The Invisible Man

Democrats debate as if the Obama presidency never happened

July 31, 2019

If you listen to Democrats discuss their solutions to political challenges these days, it's easy to forget the fact that Barack Obama served as President of the United States from 2009 to 2017. His name is rarely mentioned, and his accomplishments rarely acknowledged much less celebrated.

Such was the case at Tuesday night's debate in Detroit, when Mayor Pete Buttigieg talked about summoning "the courage to walk away from the past." When Elizabeth Warren said our "problems didn’t start with Donald Trump," and proceeded to trash the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement negotiated by the Obama administration. It's easy to forget that Democrats passed, and Obama signed into a law, something called the Affordable Care Act when every candidate on stage was lamenting the woeful state of healthcare affordability in this country.

Obama's name was only mentioned a handful of times throughout the debate, including once by way of John Delaney citing former Obama homeland security chief Jeh Johnson's recent comments that the party's de facto embrace of open borders was "unwise" and "unworkable." The sentiment was echoed after Tuesday's debate by former Obama adviser David Axelrod, who thoroughly trashed the emerging Democratic consensus on health care and immigration.

Meanwhile, former Vice President Joe Biden, the current frontrunner, has for the most part passionately defended the Obama legacy, especially when it comes to health care. It is basically the central message of Biden's campaign. He'll most likely continue to do so during the second debate night in Detroit on Wednesday, where he'll also be a prime target for rivals.

Obama is working on his third memoir.