Thursday, October 29, 2009

David Plouffe's Audacity to Collect

David Plouffe managed President Barack Obama's successful bid for the White House last year. Next week, his book, "The Audacity of Hope" will officially be unveiled. One can expect Mr. Plouffe to sign up for every morning and evening talk show to plug his book.

We are told that the book will offer some insights into the president's running mate decision process. Senator Clinton, it is asserted, was one of the final six vice prospects to serve as President Obama's running mate. In fact, he might have gone for her if not for her even more crass and politically opportunistic husband, who was himself a former president. Mr. Clinton, the president believed, would be the third person in the room. Senator Evan Bayh (D-Indiana) made it onto the list of the final three but was beat out by the more informed and union-worker favored senator (then) from Delaware).

The president no doubt picked one of if not the most qualified candidates to serve as his vice presidential running mates. Biden knows foreign policy and he knows his way around the senate. His connection with the average white, middle-aged working to middle class American was probably an asset, particularly since the president had a difficult time winning in the primaries where they were the constituency.

Mr. Plouffe's book might not reveal anything unflattering or anything that might embarrass the president. Or then again, it might. But whatever the case, the book could not have been released at a worse time.

The president is in the middle of some intense negotiations with his former colleagues on the hill over health care reform. Senator Bayh, a moderately conservative Democrat who had as of yesterday threatened to filibuster any attempt to let the health care bill get debated on the floor, might not like any passages that suggest that Obama considered him a lightweight who lacked the experience and command of the issues which his former colleague from Delaware had. After hearing the excerpts played and then replayed on the talk shows, Bayh might not be in the mood to put his political career on the line for the president who did not pick him to serve as his running mate.

It wouldn't be the professional, let alone, right thing for Senator Bayh to do but politicians do look after their own personal interests first.

Nor would the president benefit from any passage concerning the president's relationship with the vice president and secretary of state. The vice president and the Secretary of State no doubt should be able to look beyond and ignore any political gossip coming from former political aide's book but any major revelations concerning the president's stronger degree of confidence in one of those two political players might undermine the other.

Obama's former campaign manager no doubt has the right to write a book about the campaign and his book may offer some insights into the campaign which any reporter would find interesting. Nevertheless he should have waited and given the president an opportunity to push major legislation forward without having to explain away passages that his cabinet members, close political advisers and former colleagues on the hill might find embarrassing or offensive.

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