In case anyone was wondering where the White House stands vis-à-vis its base these days, the defeat of Lieutenant Governor Bill Halter makes it pretty stark.
Who went off to campaign for incumbent Blanche Lincoln in the Arkansas primary? None other than Bubba himself. Bill Clinton’s way, just to recall, was to promise loyalty to labor then push through NAFTA against their will. Clinton it was who launched the reign of Robert Rubin and Lawrence Summers— today so well ensconced still in the White House.
It was Bill Clinton who early on embraced Dick Morris’s dictum, "Out Republican the Republicans" and, he might have added, to hell with your base while you’re at it. Cut deficits, grow poverty. That’s an acceptable equation for getting re-elected if DC politics always comes first. What if a bad recession hit, with no jobs, cut services, and unemployment benefits dry up? Take a look around today and you see the answer. This is the result of that.
It was Rubin-Summers-Clinton’s buy-in into deficit panic that gave "shrink government" Republicans the ideological edge. That ideological give-away has sharpened the slash-and-burn budget knife ever since.
As for the party? It was the top-down party rule of Bill Clinton’s DNC that left scores of state Democratic parties penniless, dependent, and pissed off. In fact, it was that kind of chrony-Clintonism that sparked the bottom up revolt that elected Barack Obama, in hope of "change."
To sum up: Obama better beware Bubbaism. The grief Arkansas voters gave their senator for flip-flopping on worker rights and healthcare? That could end up being nothing, in comparison to what the twenty-first-century Democratic base could give another flip-flopper president.