As a general rule, in politics, you don't get what you don't demand. Simply because you demand it doesn't mean you get it- but of the things you don't demand, you get very few. When I state it plainly like that, your response is probably "no duh!" This is the most common complaint about Obama's negotiating strategy- his unwillingness to draw a line, and make demands, puts him in a weak bargaining position.
But what I was thinking while reading "Democrats doing the right thing" on Hullaballo was that this applies to us liberals as well. Do we give up and preemptively surrender as well?
There is a growing faction of progressives who have indicated that they will not support Barack Obama's re-election, and refuse to vote for him come election day 2012.
If for no other reason than control of the Supreme Court, I believe that stance is seriously misguided. And I suspect that many who hold that position today may soften as the reality of the danger the Republican nominee poses comes into clearer focus in the fall of next year.
If you're wondering why Obama feels no particular need to push Elizabeth Warren's nomination, regulate Wall Street, punish the Bush admin. war criminals, or do any of a large number of other things we'd like him to do, read those two paragraphs again. The answer is there.
What is it, that we liberals demand of our candidates? Not just ask nicely, not just prefer, but demand? David Atkins laid it out for your right there- the only thing we demand is non-conservatives on the Supreme Court. Not even liberals- just non-conservatives. That's it. That's the bar Obama has to clear to win our support.
Do I need to spell out what a supremely self-defeating political strategy this is? Let's just take a look at the Supreme Court issue by itself. All we demand of a Democratic President is that they nominate not-conservatives to the Supreme Court. So they nominate moderates. Republican Presidents- bowing to the demands of their base, nominate hard-line conservatives. So the court becomes a mixture of Democratic-nominated moderates, and Republican-nominated hard-line conservatives, and the center of the Supreme Court is where, exactly?
If this is all we demand, this is all we have the right to expect. I am not abandoning the Democratic party. (Can you say "straw-man argument"?) I am simply demanding more. It is the only way we are going to get any more.