Why Harold Meyerson Is Wrong

He Claims Obama Won't Face Primary Because He's Black.

The full quote, which is the first paragraph of his column, Why Obama won't face a primary challenge:
President Obama is faring poorly these days, but he can console himself with the fact that he’ll probably be spared the fate of previous presidents who fell on hard times: a primary challenge. Those groups within the Democratic Party that might otherwise be shopping around for a more forthrightly progressive alternative are deterred by two factors: the likelihood that any challenge will end up helping a radicalized Republican Party and the fact that Obama is black.
Harold MeyersonThe first factor isn't true. Anyone who is seriously thinking about primary-ing President Obama would do it because they either want to highlight a certain issue or even force Obama to the left on it, or they think it really doesn't matter whether the left or right wing of the corporate war party is the President of the Unites States of America. (Thanks, Ralph Nader!)

The second factor is ridiculous. Here's the full portion of Meyerson's argument on this point:
The other reason Obama hasn’t faced a challenge, and isn’t likely to, is that he’s black. Any Democrat who would challenge Obama, whatever the basis of his or her candidacy, would almost surely encounter intense opposition from the party’s African American base, the one group in Democrats’ orbit that regularly votes Democratic at a 90 percent rate. Such a challenge could create a rift that might take decades to heal.

Moreover, Obama’s election in 2008 validated one of the Democratic Party’s most fundamental achievements — enactment of civil and voting rights legislation that made America a far more racially egalitarian nation. Any anti-Obama candidacy from within the party runs up against the justifiable sense of pride and historic vindication that Democrats took in Obama’s election.
Sure, the primary would encounter intense opposition from all sorts of reliable Democratic voters, but once the primary was over, is Meyerson seriously saying that just the fact of putting down an intra-party squabble would tear the Democrats apart for decades? What is crazy about his argument is that he then recounts the last thing that did tear the party apart for decades - the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Does he realize that he's comparing these to a Democratic primary of a sitting President because he's facing hard times? What is he smoking?

Finally, the best argument against the idea of a Democratic primary is one he doesn't even mention - money. Obama will not be primaried because he has Wall Street, the health care industry, and other major corporate cash wrapped up. Why do you think he wanted Wall Street off the hook for the economic crash, set the terms of health care reform in cahoots with the industry before debate started, and isn't lifting a finger to change the fact that most major corporations often have years where they pay little or no federal tax - or that sometimes they actually get money back from the Treasury! Get a clue Meyerson! Get out of The Village once in a while.

Meyerson is usually pretty good, especially on labor and economic issues. But his political nose is buried in something nasty in this case.

UPDATE: Even when Meyerson gets things right, he's not helping, either: Time for another stimulus, Mr. President. Writing an open letter to President Obama asking him to propose a large stimulus program is as useful as asking a Las Vegas casino to give your money back. (h/t I can't remember!) I only tolerate reading my WaPo triumvirate of Meyerson, Dionne, and Robinson in order to have easy blogging material at hand. Yes, I've included Robinson in my Top Shelf blog roll, but no more!

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