On Thanksgiving I received an email from Organizing for America, in which President Barack Obama expressed his thankfulness for my help in getting him elected and for my continued support. He wrote:
When Michelle and I sit down with our family to give thanks today, I want you to know that we'll be especially grateful for folks like you.
Everything we have been able to accomplish in the last two years was possible because you have been willing to work for it and organize for it.
And every time we face a setback, or when progress doesn't happen as quickly as we would like, we know that you'll be right there with us, ready to fight another day.
Today, I sent the president a reply to that email. Follow me below the fold to read what I had to say to him (or his campaign staff).
Dear Mr. President,
In 2008, I gave many hours of my time canvassing for your campaign in Virginia. I enthusiastically volunteered and voted for you because I believed that you would be a bold leader fighting for progressive values and policies if you were elected president.
Today, I cannot even say that I'm sure I would vote for you again if you run for reelection. As president, you have moved further and further to the right on many issues. I was disappointed that you did not fight for a public option in the health care reform bill. I was disappointed that you did not close the Guantanamo Bay prison. I was disappointed that you did not allow investigations of high ranking Bush administration officials who authorized the use of torture. I was disappointed that you escalated the war in Afghanistan.
Now, I am surprised and very disappointed that you are giving in to the Republicans and proposing an extension of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest 1% of Americans -- something you said in your campaign that you would not do. This will add hundreds of billions of dollars to the deficit over the next few years and will likely necessitate deep spending cuts, at a time when America needs the government to spend more on stimulating the economy with investments in infrastructure improvements and emerging 21st century industries such as renewable energy technologies.
During the last two years, you have shown a pattern of not standing up for progressive policies and compromising too much with conservative Republicans. I believe that the president of the United States needs to be a strong leader who will fight for the principles of his party, not allow the other party to win most of the battles on legislation and public perception. The Republican Party doesn't have the best interests of the American people at heart, so I don't see how you could honestly believe it's a good idea to bend over backwards to work with them and give them what they want on issue after issue.
Mr. President, sometimes it is worth standing on principle rather than always choosing the path of bipartisan compromise with today's extremist Republican Party. If you stood on principle for Democratic values, the progressive base of the Democratic Party would be enthusiastic to volunteer for you, donate to your campaign, and turn out to vote for you again. If you do not, they will not, and you will likely not be reelected.
Because you have repeatedly shown that you value compromise with the Republicans over standing up for progressive principles and policies, I am sad to say that I can no longer count myself as a supporter of your presidency. If you don't change course and begin taking a bolder and more principled stance as a president nominated by the Democratic Party, who was carried to victory by progressive activists who were expecting a leader who fights for their values, I will be unable to vote for you if you run again. If you want to govern as a center-right president, always compromising with the Republicans, then I would humbly suggest that you consider stepping aside at the end of your term and letting other Democrats, who want to fight for the party's platform, run for president in 2012.
I hope you will reconsider the path you have been taking to the right of most of your party and far to the right of your most enthusiastic supporters in 2008. If you change course and begin taking bold stances for progressive issues, you could earn back my support and the support of the millions of progressive Democrats -- especially young people like myself who invested so much hope in your candidacy two years ago -- who are very disappointed in your presidency so far.