Friday, November 05, 2010

Any embers still out there?

In an article on potential staff changes in the White House, the Atlantic's Marc Ambinder asserts confidently that

... at some point, senior adviser David Axelrod will return to Chicago to help run Obama's 2012 campaign, and David Plouffe will take his place.

Ambinder usually has good sources so we can probably take that as true.

Since managing Obama's 2008 campaign, Plouffe has published his account of that long, exhilarating slog: The Audacity to Win: The Inside Story and Lessons of Barack Obama's Historic Victory. For campaign junkies, the book is remains delicious candy (and I think wise in its observations on how good campaigns do it.)

At this difficult moment in Obama's presidency, it is poignant to reread what Plouffe says he and his candidate were feeling on the eve of November 4, 2008.

Though the campaign had begun with little pressure or expectations of winning, I now felt weighed down by several factors that made the possibility of defeat unbearable. 1 worried that if we lost, we could lose for a generation all the young and new volunteers and voters who got involved in our campaign. They poured their hearts into it; for many, it was the first time they'd ever taken this kind of leap, or even fathomed it. They believed in Obama, and in their capacity to affect the outcome of the election. Obama had ignited something very powerful in young people throughout the country. If that spark could be preserved, I was convinced we'd be a much stronger country for it. As Obama often said: "I do not want to let them down."

Those inspired newcomers to politics apparently didn't vote this year. Tuesday's electorate was old and white and bitter, sadly.

So the question hangs in the air -- will Obama remember who brought him where he is -- or will he respond to a setback not entirely his fault by trying to play along with people whose aim is to destroy him? If he does, what happens to all those hopes once kindled?

I don't like to think about that.

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