The Obama Comfort Doll Isn’t the Worst Of It

I’m a day late with this, so you likely have already seen it: Jill Abramson, former Executive Editor of the New York Times, told the Guardian that she keeps a Barack Obama doll in her purse and calls on it for comfort in the distressing Age of Trump:

It’s easy to look at what’s happening in Washington DC and despair. That’s why I carry a little plastic Obama doll in my purse. I pull him out every now and then to remind myself that the United States had a progressive, African American president until very recently. Some people find this strange, but you have to take comfort where you can find it in Donald Trump’s America.

OK, that’s pretty funny. But the rest of Abramson’s column strikes me as more significant. Why? Because she makes no pretense of being anything other than a Democratic Party operative. Writing for the Guardian’s far-left audience, she is among friends. Any pretense of objectivity is gone.

Abramson’s main subject is the Democratic Party’s hope for a win in the midterm elections. She focuses on Texas, which I wrote about here:

With new Democratic voters racing to the polls in big numbers in Tuesday’s primaries, Texas is looking purple rather than Republican red. …

Though their optimism may be premature, national Democrats think Ted Cruz can be defeated in November by a well-funded liberal House member from El Paso with the name of Beto O’Rourke, who just won his state’s Democratic Senate nomination.

Abramson exults over the Texas primary, but somehow omits to mention that Cruz drew a half million more votes than O’Rourke, even though he faced no perceptible opposition. Still, Abramson is triumphant:

Republican gloom in Washington DC is palpable, with White House chaos, Donald Trump’s sinking approval ratings and incumbent retirements piling up.

Though winning control of the House of Representatives in 2018 is their focus, my Democratic sources say that there are already 20 credible presidential challengers giving serious thought to opposing Donald Trump in 2020. The list, unsurprisingly, includes a raft of Democratic senators, and, perhaps surprisingly, at least three strong women, New York’s Kirsten Gillibrand, Minnesota’s Amy Klobuchar and Massachusetts’s Elizabeth Warren.

The Democratic Party cheerleading goes on and on. This is the piece’s conclusion, but for the part about the Obama doll:

Of course, there are months to go until November and Beto [O’Rourke] has to be considered an underdog. Still, it’s thrilling to see signs of a Trump rebellion building in the Solid South, the Republican base where religion, racism and love of guns have advantaged Republicans since Richard Nixon’s election in 1968.

Here’s my point: Abramson hates Republicans (“racism!”) and is an unapologetic Obama (and O’Rourke, and Warren, and Gillebrand, etc.) fangirl. But that didn’t begin recently. Abramson was Executive Editor of the Times from 2011 to 2014, after spending pretty much her whole career there. (Nothing if not loyal, she even has a tattoo of the Times logo.) She is out of the closet now, especially, perhaps, when writing for the Guardian. But is there any reason to think that she ran the Times’s newsroom as anything but a Democratic Party operative? No. In fact, those who read the Times during her years at the helm can attest that the paper shared her enthusiasms as well as her hatreds.

Still: I am not easily shocked, but I do think that Abramson’s out-of-the-closet turn as a doll-carrying Obama Democrat is disturbing.


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