Sunday, May 17, 2009

President Obama and his base 

Josh Gerstein has an article posted today at Politico entitled: "Some on left souring on Obama." An excerpt:
"Barely four months into his presidency, Obama is confronting growing dissatisfaction among members of his liberal base, who feel spurned by a series of his early decisions on issues ranging from guns to torture to immigration to gay rights.

"The list got longer last week as Obama reversed his earlier decision to release photos of detainees abused in U.S. military custody and announced plans to try some terror suspects before military commissions – though on the campaign trail he railed against earlier versions of the tribunals.

"A few, like MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, have even hurled the left’s ultimate epithet – suggesting that Obama’s turning into George W. Bush."
I believe that a fair analysis of the first four months of all post-WWII presidencies would indicate that President Obama has had the most activist and liberal start to his term on any comparative basis. If President Obama is really facing growing dissatisfaction among members of his liberal base, then, in the immortal words of Goldmember, "Oh well, then, there is no pleasing you."

There may be some conservative readers out there thinking that this is just part of a disinformation campaign so that those on the left can say, "see, we don't like A,B and C, about President Obama, so he really is a centrist," thus allowing that perception to be maintained throughout his first term in the run up to 2012. Then again, the people doing the criticizing do have a tendency to want things their way, and have a history of falling in and out of love with politicians, and may not fully appreciate the difference between campaigning and governing. It's possible that President Obama has access to information now that he did not have during the campaign, and that his liberal supporters still don't have. It's also possible that those expressing dissatisfaction wouldn't be fully satisfied with anybody, or wouldn't be satisfied with anyone to the right of an American version of Grigory Zinoviev, ably portrayed in the movie "Reds" by Polish-born novelist and actor Jerzy Kosinski.

It is worth reading all of Josh Gerstein's piece and forming your own conclusions.

All of that said, I have a C-note in my pocket that says that President Obama will not face a meaningful challenge in the 2012 Democratic primaries from the left. Let's define that as no one challenger candidate receiving more than 20% of the popular or caucus vote in any one state. Any takers on a $100 bet (er, not indexed for inflation 3 years out)?


By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun May 17, 05:30:00 PM:

Obama is seeking to irritate the far left, in order to seem more moderate than he really is, and he's picking at issues that will distract the right from the budget, court and health care fights to come. One might describe it as "disinformation", but I think it is just more campaign politics and I am tired of it.

If Obama faces a challenge in 2012 then that'll happen because the Democrats get tired of perpetual campaign mode too. Leadership is missing, and I only hope that while our President is fiddling around some Biden-esque challenge doesn't really burn us.

PS, OT, but did you notice the VP cuckoo-head gaffingly released the location of the secret bunker where he is supposed to hide in when under attack? Clowns to the left of me...  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun May 17, 06:16:00 PM:

Obama will cruise to re-election in 2012 for the narrative is already being written: You can't possibly deny a "black man" his right to a second term. Why it would be racist to do so.

That is the same reason there is precious little criticism of Barry today, the left has scared everyone else into silence for fear of being called a racist if one criticizes the bi-racial, former muslim in the White House.

There is no debate, no critiques of his obviously statist/socialist policies, his disarming of our country and his pandering to Islam and Islamic states.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun May 17, 06:18:00 PM:

You are excluding his financial/organisational BASE.
The money and organising that is brought to bear by Oprah,George Soros and many ChiCom sponsored blogs ,boots on the ground(employment)programs and media propaganda by owned or on payroll
?journalists? Remember the RECORD amount of money raised by WHO//ThE MoSt QuAlIfIeD canidate in history?? NOT!!!  

By Blogger Kinuachdrach, at Sun May 17, 07:33:00 PM:

LBJ was (pre-Obama) the most left-wing president ever -- Great Society, etc. Entered office with very high public support following the assassination of Kennedy. Highly activist too -- personally approved bombing targets in North Vietnam. Yet the left-wingers rejected him, and he did not even run for re-election.

Nixon was also pretty far to the left -- started the EPA, etc. Yet left-wingers still foam at the mouth today at the mention of his name.

Let's just hope that there is an election in 3 1/2 years time -- what with the then expected catastrophic market for US government debt, no oil producer accepting dollars in payment, and Weimar=grade inflation.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun May 17, 08:50:00 PM:

President Obama is now a real person, not just an illusionary candidate. Regardless of whether or not he was well examined before the 2008 election is now....moot.

In terms of electoral politics, the question is whether he will build a consensus for his policies and results by 2012 that is going to have objective measurements, rather than "hope and change" and "we are the people you have been waiting for".
Analogous to the other thread on journalism. President Obama will have to produce tangible results to get re-elected. Who is satisfied with those results is the question.


By Blogger Unknown, at Sun May 17, 08:55:00 PM:

I'm really surprised that we haven't seen any activity to make him president for life yet.  

By Blogger SR, at Sun May 17, 11:29:00 PM:

I suspect that the recession drags on. If we haven't been attacked. Obama stays. His policies morph
into Clinton.  

By Blogger Georg Felis, at Mon May 18, 12:12:00 AM:

Simplified: Obama has both ruled from a farther Left stance than a majority of Americans are comfortable with, AND failed to rule from as far a Left stance as a great number of his base. Which is no surprise, because he could not run a functional country from the far-Left loony bin.

He's really got his rump stuck in a crack, if he goes Left any farther, his popularity will go in the tubes, if he seems to go Centrist any, his frothing nutball Leftist supporters might actually find a new Hero De Jour. The one thing that would be deadly to his administration, would be the continuing malaise in the economy, paired with no real large-scale violent attacks against the US abroad. Nobody to blame but the Dems.  

By Blogger RPD, at Mon May 18, 03:41:00 PM:

If Carter could get a second nomination, i sure Obama can.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue May 19, 08:17:00 AM:

You're joking about Obama's not getting re-nominated by the Democrats. There's no Ted Kennedy to run against Obama's Carter today -- and there won't be one in 2012.

We're likely to have at least a weak recovery in 2010 that will carry into 2011, bought with post-dated checks ... even if pissed away, a $1.8 trillion deficit will have its effects -- call it a sugar rush.

The Republicans are in dissarray -- I don't see that changing. Thus, to the Democrats, Obama will look like a winner for awhile. To challenge him for the nomination, someone would have have to organize in 2011, or have serious cred ... no Dem has that cred except Hillary and she's been co-opted. It's interesting that the other "major" Democrats in 2008 were John Edwards, Chris Dodd and Bill Richardson -- all of whom were exposed.

Obama proved in Chicago that he's a nasty politician -- he just lets others be the public face of it. Anyone who hinted of a challenge would be ruthlessly dealt with. Obama might let Dennis Kucinich run -- as foil and court jester.

Link, over  

By Blogger Noumenon, at Tue May 19, 10:01:00 AM:

All I know is on my family's discussion web site I merged the President threads into "Bush III/Obama I: I Forgot the Difference." On torture, tax cuts, TARP, and deficits, so far the only thing he's done different is his executive orders on the first day.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue May 19, 10:16:00 AM:

Political strategist John Weaver sees the GOP getting its ass kicked: "If it's 2012 and our party is defined by Palin and Limbaugh and Cheney, then we're headed for a blowout" ... No shit ... I'd add [Jeb] Bush to his list.

Recall that McCain polled much better than the Republican party did in 2008 -- if he hadn't been at the top of the ticket it would have been worse, an inconvenient fact for the likes of Rush. Imagine if it had been Romney ... in September - October, Obama-Axelrod would have made him a piñata.

The White House Correspondents Dinner is supposed to be a roast of the incumbent -- this last one was instead scripted to attack Palin, Limbaugh, Cheney and Bush. That wasn't an accident ... Obama-Axelrod love this dynamic. They'll pick a fight with these four at every opportunity. Rush loves the attention and the ratings.

This dynamic is bad -- many in the Republican party would rather keep control and lose instead of being an effective opposition -- at a time when we need to stop Obama. Two years of Obama dominance is bad -- eight will be disastrous. Right now, Republicans are irrelevant on a national level -- a handful of blue dog Democrats matter more.

The Republicans are counting on Obama to fail on the economy and then to step in -- they see a replay of Jimmy Carter ... but it won't play that way. We're likely to have at least a weak recovery in 2010 that will carry into 2011, bought with post-dated checks ... even if pissed away, a $1.8 trillion deficit will have its effects -- call it a sugar rush. Although Obama is gutting the potential of our private sector -- we won't see the effects for awhile.

Gay marriage is a losing issue for the right, it only plays to the base. It worked a few years ago, but today it only enforces the GOP as the party of No. Look for Obama-Axelrod to bait the right with this -- "Why punish love?"

Link, again  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue May 19, 10:33:00 AM:

Link, I'm just not as depressed as you seem to be about GOP prospects among voters. If you'll take a few breaths and count to ten, you'll realize that the GOP has lacked a compelling articulation of message for at least a decade, and has won a few elections despite that truth. Voters accepted the spendthrift GOP for all this time in hopes of keeping a strong national defense. Once Obama convinced voters the Democrats could be trusted on national defense to follow Bush policies, the only point of comparison was "which spendthrift party would you rather accept, one that promises you nothing or one that promises you free medical insurance?"

If the GOP can find a leader to articulate a more effective response to the national economic trauma, a better way to pay for medical care, and spending restraints on government, we can still win (and, easily). Consistently we must stay strong on national defense and lose no opportunity to remind the Democrats of how vulnerable they are on that issue.

We need a governor, a Washington outsider, to step up the attack against the many destructive and pernicious Obama policies. Start friendly, look for opportunity to distinguish the positions of one party over another, shoot a few GOP big spenders to make the point absolutely clear (I wish we had a Republican Murtha or Byrd we could go after), and wait for the voters to take an interest. One thing is certain, the voters will lose their love for the Obama administration as failure seeps in, and having made a loyal opposition case on the economy forever will serve us well.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue May 19, 11:12:00 AM:

Link, one further point to consider: right now, the primary voices, and maybe the only voices, being heard on the subject of refreshing the GOP are the Democrat media and those in the GOP whose interests are best served by aiding the Democrats.

Fox spends so much time trying to move the party into crazy territory, but why? Why do they have people like Glen Beck on every day? Why do they let nutjobs who are anti-science, anti-evolution and anti-government (any government) have free play on their network, day in and day out? Today they had Michael Steele on and spent the whole time discussing a GOP "agenda" he wants nothing to do with, mostly because it's a silly waste of oxygen. All this Fox-led noise on the right is indistinguishable from NYT BS, it's pure anti-GOP advocacy, and it's leader at FOX is Mike Huckabee.

Huckabee is articulate, personable, and truly weird in his beliefs. I wonder sometimes if he has naked pictures of Roger Ailes or something, because the network has given him a show and a platform. He's a high tax populist when it suits him, an anti-intellectual when that suits, a small town preacher when that is called for and a guitar playing classic rock musician. Huckabee is nothing but a smooth talking artifact, but he's one with a major TV network jumping to whatever tune he's humming. Ignore him at your peril, I suppose, but also don't think he's got any sort of a political future at all. The fact that guys like Huckabee and Frank Rich can make common cause on "reforming" the GOP tells you that the real reforms haven't yet begun. Time is our friend.  

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