Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Clinton and the PUMAs still debt-collecting from Obama

Mike Allen, for Axios:
The worst-kept secret inside Democratic circles is how bitter Hillary Clinton's team is at President Obama over her election loss...[they are] blaming Obama - more than Putin, FBI Director James Comey or, um, Hillary herself - for the defeat. Clintonites feel that if Obama had come out early and forcefully with evidence of Russian interference in the campaign, and perhaps quicker sanctions, she might be president today. 
The persistent refusal among Clintonites to accept any responsibility for the defeat of their campaign seems easy enough to explain with the usual points about cultishness and epistemic closure - but how to explain the special resentment for Obama? Even if you insist that Putin cost Clinton the election, it seems like blatant displacement to then say that Obama, by failing to stop him, is even more responsible.

Seeing this much animus seep through the facade of solidarity with Obama and his base that Clintonites tried to present, I can't help but detect an undercurrent of pretty familiar entitlement:
[T]he sentiment, among today's PUMAs, is everywhere...Obama was an affirmative action president, and [PUMAs] expect us to "make history" again...out of some weird sense of reciprocal obligation.
If you believe that Obama did not deserve to beat Clinton in 2008, it's easy to see how you might come to think of supporting him as an unearned favor that he would, some day, need to pay back. And if you think that he missed a crucial opportunity to do so by ensuring victory for Clinton, you might very well see this as something more than incompetence - you'd be tempted to see it as a direct betrayal. This is how entitlement breeds resentment; and it's why Clintonites, to explain that resentment, have to displace blame from Putin onto the man who should have stopped him.

It is not irrelevant, of course, that this man happens to be black. Clinton's 2008 campaign was irredeemably poisoned with racial entitlement, and the polls make it clear that those attitudes and biases remain among her supporters to this very day. Given that the "Putin stole it" narrative is already heavily inflected with one form of racism, we shouldn't be surprised to find related grievances towards Obama inflected with another.