ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
Associated Press File Photo / Former President Barack Obama has a little advice for his fellow Democrats: Don't go too far left.

Barack Obama, the advice doctor and former president, unspooled his brain Friday to give some words of wisdom to the Democratic Party that twice nominated him for president.

On his mind, undoubtedly, was the better than even chance the country would re-elect President Donald Trump if his party nominated a candidate who backed Medicare for All, the Green New Deal, Electoral College elimination, mandatory firearm buybacks, open borders, health care for illegal immigrants and student debt cancellation.

Most of the candidates in the race have backed some or all of those proposals, but top-tier candidates Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Bernie Sanders of Vermont have advocated "political revolution" or "big, structural change."

Obama, not wanting to have even more of his legacy unwound in a second Trump term, made his remarks to the Democracy Alliance, a group of wealthy, liberal donors.

"This is still a country that is less revolutionary than it is interested in improvement," he said. "[Americans] like seeing things improved. But the average American doesn't think that we have to completely tear down the system and remake it. And I think it's important for us not to lose sight of that."

Every candidate in the race is as far left as Obama, but his brand of liberalism is now what stands for moderation in the party.

Last week, just days before the former president's remarks, former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick jumped in the race, and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg all but declared his intention to do so.

Reports say Obama tried to entice Patrick into the race last year, but he declined because of the health of his wife. Our feeling is if he'd been successful in recruiting Patrick then, the country would be looking at an entirely different electoral dynamic today.

While his counsel to Democrats was wise, the advice doctor in him hasn't always been sound.

Witness these five episodes in which his prophecies were wrong, unhelpful or hypocritical:

* 2013: Then-President Obama referred to the Islamic State as the "JV team" and noted that "if a JV team puts on a Lakers uniform, that doesn't make them [former NBA star] Kobe Bryant." A year later, the junior varsity terrorist network had declared an Islamic caliphate, was gobbling up territory in Iraq and Syria and had been linked to terrorist plots in the West.

Obama later said his "JV" reference had been to "a whole series of organizations," but the Islamic State had been mentioned by the reporter conducting the interview. Only after Trump became president and put more muscle into opposing the caliphate did it begin to be wound down.

* 2015: Obama, believing Hillary Clinton was the most likely to continue his policies, urged his vice president, Joe Biden, not to run for president in 2016. He had "no real path to the nomination," Biden wrote in his book, "Promise Me, Dad," that Obama told him. His entry in the race, the then-president said, would "rock the boat." He also noted, "In January 2015 the president was convinced I would not beat Hillary, and he worried that a long primary fight would split the party and leave the Democrat nominee vulnerable in the general election."

Biden didn't enter the race, but Clinton did have to ward off Sanders, who put up a surprising fight. In the end, a united Democratic Party still couldn't save Clinton.

* 2015: Obama, responding to rapper-singer Kanye West's threatened 2016 presidential bid, warned West he would have to spend "a lot of time dealing with some strange characters who behave like they're on a reality TV show. So you've got to be cool with that."

West, instead, later embraced President Trump, a former reality show host, and more recently talked about how "God is now using him (West)" with televangelists.

* 2016: Obama, in an ABC interview, damned with faint praise Clinton, the party's candidate and the woman first lady Michelle Obama reportedly called "Hildebeest" by saying, "There is a level of mistrust and a caricature of her that doesn't jibe with who I know."

Multiple reports said the Obamas and the Clintons, at best, had a tenuous relationship.

* 2017: Obama, in a speech in which he discussed parenting advice to his daughters, said, "Part of what we try to communicate is that being responsible is an enormous privilege. What we try to encourage is the sense that it's not somebody else's job, it's your job."

The former president, of course, had spent his entire first term blaming his predecessor, George W. Bush, for every ill the country endured.

Thus, the record of Obama, the advice doctor, is decidedly mixed. We think he's on to something with his most recent remarks, but his party, looking at his previous counsel, may decide he's as dry as October's leaves and nominate someone Trump will have little trouble beating.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT