Have Progressives Had Enough of President Obama?
December 9, 2010
(ChattahBox Op/Ed) – As I wrote on Tuesday, the Progressive base of the Democratic Party is mad as hell at President Obama and in my considered opinion it has the potential to get much worse. This is not just a hangover that will go away with a few Advil and a greasy meal. Far from it. And an article in yesterday’s print edition of the New York Times echoes a sentiment I put forth at the end of that piece on Tuesday. Obama may be seeing a Primary challenger come 2012.
I’ve spent a considerable amount of time over the past few days taking calls from some well placed political operatives, some inside and some outside the Beltway. Our conversations have not been garden variety “how ya doing” talks either. There is trouble brewing inside the beltway and those well placed operatives have made it crystal clear to me that the Democratic Caucus is outraged and feel sold out, because according to these same sources higher placed Democrats were told personally by the President that he was not going to do what he ended up doing. Basically they were lied to at the end of the day.
And as much as I’m no big fan of former Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel, he would have never allowed the President to make this deal with Republicans. Although the compromise has not yet been approved, it will be, even through all the noise and positioning, it will surely be approved.
The fall-out will be fascinating to watch, and hopefully not too damaging to governing over the next two years, but the time to worry about that vanished as soon as Obama announced this compromise knowing all too well what he was doing. Right now it is not just about people not being happy, what it is about is confidence in our leader and as I am typing these words the Democratic leadership has no confidence in President Obama.
I’m not at all concerned about who may step up an attempt to challenge Obama in a Primary showdown in 2012 because history tell us that there is certainly nothing new about a sitting President having a challenger from his own Party (think Ted Kennedy and Ronald Reagan). Obama would be forced to defend himself to his own Party and there will be too many Democrats that won’t allow the President to lose in a Primary, but the damage would be done it’s that it almost certainly guarantees that the sitting President will assuredly lose in the general election to a Republican.
I promise you that Republicans with this one compromise got everything they needed for Christmas in that one political mistake by the President.
I’m ignoring the parting shots some recently defeated Democrats are taking at the President because they should have done more to support him during the last two years. In fact I can easily state that had Democrats not been so placid on so many issues the November 2 elections would have turned out differently, but they didn’t. Take your lumps and go home.
I’ve become an angry Democrat again, as I was during most of the Bush years, as much as I despise having to write it, it is the truth. My disappointment is well documented on these page, but I will add for the sake of my own sanity that the only way President Obama can regain the trust of his Party and his base he is going to have to be a flawless and die hard leader who will not allow even one single unreasonable Republican demand to see the light of day, and that is just this side of impossible.
Challenges abound and if you are a casual political observer you probably see this as entertainment, but the issues are too serious to be flip about such things. If you are a Republican you are all saying “told you so” but you are wrong on that score mostly because President Obama gave Republicans something they didn’t expect, respect. It’s the people who elected him that have come to the depressing realization that the Progressive we elected is not the Progressive we got. That is clear. It’s also profoundly disappointing.
OK, election promises made are not kept and nothing new there, right? Yeah, maybe, but when you believe in change that matters. When you suffer though eight years of unlawful dictatorship and embarrassing leadership that defined the essence of George W. Bush and then someone comes along who looked you in the eye and promised radical change and transparency and you don’t come close to getting it, it hurts. Sure it does. Why shouldn’t it be personal?
The only good news in all this is the President now knows exactly what is expected and what he must do to regain the trust and confidence of those who elected him. If he doesn’t draw a line in the sand now, we will – we have. Your turn Mr. President. We are waiting but not for too much longer.
Tony Trupiano is a former national syndicated progressive radio talk show host, author, and a former candidate for Congress. He is also a nationally recognized media trainer. He can be reached at email@example.com and can read his Blog at http://www.mediatraining.me