Response to Peter Daou and hippie punching Dems
Peter Daou starts out with what I assumed was a facetious headline - How a handful of liberal bloggers are bringing down the Obama presidency.
At first describing the Obama team as bashing the left, Daou continues his post by agreeing with them.
With each passing day, I’m beginning to realize that the crux of the problem for Obama is a handful of prominent progressive bloggers...Virtually all the liberal bloggers who have taken a critical stance toward the administration have one thing in common: they place principle above party.
Proudly, he should add.
The essence of their critique is that the White House lacks a moral compass...From gay rights to executive power to war to the environment, the left increasingly believes the Obama White House lacks the moral courage to undo Bush’s radicalism.
Bzzzzttt. Wrong - which of us is naive enough not to understand that the people we are voting for are politicians? It's not about morality. As Peter said above, it's about principle - specifically, governing according to liberal/progressive principles, the ones in the Democratic party platform (the ones Obama has abandoned). Critical bloggers are impolite enough to point out that Obama has the courage to throw almost his entire base 'under the bus.' He's not lacking in courage - it's his goals we don't like. Earth to Peter Daou - Obama is governing exactly the way he wants to. His speeches may be full of civil liberties and gay rights, but his actions are the opposite.
Daou is helping the chorus of people who want to blame someone other than Obama for his unpopularity and likely Democratic losses in November.
Obama could sustain relentless attacks from the right, it’s what everyone expects, but when the left joins in, the bottom drops out. That’s why opinion-shapers in the liberal blogosphere exert inordinate influence over Obama’s fortunes. And from the growing alarm at the White House, it’s clear they know it.
I especially hate it when pundits have to throw in some mushy lump of conventional wisdom in order to prop up their seriousness.
As president, Obama has done much good and has achieved a number of impressive legislative victories.
No, actually, he hasn't. Unless you consider bills which continue to add money to the coffers of large corporations and the rich impressive victories.
His conclusion is especially vapid.
Obama’s answers [in the Rolling Stone article] reveal a man who seems sure of his decisions, confident he is doing the best he can do and convinced that the course he is charting is correct. Of course, most people feel that way about themselves. Actions and results will determine if he’s right. Let’s hope he is.
If, like Daou, you assume that Obama has a liberal agenda, this precisely describes the problem. Obama is not listening to his critics. By doing that, he's governing blindly, without reflection. His responses are not only ineffective but seem unprofessional for a politician. Obama should be using what he hears to improve his communication. If, like me, you assume that Obama doesn't have a liberal agenda, then of course he thinks he's doing just fine and his critics are fringe hippies.
On Daou's last comment, it's already possible to look at results and determine if Obama has been right. To sum up, on every issue, Obama has fallen far short of progressive goals. The economy is still bad, unemployment is up, foreclosures are worse with the HAMP bill, the wars continue (even if they've been renamed), civil liberties less protected than ever before, for most people help with health care is years away if it ever occurs, handling of the Gulf oil disaster was a disaster and continues to include a nifty government cover up.
Net: If it's true that Obama believes he's been doing the best he can do, he's wrong. Voters gave him a large majority in both houses of Congress and expected him to start delivering. Instead, he pretends to be a helpless victim of the obstructionist right. Excuses, which blame others for Obama's failure to use the power he has, are not acceptable. Or the alternative would be that Obama is successfully following the corporatist agenda he believes in - and again, voters are rightly incensed that he's not who he sold himself to be. Either way, he loses.