Zack Exley on why the Rahm administration betrayed the Obama campaign:
Policy and political strategy in American politics have been completely divorced from one another. The political strategists who ran Obama’s campaign allowed him — or maybe it was just that kid Jon Favreau? — to run on a big, clear, inspiring mission: “A nation healed. A world repaired. An America that believes again.” Note: I didn’t say detailed, just big and inspiring! But after the victory, like Garibaldi they took their applause and walked into the sunset (or OFA). In fact, they had to: because, according to the caste system of American politics they knew about the romance of campaigning, but not the realpolitik of governing.
The American people, like people everywhere, are hopeful. They gave Obama a chance to make good on such big words as “hope” and “change” in office. But then the policy wonks took over. Big, clear policies worth fighting for were unthinkable for these particular people, because they see industry and Wall Street as more important than the American people. To be fair, most of them are just trying to be realistic, not malicious: they would prefer to stand up for the American people, but industry and Wall Street are simply more powerful and must be appeased.
Therefore, neither “Medicare for Everyone,” nor a direct bailout for tens of millions of Americans who were victimized by Wall Street were ever a possibility. But in ruling out those kinds of pro-people policies, the administration deactivated the American people. The massive grassroots organization that propelled Obama to victory seemed to evaporate into thin air in the months after the election.