Wednesday’s debate was striking in the amount of time the candidates spent fighting not only with each other, but going after Obama’s record. At many times, it seemed like Biden was the only person who was standing up for the former president.

This did not go unnoticed by other prominent Democrats.

Alexander Bolton writes at The Hill:

Democrats express alarm over debate’s negative tone

Democratic lawmakers were left shaken and worried by Wednesday night’s bruising presidential debate, which left some fearing the fight will hurt the party and result in a damaged nominee.

Senate Democrats are frustrated that candidates are spending too much time and effort attacking each other for relatively small policy differences, while not focusing their ire on President Trump.

They worry the intraparty food fight is overshadowing what they see as the main goal: Drawing a clear contrast between the Democratic candidates and Trump on health care and other key issues.

“I’m of the view that we have always been a party of ideas,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein (Calif.). “I think everybody should sort of consider that.”

She said there is “concern” within the caucus of the increasingly vicious attacks, particularly against the front-runner, former Vice President Joe Biden…

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) blamed the debate moderators for much of the negativity.

“I think these debates are really silly,” he said. “Just the incessant focus on these relative minor divisions between candidates might make for good TV but I don’t think gives people an accurate portrayal of the stakes of this election.”…

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) called the attacks hurled back and forth among the presidential hopefuls “awful.”

“It’s not who I am, it’s not what I believe in, I don’t think it helps anybody — to attack each other and try to annihilate each other,” he said. “It’s just awful. The whole scenario is bad.”

“Run for something, don’t run against something,” he added.

I attribute some of this to overconfidence. Democrats are so convinced that 2020 is already in the bag that they are competing with each other for the ultimate prize.

Jeff Zeleny and Kevin Liptak of CNN note the alarm over the criticism of Obama:

Obama allies exasperated as Democrats put his legacy on trial

He’s the most popular figure in the Democratic Party by far, revered by liberals, moderates and even some Republicans.

But former President Barack Obama — who has remained largely silent amid a rancorous Democratic primary — came under a harsh spotlight as candidates vying for his onetime job picked apart aspects of his legacy during Wednesday night’s debate.

The skeptical examination of the party’s de facto leader left several veterans of the Obama administration outraged that more attacks were trained on the former President than the current one. And Obama has privately expressed some disapproval of what he views as unrealistic proposals from some Democratic candidates, according to a source familiar with those conversations.

From health care to immigration to trade, key accomplishments of the Obama administration came under fire and faced a sometimes-unflattering re-examination by candidates eager to keep their campaigns alive by trying to prove their progressive credentials.

Their direct target wasn’t Obama himself, but rather his former vice president, Joe Biden, who leads a large pack of Democrats looking to distinguish themselves in the party’s crowded presidential primary fight. Biden has tied himself closely to Obama, casually referring to his former boss as “Barack” in a bid to illustrate their closeness and benefit from his popularity.

This election is going to be more difficult for Democrats than many of the candidates seem to believe. Especially when it is so apparent to voters that they are willing to abandon their own past.


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