Monday, September 21


David Sirota, Open Left - Late last week, President Obama joined a big chunk of the Colorado and D.C. Democratic establishment in endorsing appointed Sen. Michael Bennet (D) and trying to crush a 2010 primary challenge by former House Speaker Andrew Romanoff (D. . . Now, the Denver Post weighs in with a pointed editorial criticizing Obama for his penchant for trying to crush primaries not only here in Colorado, but all over the country:
[][] Only 24 hours after former House Speaker Andrew Romanoff launched his campaign, the president bigfooted his way into the primary, issuing a glowing endorsement of current U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet. . .

Obama has jumped into other primaries, as well. He endorsed Sen. Arlen Specter, the Pennsylvania Republican-turned-Democrat, in his bid against a more liberal opponent. The president also gave a quick thumbs up to Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand when there was a chance she might be challenged by another Democrat for Hillary Rodham Clinton's old New York Senate seat.

Still, Obama doesn't know who the best candidate is for Colorado. The issues in this race haven't even been broached. Certainly we have no problem with the president endorsing someone - in fact, we like to do it, too - but c'mon, let's have a campaign first. [][]
Obama is in the White House precisely because he didn't listen to D.C. insiders who tried to crush his own primary bids for U.S. Senate in 2004 and for president in 2008. So it's more than a bit strange to see him expending serious political capital trying to crush primary challenges - especially in swing states like Colorado and Pennsylvania where the backlash to that kind of "bigfoot" behavior can demoralize his much-needed base.

The Denver Post is exactly right when it points out that when "the establishment jumps into primaries. . . it can backfire." And in a mid-term election when the Democratic base may be particularly incensed at the failure of this president and the Democratic establishment to more aggressively push a progressive agenda, that chance for a backfire is especially high.