Thursday, March 11, 2010

Are Liberals Fed Up With President Obama?

A pair of news articles portray growing discontent with President Obama among liberals. First, Politico reports that the Congressional Black Caucus -- the most liberal coalition in Congress -- believes that the Obama Administration has snubbed the group. One incident reported in the article describes conflict between Obama and Representative John Conyers (a senior black member of Congress). Conyers has voiced deep criticism of Obama on healthcare and Afghanistan. According to Politico, President Obama called Conyers and told him that his critiques were "demeaning."

President Obama's response to Conyers has ruffled some feathers:

That report [regarding Conyers and Obama] didn’t sit well with many African-American lawmakers, aides and lobbyists, who revere Conyers as an elder statesman.

"Conyers has been in Congress longer than Barack Obama could spell," said a black strategist close to both the White House and Congress. "If he’s making a complaint, it’s a shot across the bow, and you might want to pay attention to that."
Some of the battles, however, sound like "turf warfare." For example, CBC members complain that Obama met with Ben Jealous (head of the NAACP) and Reverend Al Sharpton although they are still waiting to meet with the President.

Perhaps that meeting with Jealous and Sharpton has translated into political support. Recently, Jealous and Sharpton both passionately defended Obama against criticism by some black politicians who say that he is not doing enough to address the concerns of poor people and blacks.

Coincidentally, these are the exact same allegations that Sharpton has made repeatedly against other presidents and politicians -- including Democrats. Now, Sharpton argues that it is ridiculous to expect Obama to push a "black agenda." It is probably immature to expect any president to advance something narrowly described as a "black agenda." But promoting equal economic opportunity and equality are not "black agendas"; these are universal concerns that liberals expect Democrats to pursue.

A second article, in USA Today, suggests that Obama is losing his liberal base. Although liberals still support Obama in great numbers, there are growing signs of discontent. On issues ranging from national security to healthcare reform, Obama has faced conflict with progressives.

Donna Brazile, an Obama supporter, says that: "The energized base which transformed the nation and elected our first black president [is] now disengaged. . . If this was September, I would hit the panic button." Although liberals have criticized the President, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs says that the notion that Obama has taken liberals for granted is "silly." Note to Gibbs: The flip dismissal of liberal concerns will not do much to alleviate existing tensions.


liberal dissent said...

I think there are valid criticisms to be made of Obama concerning the actual promises and representations he made. But ultimately Obama ran as a centrist, and it shouldn't surprise anyone if he actually operates as one. Personally I think the fact that he was willing to step into the health care morass (and I would have advised against it right now, it's a distraction and it's risked getting the rightwing-dominated wing of the republican party back in power) is a big concession to the left.

Darren Lenard Hutchinson said...

I would disagree on the Obama ran as a "centrist." He ran as an "everything" during the Democratic Primaries and as a "centrist"/reformer during the general election.

I always saw Obama as a moderate, but he tried to appease everyone to get the Democratic nomination. I think liberals made the most noise and created the most hype about him, and the media -- favoring him -- portrayed him as more liberal and sophisticated than Hillary Clinton in order to pull educated elites to his ticket.

More importantly, I think that regardless of how presidents frame their campaigns, they MUST do things for their base. Liberals are a solid part of the Democratic base, and liberals gave him the primary. Hence, it is not unreasonable for liberals to criticize him -- even though he is definitely a moderate -- when they believe he is not meeting their standards.

LETICIA said...

If you look back, the trail of broken promises from Obama is pretty disturbing. On healthcare reform, there's his indifference and/or hostility towards the public option, actively campaigning to stop drug reimportation while making backroom deals with drug companies, and a whole lot more I could list.
He's also continued to make use of many of the same Bush/Cheney policies regarding torture, indefinite detention, and rendition. Then there's no real effort to punish Wall Street for their efforts to destroy the economy, or any real push for regulation to prevent something like that from happening again.
The list is getting bigger every day, and a lot of these issues aren't just "liberal" issues, they are everyone's issues.
As harsh as it may sound, all Obama is to me right now is an unprincipled empty suit with great speech making skills.

ea mic said...

Obama ran as an off the cuff socialist/Marxist. Most people missed the comments he made, or didnt pick up on the before it was too late. Now we are seeing him for what he is. Darren Lenard Hutchinson said..."even though he is definitely a moderate" Obama is by no means a moderate unless you go to the liberal side, go to the far far left of the liberals, go past that to the extremists and then in that company classify him as a moderate in the middle of that camp. Clinton was an extreme liberal for 2 years, the a moderate for the next 6. Obama has learned no such "useful trick", and im sure it will cost him this election. His promise to "fundamentally change America" was in a true moderates eyes a threat. Yes liberals are losing faith in him, because he hasnt been as radical as they want, but the average liberal is only mildly unhappy with him. The rest of the political spectrum is NOT happy at all. independents and conservatives both are as unhappy with him as the MSM was with W. the vast majority of Americans dont want "obamacare" and his domestic policy is a complete failure that he continues to blame on bush, despite W's 8 year unemployment average at about 5.25%. Its getting to the point where im ALMOST ready to slap a bumper sticker on my truck that says "I miss George W. Bush"

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