09
Dec
10

‘the psychic satisfaction of obama-bashing’

Robert Shrum: There is something at the heart of progressive politics that yearns to turn on its own. So it’s open season on Barack Obama.

It’s right to expect the assault from the right; the patently obvious plan there is to oppose, obstruct, deadlock, and depress the economy.

Now, from the other side of the spectrum, progressives and the Democratic chattering class are increasingly and, at times, even bitterly critical. Obama doesn’t fight enough, communicate enough, change enough. Even his great achievements are tainted….

…The next two years will be decisive, not just for the election, but also for a generation and more. The stakes are too high for liberals to indulge the psychic satisfaction of Obama-bashing.

But the cudgels are in full swing. Paul Krugman, the canary in the coalmine of the liberal commentariat, has just assailed “progressives who had their hearts set on Obama”: They “were engaged in a huge act of self-delusion.”

Disgruntled with Obama from the start, Krugman has a Nobel Prize in economics, but not politics; he has never explained what the president could have done, other than stamping his foot, to secure a trillion or more in stimulus followed by a second one.

….The prospect of realignment should still beckon Democrats. They should pursue it; they can and should prod Obama; but in a tough and testing time, they also have to offer him a measure of trust. The alternative is a lost chance to bend history and probably a long exile in a cul-de-sac of liberal righteousness without results.

… He and they have their share of mistakes, missed opportunities, and miscommunications. That could be said of every great president. So it’s time for progressives and Democrats to concentrate their convictions and come to this understanding: Barack Obama’s all we’ve got—and he’s already gotten more done than any president on our side in half a century.

Full article here



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