Last Friday, during an appearance on left-wing talk radio host Thom Hartmann’s show, Vermont’s openly Socialist Senator suggested that it would be a good idea if there was a Democratic primary challenger to President Obama.
I am not surprised Sanders would publicly make such a suggestion. Back in February, I attended a speech Sanders gave here in Boston. Although Sanders strongly supported President Obama in 2008, he wasn’t exactly enthusiatic about him that sunny but cold winter Sunday afternoon. After the event, I had the opportunity to speak with Sanders briefly and I asked him if he would be surprised if Obama faced a primary challenger or from an independent leftist and he told me that such a thing would not come as a surprise to him at all.
At that event, there were several people wearing “Draft Bernie” buttons and a website launched. But Sanders is not interested in running for President and the website has since been shut down. For his part, Barney Frank shot down the idea of a Democratic primary challenger. Yet in doing so he said something rather interesting:
I very much disagree. I think it would be very disruptive. I understand the frustration, but acting on that frustration is not a good political strategy.
That’s not exactly a ringing endorsement of President Obama. Perhaps Frank is feeling some of that frustration himself. What that tells me is that while President Obama won’t face a primary challenger, Democratic Congressmen and Senators aren’t going to stick their necks out for him. They have their own skins to worry about including Congressman Frank who might face another challenge from the fiesty Sean Bielat in 2012.
I realize that internecine battles amongst Democrats, liberals, socialists and self-described progressives might not be of great interest to some conservatives but I think it’s something we should keep in close view. After all, it could prove to be difference in relegating President Obama to a single term.