WASHINGTON – The criticisms are stinging rebukes, the sort of partisan jabs and vitriol typically heard before a crucial election.
The following quotes sound like what one would expect from Republicans, especially with control of the Senate hanging in the balance Nov. 4.
Except, these broadsides launched against President Barack Obama don’t come from Republicans. They all come from Democrats.
- “It may be that President Obama’s disastrous leadership will be the wake-up call we needed.”
- “Let me tell you, the White House, when they look down the front lawn the last person they want to see coming is me.”
- “Our president is so disengaged. I mean, it’s all pizza and, you know, pool and political cash. He has checked out as being president, as a leader.”
- “Particularly for women, I don’t think he makes them feel safe.”
- (“The Obama administration) protected Wall Street. Not families who were losing their homes. Not people who lost their jobs. And it happened over and over and over.”
- “I voted against every budget that President Obama has offered.”
- “That mission (taking out ISIS) has been lost.”
- “We’re not supposed to start a war without Congress.”
- “The administration’s policies are simply wrong, when it comes to oil and gas production in this nation.”
- “No,” when asked if Obama had shown strong leadership.
- “(Obama) has no sense of gratitude, no sense of loyalty, no sense of even courtesy, (no) sense of decency.”
Representing a broad range of Democrats, the quotes come from six senators, a congresswoman, a columnist, a magazine editor, a pollster and an academic.
They are far from alone.
In fact, the ever-expanding list of those criticizing Obama includes his own former Cabinet members, his former senior adviser, talk-show hosts, anti-war activists and even two former Democrat presidents.
Obama’s spectacular fall from grace is evidenced by the about-face of so many of his supporters.
In 2009, Newsweek’s then-Editor at Large Evan Thomas anointed Obama as “sort of God.”
This month, Newsweek said: “[T]he president remains a drag for his party. He’s barely been invited to campaign with members. His role in the race is as a punching bag for Republicans and as an off-camera fund-raiser for Democrats.”
The president’s approval rating began to nosedive at the start of last year and now has been abysmal for months. Obama has fallen from a 69 percent approval rating when he took office in January 2009 to 38 percent in September. He is now mired at 41.7 percent.
Even before the sharp drop in the polls, troubled waters began roiling the Democratic Party.
Released in June, the book “Blood Feud” chronicled the deteriorating relationship between the Democrats’ two royal families, the Obamas and the Clintons.
With words that could hardly be more damning of the president, Bill Clinton reportedly said, “I hate that man Obama more than any man I’ve ever met, more than any man who ever lived.”
Not stopping there, Clinton allegedly added, “I have no relationship with the president – none whatsoever,” and, “I really can’t stand the way Obama always seems to be hectoring when he talks to me.” A spokesman for the former president denied the accuracy of the quotes, but Clinton himself apparently has never disputed them in public.
And now, with former Obama administration officials protecting their legacy and with so many Democratic careers on the line in the election, the floodgates appear to have opened.
By WND’s count, more than 35 Democrats have openly broken ranks with the president, one way or another. Some of the criticisms are expressed with a detached reserve while others blast the president with a stunningly passionate fervor.
The former Newsweek editor said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” program: “Particularly for women, I don’t think he makes them feel safe. They’re feeling unsafe. They feel unsafe economically. They’re feeling unsafe with regard to ISIS. They’re feeling unsafe about Ebola. What they feel unsafe about is the government response to different crises. And I think that they’re beginning to feel a bit that Obama’s like that guy in the corner office who’s too cool for school, calls a meeting, says this has to change, doesn’t put anything in place to make sure it does change. Then it goes wrong, and he’s blaming everybody.”
The academic bemoaned: “You’ve got Wall Street criminals walking free, sipping tea at the White House,” and he called Obama “a black mascot of Wall Street oligarchs and a black puppet of corporate plutocrats. And now he has become head of the American killing machine and is proud of it.” West also said, “Brother Barack Obama had no sense of gratitude, no sense of loyalty, no sense of even courtesy, [no] sense of decency, just to say thank you. Is this the kind of manipulative, Machiavellian orientation we ought to get used to?”
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.
The leftist firebrand exclaimed, “[The president] picked his economic team and when the going got tough, his economic team picked Wall Street.” She added: “They protected Wall Street. Not families who were losing their homes. Not people who lost their jobs. Not young people who were struggling to get an education. And it happened over and over and over.”
Obama’s former secretary of state ridiculed the president’s foreign-policy doctrine, saying: “Great nations need organizing principles, and ‘Don’t do stupid stuff’ is not an organizing principle.”
She also scorched the president’s handling of Syria, claiming, “The failure to help build up a credible fighting force of the people who were the originators of the protests against Assad – there were Islamists, there were secularists, there was everything in the middle – the failure to do that left a big vacuum, which the jihadists have now filled.”
Clinton also criticized the lynchpin of Obama’s negotiations with Iran, stating, “I’ve always been in the camp that held that they did not have a right to (nuclear fuel) enrichment.”
The president’s former defense secretary and CIA chief showed disdain for the commander in chief’s approach to foreign policy by observing, “Too often, in my view, the president relies on the logic of the law professor rather than the passion of a leader.”
Panetta said by ignoring his advice, Obama botched the Iraqi withdrawal talks, insisting that if the president had allowed some troops to remain, the U.S. “could have effectively advised the Iraqi military as how to deal with al-Qaida’s resurgence and the sectarian violence that again engulfed the country.”
The former CIA director said it was “damaging” to the U.S. when Obama drew a red line in Syria then backed off.
“I think the credibility of the United States is on the line,” he said. “It was important for us to stand by our word and go in and do what a commander in chief should do.”
Panetta said Obama “sent a mixed message, not only to (Syrian President Bashar al-)Assad, not only to the Syrians, but to the world.”
“And that is something you do not want to establish in the world, an issue with regard to the credibility of the United States to stand by what we say we’re gonna do.”
The Democrat strategist was aghast when Obama stated earlier this month that his policies were on the ballot.
“This is Politics 101: Always make it about the voters, not about yourself,” he said. “I don’t understand it. It was an unforced error at a time we can ill afford them.”
Obama’s former senior adviser also declared it was “a mistake” to claim the president’s policies were on the ballot. Axelrod faulted Obama for being politically tone-deaf in other ways. He noted: “Sometimes he can be negligent in the symbolism,” citing in particular, the president’s decision to play golf immediately after condemning the beheading of American journalist James Foley by ISIS.
The former president dryly eviscerated Obama’s foreign policy, noting, “It changes from time to time.”
He also observed: “I noticed that two of his secretaries of defense, after they got out of office, were very critical of the lack of positive action on the part of the president.”
Specifically, Carter scorched Obama’s Mideast strategy.
“First of all, we waited too long. We let the Islamic State build up its money, capability and strength and weapons while it was still in Syria.”
He criticized the president’s decision not to send ground troops.
“You have to have somebody on the ground to direct our missiles and to be sure you have the right target,” he said. “Then you have to have somebody to move in and be willing to fight ISIS after the strikes.”
Carter also vehemently opposed Obama’s drone policy.
“I really object to the killing of people, particularly Americans overseas who haven’t been brought to justice and put on trial,” he said. “We’ve killed four Americans overseas with American drones. To me that violates our Constitution and human rights.”
The Democrat pollster said in July: “Our president is so disengaged. I mean, it’s all pizza and, you know, pool and political cash. He has checked out as being president, as a leader.”
But Caddell’s contempt for Obama stretches as far back as at least 2010, when he and Democrat political strategist Douglas Schoen wrote: “President Obama’s post-partisan America has disappeared, replaced by the politics of polarization, resentment and division. Indeed, Obama is conducting himself in a way alarmingly reminiscent of Nixon’s role in the disastrous 1970 midterm campaign. No president has been so persistently personal in his attacks as Obama throughout the fall.”
The left-leaning talk-show host complained: “President Obama keeps insisting that ISIS is not Islamic. Well, maybe they don’t practice the Muslim faith the same way he does. But if vast numbers of Muslims across the world believe, and they do, that humans deserve to die for merely holding a different idea or drawing a cartoon or writing a book or eloping with the wrong person, not only does the Muslim world have something in common with ISIS, it has too much in common with ISIS.”
The Democrat activist, talk-show host, WND columnist and former candidate wrote: “It may be that President Obama’s disastrous leadership will be the wake-up call we needed to realize the wrong people are running our party. At this point we must know something is terribly wrong. It’s hard to ignore President Jimmy Carter’s recent decision to step forward and publicly reject President Obama’s handling of Iraq.”
He added, “Our leadership problem doesn’t end with Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama.
“The sad truth is that our party apparatus has been taken over by political correctness – PC ‘radicals’ who share Alinsky’s basic Marxist worldview, his desire for class warfare and radical ‘change.'”
Even the chief of staff for Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has offered criticism of Obama, as the New York Times reported growing tensions between the White House and the party’s congressional leaders. Leavened with only tepid support, Krone admitted, “We have disagreements with the White House, but we also have a lot of things we agree on.”
Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo.
The Coloradan described himself as “a real maverick” for taking on Obama over NSA spying, proclaiming, “I won’t tolerate it.”
He also warned, “Let me tell you, the White House, when they look down the front lawn the last person they want to see coming is me.”
Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska
The incumbent senator belittled Obama, saying: “The president’s not relevant. He’s gone in two years.”
Begich also promised voters, “I’ll be a thorn in his [posterior],” adding, “There’s times when I’m a total thorn, you know, and he doesn’t appreciate it.”
Going even further, the senator insisted he “took on Obama” to fight for oil drilling in Alaska and would “bang him (the president) over the head a few times” on the need to drill.
Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark.
Pryor claimed, “I voted against every budget that President Obama has offered,” and, “I oppose President Obama’s gun-control legislation.” He added, “No one from New York or Washington tells me what to do.”
Rep. John Barrow, D-Ga.
In an ad, the congressman tells voters, “I’m taking on the Obama administration” in his support for building the Keystone XL oil pipeline. Another ad states, “We all know how Washington Democrats look down on people who carry firearms, but I know better.”
Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La.
The senator made a point of emphasizing during her debate, “I do not agree with President Obama on his energy policies.” She later added, “I haven’t agreed with President Obama on everything.”
Landrieu starkly claimed, “The administration’s policies are simply wrong, when it comes to oil and gas production in this nation.”
She also damned the president with faint praise, giving his job performance a “6 to 7” out of 10. And, in an ad, the Louisiana senator said she fought Obama to let people “keep their health plans.”
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii
The first-term congresswoman and Iraq war veteran was scathing and blunt in her criticism of Obama’s strategy against ISIS, saying, if the president was on a mission to stem Islamic extremism in the Mideast, it already “has been lost.”
Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C.
Asked if she thought the president had “shown strong leadership,” the senator hedged a bit before conceding, “Certainly there are issues I think on … um, no.”
Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn.
Even Franken, a strong supporter of Obama, remarked, “I had high hopes when he came in,” but, “I’ve been disappointed. I’ve been disappointed in his inability to deal with this gridlock.”
The senator also wrote a letter to Obama saying he “was troubled by the president’s recent suggestion that the administration has not yet developed a comprehensive strategy to address the growing threat of ISIL’s activities in Syria.”
Alison Lundergan Grimes
The Senate candidate in Kentucky spelled it out plainly in an ad in which she declared: “I’m not Barack Obama. I disagree with him on guns, coal and the EPA.”
A spokesman for the congressional candidate from West Virginia declared Tennant “does not support the majority of the president’s policies.” She also ran a TV ad that showed her shutting off the White House’s lights, symbolizing her opposition to the president.
The congressional candidate from North Carolina said she disagreed “very strongly” with the president’s hesitancy to move against ISIS and called the roll-out of Obamacare “a disgrace.” She also opposed amnesty for illegal immigrants, saying it’s “much preferable for the president to work with the Congress.”
Rep. Rick Nolan, D-Minn.
Opposing the airstrikes on ISIS, the Minnesotan took aim at Obama, imploring his fellow House members, “Have we not had enough of imperial presidencies doing what they want in the world?”
Rep. Dan Maffei, D-N.Y
The congressman ridiculed Obama’s plan to deal with ISIS, maintaining, “This open-ended proposal lacks a clear strategy and an exit plan.”
Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, N.H.
Criticizing the president’s plan to arm Syrian rebels, the congresswoman observed, “[W]e really don’t know who they are,” and worried American weapons would “fall into bad hands.”
Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va.
The senator admonished Obama, “We’re not supposed to start a war without Congress,” adding, “We shouldn’t be putting our men and women in harm’s way without a political consensus that the mission is worth it.”
The anti-war activist said her cohorts did not sufficiently oppose Obama’s airstrikes in Iraq and Syria because, “He’s totally defanged us.”
She also cited his race as a factor: “The black community is traditionally the most antiwar community in this country. He’s defanged that sentiment within the black community, or certainly voicing that sentiment.”
The leftist blogger blasted Obama’s ISIS strategy, complaining, “The way in which Obama supporters have lamely acquiesced to this reckless war fomented by a dangerous executive power-grab is more than a little depressing.”
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y.
The senator somehow managed to criticize Obama’s Mideast plan even while voting for it, saying she supported only “aspects” of his strategy while warning “previous history leads me to conclude that arming Syrian rebels would be an ineffective solution.”
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.
The senator belittled the president’s clout, observing “there’s nothing in these states that he can do” to help Democrats in close races.
Manchin also observed, “The president is going to be gone in two years. I have my differences with the president, but that’s democracy.”
He also scorched Obama’s plan to arm Syrian rebels, cautioning: “The only thing I know is, anytime we try to arm people who think we are the friendlies over there, they end up using it against us. Those arms are used against us. So, I’m very concerned about that.”
Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y.
The congressman criticized Obama’s decision not to deploy ground troops to fight ISIS, saying the U.S. cannot “put our head in the sand.” The House Foreign Affairs committee’s top Democrat also wrote, “I disagree with the administration’s reported assertion that it does not need to come to Congress at this point during negotiations with Iran.”
Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y
The chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee warned Obama,”As negotiations continue on a deal to prevent a nuclear Iran, Congress cannot be circumvented.”
The Senate candidate from Georgia made clear, “There are a lot of things that I agree with the president on and lots of things that I disagree with the president on.” She criticized the president for not reducing the national debt, approving the Keystone Pipeline XL and working more with Congress.
Nunn even called it an “attack” when an opponent ran an ad showing a photo of her with Obama.
She claimed, “I’ve probably spent maybe 45 minutes of my life with President Obama.”
Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va.
In his debate, the Virginian singled out the president’s response to the Ebola crisis for criticism, saying, “I think the administration should have acted quicker.”
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen D-N.H.
When asked if she approved of Obama’s job performance — “Yes or no?” — the incumbent evoked a wave of laughter from a debate audience when she responded instead, “In some things I approve, and in some things I don’t approve.”
The president’s former adviser noted the GOP is making the election about Obama as much as possible, and, “[I]f I were a Republican I’d be doing that, too.”
“I think Obama being so unpopular is the biggest factor in this election,” said the Democrat pollster.