation.

    Hildebrand broke his long post-campaign silence in a speech to the Queer San Diego Democratic Club on August 22, which was reported in the gay press but passed without national notice. Hildebrand, who is gay, confirmed the comments reported in Zenger’s Newsmagazine, though he said the article’s assertion that he’d made a “slashing attack” on Obama was “over the top.”

    “The problem is, Obama isn’t listening enough,” Hildebrand said, according to the report. “I love him, I love Michelle, I want him to succeed, but all of us need to put pressure on him and Congress to do the right things. The American people put confidence in the Democrats because they thought we could get things done, and if we fail, they’re not going to give it back.”

    “I gave up a lot to elect Democrats, and I expect them to give it up for me. I’m going to speak loudly. The Republicans don’t have power unless the moderates and the Blue Dogs give it to them — which is what they’re doing now,” he said in the speech.



    Hildebrand also said, according to the Zenger’s report, that that 2009 is shaping up to be “1993 all over again.” He told POLITICO he blames moderate Democrats in the House and Senate for the party’s weakness.

    “There's basically three different parties, and one of those parties tends to be the barrier to getting anything done — and that's the Blue Dogs in the House and the moderates in the Senate,” he said in the interview. “Change is not going to come by people in the Beltway deciding we should have change. It’s going to come because they’re feeling pressure from all over the country.”

    “I know where Barack Obama is on these issues and I don't question his sincerity or his honesty towards trying to solve them,” he said. “I do question whether or not the Congress as it is constituted right now is going to have the capacity to ever deliver on some of the most critical issues facing our country right now.”

    Hildebrand was a singular figure as Obama’s campaign bus rolled through the hills of Iowa, a goateed, soft-spoken, and sometimes mischievous gay man who lived in sleepy Sioux Falls, right across the state line. Along with running the field organization alongside his former business partner, State Director Paul Tewes, Hildebrand made Obama’s case in his black leather jacket and casual clothes
    to key local Iowa leaders, one by one.

    He said in the San Diego speech that gay rights was among the issues that had spurred his disappointment, mourning that after his 22 years of working for Democratic candidates, “we haven’t come very far,” according to the report.

    “The government still doesn’t treat Gay people equally. Should I continue doing what I’m doing, or should I be a strong voice from the outside?” he said.

    Hildebrand said in San Diego that he had demanded that his own congresswoman, South Dakota Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, return his contribution after she voted for a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, and that he would vote for a Republican against her next year.

    Hildebrand, who worked for a stretch for Rep. Kendrick Meek’s bid for a Florida Senate Seat, is no longer working on that campaign, and said he’d returned home to focus on issue campaigns, rather than candidates.

    Hildebrand told POLITICO, however, that Obama may be getting back onto the right track.

    “He needs to -- much like he did yesterday in that speech [to a union audience in Cincinnati], much like he'll do, I assume, [in an address to Congress] on Wednesday -- rally the American people to force change on Washington,” Hildebrand said. “Change is not going to come by people in the Beltway deciding we should have change -- it's going to come because they're feeling pressure from all over the country.”

    Read more: Adviser losing patience with Obama - Ben Smith - POLITICO.com
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    Elite Member Cali's Avatar
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    Its not just Hildebrand, its also his former staffers:

    400 Former Obama Staffers: Don't Demobilize the Troops Before the Battle With the Insurance Industry

    The first day of President Obama's administration, he made a promise to his former campaign staff at a party honoring their work:

    "I promise you if everybody in this hall is willing to keep doing what you guys did over the last two years, then I am optimistic about America. I may make some mistakes, but you'll set me right," he said.

    Over 400 former staffers have answered the call of the president to "set him right" demanding a strong public option.

    In the past few days, these staffers, along with 24,000 volunteers and 39,000 donors from across the country, have added their names to the petition at YesWeStillCan.org. I've even talked with several current White House staffers disappointed in the president who said they would love to sign but feared losing their jobs. It has become clear in my dozens of conversations with former Obama staffers and volunteers that the President's supporters have lost the desire to fight for the president if he drops the public option. They are beginning to lose hope.

    Our message to the president is clear: Don't demobilize your troops before the big battle with the insurance industry. You need us in order to beat their army of lobbyists.

    I recently spoke with a former Obama staffer, currently working for Organizing for America, who said she is likely to quit, followed by her volunteers, should the President drop the public option.

    Another former Obama staffer, Allison Hirsch, emailed me to say: "I'm volunteering now with Organizing for America, in Philadelphia, knocking myself out yet again, but I don't think I'll be able to do it again if the President doesn't fight for a strong public option."
    Mike Elk: 400 Former Obama Staffers: Don't Demobilize the Troops Before the Battle With the Insurance Industry

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    Elite Member MohandasKGanja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grimmlok View Post
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    Elite Member witchcurlgirl's Avatar
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    Our message to the president is clear: Don't demobilize your troops before the big battle with the insurance industry. You need us in order to beat their army of lobbyists.
    Mr. Elk- there is not going to be a big battle with the insurance industry. You've already been sold out. The story is out there and has been for some time. There will be no single payer or public option. The victory will go to the insurance companies, not the citizens.
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    Elite Member MohandasKGanja's Avatar
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    Sold out by the blue dog Democrats. Without them dragging their heels, Obama could have rolled right over the Republicans and not had to cut a deal.

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Wtf ever, Obama handed the reins of healthcare to 3 GOP tards and 3 blue dogs. He knew exactly wtf he was doing.
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    Elite Member MohandasKGanja's Avatar
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    He didn't have the votes.

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    He's still not going to get any rethug to sign on without gutting it.. he's gutted about 90% of it.

    If the progressives draw a line in the sand, he won't have fucking ANYTHING, and i hope that happens. I hope it goes down in flames for the piece of shit it is.
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    Elite Member MohandasKGanja's Avatar
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    I'm pretty sure that's what's going to happen. I guess that the next thing will be a total rout of the Democrats in the next election, gridlock, and Obama becomes a one-term lame duck.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MohandasKGanja View Post
    Sold out by the blue dog Democrats. Without them dragging their heels, Obama could have rolled right over the Republicans and not had to cut a deal.
    You know what pisses me off the most? He should've just left it alone if he doesn't have the stones to go all the way. The last 6 months have just been just like swatting at bees, it only makes them angrier. The insurance companies are going to retaliate on the American public by raising premiums, again, only more this time, to teach us a lesson and keep us in our place.

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    Elite Member MohandasKGanja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hotncmom View Post
    You know what pisses me off the most? He should've just left it alone if he doesn't have the stones to go all the way. The last 6 months have just been just like swatting at bees, it only makes them angrier. The insurance companies are going to retaliate on the American public by raising premiums, again, only more this time, to teach us a lesson and keep us in our place.
    I haven't been following this all the way, but who were the principal authors of the 1,100-page bill? The CBO basically drubbed it, saying that it wouldn't save any money and instead would add to the national debt in its first 10 years. At that point, fiscally conservative democrats (blue-dog democrats) backed away from it.

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MohandasKGanja View Post
    I'm pretty sure that's what's going to happen. I guess that the next thing will be a total rout of the Democrats in the next election, gridlock, and Obama becomes a one-term lame duck.
    Yep, and it'll be his own stupid ass fault for not providing any, you know, leadership.
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    Elite Member MohandasKGanja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grimmlok View Post
    Yep, and it'll be his own stupid ass fault for not providing any, you know, leadership.
    What kind of leadership? What should have been done differently from what he has done?

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    ... seriously?

    Well for one, how about having an actual position on what the bill should have in it, what position you'll take if it DOESN'T have what you want (veto or no).. you know.. a commitment to the structure of the bill as a message that you pound home to the populace so they know where the fuck you stand on anything.

    Also, slapping down the town hall nutjobs would have been good too, instead of legitimizing their stupidity and validating it.. oh right, and calling the 70%+ of the population that wants a robust public option "fringe left of the left" crazies, that went down real well..

    shall I go on? The guy ceded control of the whole fucking thing to idiots and sellouts, the very people working on it then came out and said they were against a public option, he's dropped 20 points in the last MONTH due to nobody knowing wtf position he has on any of this and major media publications are basically calling him a wuss loser and the GOP is resurgent and smells blood.

    I mean.. hello?
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    Elite Member MohandasKGanja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grimmlok View Post
    ... seriously?

    Well for one, how about having an actual position on what the bill should have in it, what position you'll take if it DOESN'T have what you want (veto or no).. you know.. a commitment to the structure of the bill as a message that you pound home to the populace so they know where the fuck you stand on anything.

    Also, slapping down the town hall nutjobs would have been good too, instead of legitimizing their stupidity and validating it.. oh right, and calling the 70%+ of the population that wants a robust public option "fringe left of the left" crazies, that went down real well..

    shall I go on? The guy ceded control of the whole fucking thing to idiots and sellouts, the very people working on it then came out and said they were against a public option, he's dropped 20 points in the last MONTH due to nobody knowing wtf position he has on any of this and major media publications are basically calling him a wuss loser and the GOP is resurgent and smells blood.

    I mean.. hello?
    From what I can find, the bill had a public option. And he stood behind it. But then, when the CBO critized the financial underpinnings of it, and conservative democrats said they wouldn't stand behind it, it seems difficult to see how he could have used leadership to ram it through.

    They weren't going to put their names next to a bill that would provide immediate and massive short-term increases to the deficit before the 2010 elections. Which is when they backed off. I guess the question is if he didn't have enough Republicans (two to four, I think) to cover the 12 or so Democrats he lost, then he didn't have the 60 votes he needed.

    At that point, he has to either a) put it all on the line with the bully pulpit and see if he can push it through or b) cut a deal. And I have to admit, without a public option, I don't know what you have that substantially differs from the status quo.

    From the opinion polls I saw, the amount of Americans desiring a public option varied widely. Rasmussen and WSJ polls showed a much smaller number. Closer to 50%.

    So, I think that Obama thought even if he kicked and screamed, he would lose, so he is hedging his bets for some kind of political viability under the guise of looking like he got something and is, therefore, willing to settle for a lesser bill. But to be honest, I don't think he could have gotten the original bill with the public option.

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