“Thank you. This is your victory.” – Words posted beneath the video above on Barack Obama’s YouTube channel
ONE THING people who never get close to campaigns or ever meet candidates, including those who lose, ever get to see is the toll of a long election cycle. What candidates go through on the presidential level is something else entirely.
We saw what can happen in hard primaries with Hillary Rodham Clinton in New Hampshire back in ’08.
Seeing President Obama in the brief clip shown on Piers Morgan, which was posted on Barack Obama’s YouTube channel and you can see above, you get a sense of how hard this campaign has been for him, what it means, as well as the connection he has with his staff.
This is one of those moments when you have to hold conflicting ideas in your head at the same time. To appreciate the heart of Barack Obama’s humanity, while seeing the flaws when looking at it in a wider context. It doesn’t lessen the moving moment, but it should give progressives pause.
“I am absolutely confident that all of you are going to do amazing things in your lives,” Obama says in the video, which was posted on his campaign’s official Youtube page Thursday.
… “Even before last night’s results, I felt that the work I had done in running for office had come full circle. Because what you guys have done means that the work I am doing is important. And I’m really proud of that. I’m really proud of you,” Obama said, wiping away tears.
… “What you guys have accomplished will go in the annals of history,” Obama said.
The human being behind the politician is rarely considered, except when a moment of heart is revealed and we’re allowed into the private emotions that are normally held in check.
Sentimental nostalgia brims over as President Obama shares what he feels at the closing moment of his last campaign. He starts with where he began, while looking at the workers that helped him win reelection who have made him reflect upon his life. He has come full circle, he says.
The realization that he’s about to go back into the last chance he has to impact America, at an intersection that only allows for incremental changes no matter where you want to push.
At one moment he invoked Bobby Kennedy, talking about “the ripples of hope in a lake.” It was the first mention of another leader inside the liberal movement that he’s uttered.
It’s very interesting to me and worth noting that at no time on Tuesday or even in this intimate moment he’s sharing with his campaign team that is disbanding did he ever utter the words Democratic Party.
When asked on the phone Thursday during the very last conference call of OFA about where the Obama infrastructure goes and will it be in place for 2016, David Plouffe didn’t either. He opined about the emotions that make people leave their families and work long hours, saying that the people are tied to Barack Obama, so it can’t simply be replicated.
That’s very true, no argument at all. However, it’s not like the ideas Barack Obama has championed are new ones. Mr. Obama didn’t conjure any of the policies out of original cloth. In fact, his historic health care legislation came from a conservative framework.
When he talked to the activists, President Obama talked about the workers going off in different directions, working for non-profits, the private sector. What about the option of working to spread the message of opportunity, that we are in this together, and building an America where progressive principles are understood as the best way to navigate the modern era, which can be cruel, with community as important as independent successes?
Scattering potential resources and human capital at a moment in history when attaching them to progressive entrenchment to solidify gains that could make the difference to the Democratic Party future was unmentioned, ignored, this notion perhaps never dawning. Of course the moment of heart will move people, as it did me, as surely as it will media covering it, but what does it all mean if the emotional attachment to a historic political figure isn’t tied to the ideals that inspired Obama to be a Democrat?
It’s why as thrilling as the win for a Democrat over a Republican is and how masterfully it was done, it’s hard not to be left with the feeling that what President Obama accomplishes, especially depending on the economic deals coming, will be about working together to make a deal. The Democratic Party principles that landed him where he is today, as well as the party activists who believe in these principles, all secondary, even unimportant since they were left specifically unmentioned.
The founders weren’t keen on political parties, but we live in a combative political climate today. Floating from election to election on the wings of emotional celebrity connection is a dangerous way to solidify gains and liberal ideas.
Let’s hope the progressives that were elected, from Elizabeth Warren to Tammy Baldwin, can handle the lift, as well as the winds of compromise, because after the results of this year’s election any compromise will be with themselves.
Democrats are right to be gleeful of winning, but the warning signs ahead are already in full view. Because Barack Obama has tied activists to him and what happens after he leaves the stage is unknown, because he nor his team see any reason to weld it all to progressive causes or the Democratic Party that are eternal.
If Democrats aren’t careful this could evolve into fatal foreshadowing.