The Obama Primary Challenge That Is
Salon.com's news editor, Steve Kornacki, lamented yesterday that "Obama won’t face a credible primary challenge", going on about how the closest thing to a liberal challenge he has comes from Republican candidate Buddy Roemer. While it is true that many liberals aren't seeing any "viable" candidates materialize on the left, Kornacki isn't telling us why that is: the failure of supposedly liberal pundits to report on candidates who are actually running.
And therein lies the catch-22 bloggers like Kornacki can't seem to escape from. They complain about Obama, but they refuse to use the public voice they've been given to alter the political landscape. Pundits influence public opinion simply by reporting on someone or something. And they pass up opportunity after opportunity to do so when they fail to do their journalistic duty.
Because there is a Democrat trying to get himself on the ballot to challenge Obama from the left in next year's primaries: Aldous Tyler is seeking the nomination to run for president as a liberal Democrat. His platform hits all the right notes, including opposition to war, taxation of the wealthy, a sustainable energy policy, cleaning up the environment, and restoring and protecting the safety net, among other positions. Tyler also favors heavily regulating Wall Street and corporations.
So why aren't supposedly liberal bloggers and pundits giving Aldous Tyler any coverage? Kornacki writes that "[t]he depths of liberal despair over his presidency are often overstated", meaning that bitch as they might about Obama, far too many who claim to be liberal aren't dissatisfied with his policies enough to want to be rid of him — and having so thoroughly bought into the Big Lie that Republicans are just so much worse than any Democrat no matter what the evidence disproving that notion, they fear that any challenge might weaken Obama to the point that the GOP nominee might manage to cheat his way to victory next year.
But it's Obama's fault that he is even in such a precarious political position in the first place. Having made big promises only to cold-bloodedly refuse to even try to deliver on so much as one of them, and after literally adding insult to injury by dissing his party's official base, it's no wonder that his campaign is looking a lot more like Al Gore's and John Kerry's lackluster, doomed efforts than, say, Bill Clinton's 1996 re-election drive. So coming out of a primary challenged beaten up and vulnerable isn't exactly a legitimate excuse not to cover challengers, especially ones from the left of the political divide.
Isn't it time to break the self-imposed media blackout on left-wing challenges to Obama? If Democrats are truly fed up with him, and are seeking alternatives, it only makes sense for those blessed with public voices, such as Steve Kornacki, Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow, or Ed Schultz to use their gifts to report on people like Aldous Tyler. The media might lament the lack of candidates, but that doesn't mean they don't exist. They only need to be reported on objectively, so voters can render their own decisions.