There has certainly been a persistent and growing gap between elite and non-elite progressive attitudes towards the 44th president and his administration. Liberal elite defections from the Obama camp started early and have spread steadily.
First off the grid were those angered by TARP and the coddling of miscreant CEOs and other elements of the financial community. They were quickly followed by civil libertarians upset by the failure to reverse Bush policies on surveillance and treatment of terrorist suspects; foreign policy doves alleging broken promises on Iraq and Afghanistan; and economists pining for mega-stimulus. The health reform debate produced another cohort of progressive dissenters baffled by the administration’s successive concessions to private health industry lobbies and Blue Dogs, while many environmentalists denounced a watered-down climate change bill before that entire effort was abandoned. In the months since the appalling 2010 midterm elections, progressives have largely deplored the president’s “cave” on expiration of the Bush tax cuts and, with ever-greater intensity, his advocacy of deficit reduction and “entitlement reform” as paramount national priorities.
Suffusing all these sources of discontent on the left has been a growing impatience with Obama’s steady commitment to bipartisanship in the face of Republican disrespect and obstruction; frustration over his apparent inability to articulate progressive values and goals in a way that mobilizes public opinion and gives hope to down-ballot Democrats; and contempt for suspected incompetence in such quotidian matters as executive and judicial appointments. To say that liberal elites are “disappointed” with Obama is a great understatement; terms of moral opprobrium such as “betrayal” and “sellout” are now routinely tossed at the White House.
But so far, this profound unhappiness has failed to translate into any tangible intramural challenge to the administration, in a way that defies all precedent. Why the liberal base has so little leverage with Obama Ed Kilgore Salon July 25, 2011
civil libertarians upset by the failure to reverse Bush policies on surveillance
Yeah, that one… Still…between stiff plutocrat-wannabee Willard’s incessant mendacities and the ridiculous performance art of the porcine, cosmic narcissist Gingrich, I’d be hard-pressed to not want to look forward to the festivities promised by the conjunction of Citizen’s United with Obama’s thin and newly rediscovered populism.