Former President Barack Obama gently warned a group of junior Democrats in the House of Representatives on Monday about the costs associated with some popular liberal ideas in their ranks, encouraging members to look at price tags, according to former President Barack Obama. the people present.
Obama has not named a specific policy. And to be sure, he encouraged lawmakers – about half a dozen of whom were working in his own administration – to pursue their "daring" ideas by drafting laws in their first year in the House.
But some people in the room interpreted his words as a warning about Medicare-for-all and the Green New Deal, two liberal ideas popularized by some of the most famous first-year students in the House, including the Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (DN.Y). .)
While the more liberal first-year students attracted much of the attention in Washington, many first-year Democrats hailed from elastic or even red districts and fought to figure out how to react to the situation. far left emboldened.
"He said we [as Democrats] Do not be afraid of big bold ideas, but also think seriously about how these great bold ideas will work and how you will pay them, "said a person summing up the words of the former president.
Obama's remarks – the rare advice of a leader who has fled the spotlight since his departure – come at a time when the Democratic Party is wondering how much more needs to be done before 2020. The Most Democratic presidential candidates have embraced the Pay Health System and the Green New Deal, an ambitious plan to make the US economy more energy efficient in ten years.
However, some moderate Democrats fear that an imbalance will reduce their chances of overthrowing President Trump. Notably, President Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Who helped organize the Obama meeting with first-year students, did not put these ideas forward for a vote in the House – she did not not intend to do it, any more than the top Democratic leaders.
Those in the room, who spoke on condition of anonymity to describe the evening, said Obama's cost warnings were not in themselves a reduction of the deficit. Rather, he said that voters care about the costs of politics and that Democrats should be ready to answer questions about how they will pay for an idea while making great promises to their constituents.
Obama gave the example of taxes: even a liberal, he said, could be deterred from supporting a liberal policy if it accompanied a significant tax cut from its own budget. .
Obama, said these people, made few, if any, remarks about Trump or the recent conclusion of the investigation of the special advocate Robert S. Mueller III on the interference of Russia in the 2016 election. Impunity has never been mentioned either.
The evening was rather casual and friendly. Obama spoke of his own experience in Congress, as brief as it was before his rise to the White House. The former president – who had campaigned for a number of freshmen in the room – said he was proud of them for defending what they felt right.
Obama also complimented Pelosi.
"If I love Nancy, it's because she combines her passion to do what's right for our country and our kids and to unparalleled tenacity on the Hill," Obama said.
Pelosi, in particular, focused the Legislative Democrats' agenda on resolving the problems that legislators campaigned for in 2018, including legislation codifying pre-existing conditions and background checks on firearms owners.
When freshmen surveyed Obama on his approach to government, Obama spoke of the importance of serving voters and giving voters the feeling of being seen and heard. He told them to work on the other side of the aisle but also warned not to be trapped by a "dummy bipartisanship," as one person described.
"He was talking about staying in touch with your constituents ,. . . make sure you do the regular communications as well as [recognizing] that there are often nuances in policy making and that it takes time, "said Representative Haley Stevens (D-Mich.), who worked for the Obama administration. "He told stories about ACA's success and about the need for a long belief," Do not ask, do not say, "and how it took a long time."
Stevens does not enter the extra details of the evening.
At one point, Obama had blamed the Republicans for being pushed too far right, citing the late Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) As an example of the traditional GOP before Trump re-branded the party. He talked about voter education and how to lobby for progressive ideas while being from a rotating district.
Obama also gave advice to freshmen: find the policy on which you are ready to lose your seat and fight to get it. The Affordable Care Act was this policy for him, as well as for a handful of Democrats who voted knowing that it would cost them their place.
They do not regret it, he said, after millions of people took out health insurance. Or at least, he certainly did not do it.