Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Liberals' discontent:

John Aravosis over at Americablog has a stimulating (and long) post about why progressives are in a funk over Obama. The post was in reaction to Robert Gibbs' recent statements. Some excerpts: (emp add)
The left isn't upset with the President because we're just too darned demanding. We're upset with Barack Obama because he never seems to try. He talks a good talk, but when it comes time to actually follow through on his promises, he winces.

Take health care reform. The President was AWOL for a good year while health care reform floundered in the Congress. Rather than get his hands dirty, and spend some political capital actually pushing for what he promised - a public option, which Barack Obama himself had repeatedly said was the best way to increase competition and lower prices - the President, other than a few speeches here and there, disappeared for a year.

Gibbs talks about how difficult it is for the White House to get anything done in the face of a uniform Republican opposition. Except, of course, the GOP wasn't uniform at all in February of 2009, when the White House caved on the stimulus and showed its true colors to the Republican party. If anything, this White House helped unify the Republicans by constantly, and unnecessarily, pandering to them at every turn.

The country was on the verge of economic collapse. We were on the verge of another Great Depression. And rather than fight for the correct amount of medicine that was needed to save our nation, this President decided to opt for less than what was needed to save our nation. And he didn't opt for less at the end of the negotiation, after pushing really hard for the full amount. He opted for less at the beginning, because he didn't want to fight for it. Which is his usual pattern. Cave first, negotiate later, then act surprised when people are upset when the final agreement is so weak, and accuse them of being politically naive and unrealistic.

[Re White House comment that]
He’s also added diversity to the Supreme Court by nominating two female justices, including the court’s first Hispanic. Yet some liberal groups have criticized his nominees for not being liberal enough.
Clarence Thomas added diversity to the Supreme Court too. The substance of the nominees' beliefs really don't matter?

This comment, about the Supreme Court diversity, is illustrative of a larger problem this White House has. They tend to prefer symbolism over substance. Better to appoint a woman to the court than someone who would actually advance the President's worldview (if he has one).
What caught my eye was the assertion that Obama helped unify the Republicans by pandering to them. Is that true? Would Obama have succeeded in fragmenting the Republicans (enough to get legislation passed faster and without compromises) if he had played hardball? Difficult to say. Until now, the story was that Republicans' unity was of their own making. But maybe Obama's stance towards them - always reaching out - may have been a component as well.


If "the professional left" sits out the midterms and 2012, I hope they're prepared to welcome their new Republican overlords.

By Anonymous Death Panel Truck, at 8/12/2010 7:30 AM  

silly deathy, you know you can't rely on a bunch of drugged out hippies.

By Anonymous omen, at 8/16/2010 4:19 PM  

Drugged out hippies would be slightly more reliable, not to mention considerably less predictable, than career politicians. The centre-right (viciously portrayed as far-left) has made a habit of folding on a royal flush.

By Anonymous Probably a commie, at 8/19/2010 1:09 PM  

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