Denver Post: Obama Aide Messina Caught "Trying to Buy Off" Primary Challenger

by: David Sirota

Sun Sep 27, 2009 at 15:41

I've made my position on the Emanuel administration's attempts to crush Democratic primaries pretty plain: Beyond it being a disgusting effort to crush the kind of local democracy Barack Obama used to make Rahm Emanuel president, it also makes Democratic legislative unity even tougher to achieve. Additionally, the aggressiveness of the effort reveals a double-standard: The Emanuel administration that categorically refuses to twist the arms of congresspeople to pass legislation is the same Emanuel administration that is more than happy to break the arms of Democratic primary candidates.

As I said in my last column, that's the power-worshiping, incumbent-protecting country-club etiquette at work: Just like, say, Tim Russert, would ask upstart presidential candidate Howard Dean much tougher questions than sitting Vice President Dick Cheney, President Emanuel is willing to punch those outside of D.C., but not those inside.

Now, the Denver Post gives us a sense of just how hard those punches are being thrown. The front-page Sunday story details how President Emanuel dispatched former Max Baucus aide and current Vice President Jim Messina to, as the Post says, "try to buy off" former House Speaker Andrew Romanoff (D) with a job before he announced his primary challenge to appointed Sen. Michael Bennet (D).

There's probably nothing illegal about this - although you can't really say that for sure. Let's not forget that Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was indicted and impeached for allegedly trying to horse-trade jobs for senate seats. But legal questions aside, it shows that while President Emanuel may do nothing to stop insurance and pharmaceutical companies write health care legislation, he's going to do everything he can to make sure that incumbents are not bothered by local primary challenges - even those that might create a dynamic that helps pass President Emanuel's legislative agenda.

The danger for President Emanuel, of course, is that the big foot strategy make backfire, especially out here in the West:

"It may make the situation worse for Bennet for them to play the game this way," said state Rep. Kathleen Curry, a Gunnison lawmaker who is supporting Romanoff.

"People in Colorado have an adverse reaction to the external forces coming down and telling them how to think," she said.

The timing of Messina's latest intervention sparked particular concern - because of the appearance that the administration was trying to buy off a nettlesome opponent, to some; to others, because the timing made the effort appear so ham-handed.

As I've said, I have no dog in the primary fight - I just want to see local democracy be allowed to run its course. Like Barack Obama said on the campaign trail, primaries and local democracy strengthen the Democratic Party. Unfortunately, President Emanuel and Vice President Messina don't subscribe to that belief.

David Sirota :: Denver Post: Obama Aide Messina Caught "Trying to Buy Off" Primary Challenger

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Um (4.00 / 1)
When I read this title, I was expecting to hear a story about Messina offering money or some kind to keep a primary challenger at bay...something illegal.

The timing of Messina's latest intervention sparked particular concern - because of the appearance that the administration was trying to buy off a nettlesome opponent, to some;

"the appearance of" is a lot different than actually "buying off." Offering a job in the administration to keep someone from running what is perceived to be a potentially bloody primary challenge is hardly unique in politics, especially since it appears Romanoff himself was looking for an administration job earlier in the spring.

and quite honestly, if you've been listening to Romanoff lately about EFCA and immigration, two issues I'm most concerned about Bennet, you too will hope he rethinks his primary challenge before he forces Bennett to the right.

Unbelievable (0.00 / 0)
That someone who was so pro-Obama is now calling it the Emanuel presidency. Maybe if you had spent more time researching Obama's record, instead of attacking all things Clinton, you wouldn't have this problem.

Are we discussing the same David Sirota? (0.00 / 0)
You've got him confused for the likes of Messrs. Bowers, Rosenberg, and Moulitsass.

[ Parent ]
ha (0.00 / 0)
Maybe if you read David's work you'd understand he did research Obama's record (like, three years ago), and David did some pretty good reporting on Obama's tendency to be pulled in multiple directions at the same time.  

"I think the economic logic behind dumping a load of toxic waste in the lowest wage country is impeccable and we should face up to that."
-Lawrence Summers

[ Parent ]
This blog was proedwards (4.00 / 1)
and Hillary would be pulling the same shit.  They are both dlc.  We were screwed as soon as the media got rid of Edwards and Kucinich!

My blog  

[ Parent ]
Clinton would have been (0.00 / 0)
absolutely NO BETTER, AND PROBABLY WORSE!!!!!!  She is a war monger, par excellance, and at least Obama seems to have somewhat less of that quality.

[ Parent ]
If Republicans Were Smart (0.00 / 0)
They would follow Emmanuel and Messina around, find this sort of activity, then try to blow it all out of proportion in an attempt to tie up Obama. If they gor lucky, they might even brung Obama down by using guilt by association, you know, Chacago politics is corrupt (see Blago, Daley).

Were you expecting principles from lying frauds who have no principles? (4.00 / 1)
Glen Ford was writing about Obama's disgusting efforts to interfere in the New York governor's race over at Black Agenda Report.

Since role modeling is all about hierarchy - that is, Black upward mobility in various hierarchies - it is beyond question that higher-ranking role models are inherently more valuable than models of lower rank. That makes things simpler, since there is no discernible political difference between Gov. Paterson and President Obama. Both can be counted on to buttress the Right at critical junctures, and seem to share an antipathy to the Left. In Paterson's case, this tendency was most dramatically observed in his appointment of upstate Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand, the most right-wing member of the New York congressional delegation, to fill Hillary Clinton's senate seat. That was a jaw-dropper, seemingly inexplicable and politically unnecessary - unless one was aware that the Obama White House had exercised its muscles to discouraged other Democrats from actively vying for the seat.
So, the two brothers came together to elevate - a right-wing white woman! Somehow, the role model/race loyalty chemistry isn't working well, these days. Certainly not for David Paterson. Probably not for most African Americans.
No one that has grown up Black in American can fail to appreciate the internal logic of electoral race loyalty and the potential potency of racial role-modeling. The problem is, Barack Obama does not play by these rules. It is, for him, a one-sided game in which he takes, but never gives.


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