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Now that the boycott seems to be ending, The Daily Kos is starting to look like a "Praise Obama Telethon" again.  There's much ado about the president's new jobs proposal, with many of the diarists on this site lauding Obama for finding his inner liberal...which begs the question: What made Obama change directions?  

We know the president didn't wake up last week and suddenly discover his inner liberal; he is not a liberal, and he never will be; no, he changed because millions of democrats had the courage and conviction to voice their disapproval with his policies.  

He changed because the reality on the ground did not match his belief that he could bring about meaningful change in D.C. by compromising with the republicans.

He changed directions because of the efforts of members, union members, Latino voters, members of the Gay/Lesbian community, the anti-war activists, and the hard working members of the green coalition.

From Ezra Klein:

Why the White House changed course

President Obama’s deficit-reduction plan (pdf) is most interesting for what’s not in it. It does not cut Social Security by “chaining” the program’s cost-of-living increases. It does not raise the eligibility age for Medicare from 65 to 67. Nor does it include any other major concessions to Republicans. Rather, the major compromise it makes is with political reality — a reality that the White House would prefer not to have had to acknowledge.

Many of Obama's watered-down policies have not been popular, and his willingness to compromise with the vilest of politicians has cost him political support from many independents, a bloc that he had counted on to sweep him into office in 2012.  Now, a number of Obama supporters are trying to sweep the president's failures under the rug while they sing praises for his new Progressive direction, but that is a mistake.  If they fail to acknowledge the discontent that lingers and the concerns for several of the bill's political problems for the Democrats, then they run the risk of alienating a number of people who are standing on the side line weighing the political and practical viability of the proposal.

Obama does not want to acknowledge that his base forced him to change directions.

As Digby says: would appear that once again the left is relegated to premature anti-fascist status instead of being granted the respect of being right

But what is different this time, and what is relevant at this point, is that the Democratic Party can no longer take the Progressive wing of the party for granted, and if they fail to acknowledge our contribution in bringing about this new direction, then they will run the risk of alienating many members of the base again.  A lot of us are waiting to see if this new program is just another political ploy by Obama during an election cycle or if it is a meaningful proposal that will bring about change.  

If he does not win against the republicans this time, and if the jobs bill is all rhetoric instead of a bill that brings about significant jobs gains, then his credibility with many members of the base will be damaged beyond repair.

And the political reality is that this program does nothing to resolve the anger that many progressives feel because of his ecology failures, his unwillingness to prosecute the white collar and military criminals in our country, his escalation of the war in Afghanistan, his unwillingness to end Bush policies of surveying American citizens...and the list goes on.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Um . . . this is all theater (4+ / 0-)

    He's back to campaign mode, and he's looking to shore up his base going into the campaign season. First, make sure no one primaries him from the left. Then, he'll go to the middle in 2012. Not one job will come out of this for anyone.

    •  He doesnt really have to worry about a primary (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      challenge among Dems. His numbers among Dems is fairly good, and those who dont like him really dont have a credible challenger.

      •  There aren't many credible that can beat him (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Pilkington, crose, Brooke In Seattle

        but there are several that could enter the primary and debate him and call him out for being the pawn of Wall Street and enabling the people that got us into this mess.  They could ask why sacrifice always comes from the middle class and call him out on his moral cowardice when it has come to dealing with the plutocrats.

        Not to mention attacking him over escalating the attacks on civil liberties from the Bush era.

        Look at the tea party.  Most of them aren't electable in any real sense.  But by challenging their party from the right they forced the party to move right and sent the message that unless they pull right, they will lose the base.

        We need to challenge from the left and send that same message.

        Put it this way, why are SS and Medicare always under attack?  It's fairly simple, the right by default wants them gone.  Clinton and Obama aren't liberals, so they just seek to defend them.  That's a losing debate, because it always ends with more getting cut.  But what if, just what if, part of the national debate was why not GROW them?  What if part of the debate was why not have more mandatory vacation days a year, why not lower the SS and Medicare age?

        We can't keep playing defense on these things with half ass'd cowardly Presidents and leaders, that's why we keep failing.  The debate is always "let's kill medicare" vs "let's not kill medicare" and then we meet somewhere in the middle and the leaders personal fan club goes home and pats themselves on the back for supporting someone who didn't give the right everything they want.  And then the same damn thing happens next year, and the next, and the next.  I say to hell with that.  Have someone that goes out and says "we need to lower the medicare age because it costs too much to have people wait for it and get more expensive treatment later" and negotiate to move things our way.

        Let the right throw a fit over it.  That fit is going to happen anyways as long as medicare exists.

        You know we Democrats are slowly winning on social issues?  We're the ones making the demands, we're playing offense, not defense.

        Reducing cuts to a program is not a victory, growing the program is.

        "Foolproof systems don't take into account the ingenuity of fools."

        by overclocking on Mon Sep 19, 2011 at 09:04:42 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Exactly right. A nod to the base?? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Pilkington, praenomen

      Hardly. He could give a rats ass about the base. This was theater. But it was pretty good theater just the same, leaving the ball in their court. It's high stakes, but he has a 50/50 chance of winning this chess move. Which is better odds than he has had since the inauguration. I'm doubling down that he wins this move. Not that a single job is "created." Hardly. Just that Americans perceive that it's Obama and not the Teahadists that have us pointed in the right direction. He wins this move he changes the narrative and gains a few approval points. He loses he likely loses the election.

      •  On the politics I agree, it's a decent move (0+ / 0-)

        I'm just not that impressed with a political move that I already know will not result in any real improvements in people's lives. He is President you know, not just a candidate for reelection.

        •  Teahadists hate the N-word in the White House. (0+ / 0-)

          Hate. Despise. Want him dead. He first needs to win before he can do anything, and the Playbook he's been running and running and running for three years hasn't worked. Yes, this move is pure theater and purely political, but I would argue it's about fucking time he got political. He doesn't win we're sucking Bachman's ass for eight years telling ourselves it tastes good. He wins... well, maybe he can get a job or two created. But, there's absolutely zero chance one is created under Teahadist rule. None. So, I'll settle for the theater and politics and hope it blossoms into a job or two. Becuz the alternative is eight stinky years.

  •  Why dont we support him then? (7+ / 0-)

    When Obama does something we dont like, he gets trashed. But when he does something we like he gets...trashed. Something doesnt seem quite right there.

    He cant get legislation passed by himself. So why dont we help him get it passed?

    •  Because he hasn't done anything yet (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      praenomen, crose

      He gave a speech, nothing has yet to come from this.  He gave a ton of speeches and promised a ton of stuff back in 2008.  Then he went about not doing anything he promised, busting his ass to get Wall Street criminals off the hook, attacking SS and Medicare, launched another war, and lobbed into shared sacrifice.

      So... he pretty much lied his ass of in 2008.  Fool me once...

      So now, we are coming up on another election and he's promising the moon again, that's funny.

      I already know he will say and promise anything to get elected, I've seen this bullshit before.  What I don't know is if he will actually act on it once he gets our votes, all signs point to no about now.

      I'm hoping something comes from this, but Obama has been proven to promise one thing and then do another as soon as he has a chance to.  Then when people get upset he gives another speech, and then promptly does something else as well.

      "Foolproof systems don't take into account the ingenuity of fools."

      by overclocking on Mon Sep 19, 2011 at 08:48:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You didnt read my comment, I guess (0+ / 0-)

        He cant get something passed on his own. And if the right criticizes his policies, and the left does nothing to get it passed, then it wont get passed. And he wont really have any reason to listen to the left.

    •  I disagree. You think the new jobs bill is good, (0+ / 0-)

      but not everyone agrees.  There are a few holes that prove it is more "theater" as Pilkington says and not substance.  There is very little chance it will be passed, and the only parts of the bill that the republicans have said that they like are the parts that I don't like...

      As far as primary challengers, if the diary that was posted earlier about Nader primarying Obama is true, then I think it can't be taken for granted that Obama will be a shoo-in during the next election.

      Obama gets "trashed" for not producing the results that positively effect the lives of average Americans....he is too closely identified with the fat cats on Wall Street.  It might not seem right to you because you are willing to overlook his many failures.

      •  Overclocking, this reply was meant for jj32. (0+ / 0-)

        Sorry it came up in the wrong place.

      •  Nader apparently not running (0+ / 0-)

        Too much of a  coward, he is trying to get someone else to run. You really think he would be any challenge for Obama?

        I'm not willing to overlook his failures, but if the left isnt going to support him and help get his policies passed when they like him, then I dont know that the complaints are really valid.

        •  Doesn't it tell you how pitiful a shape the (0+ / 0-)

          Democratic Party is in that we can't find one person who is likeable enough to challenge a president whose numbers have fallen into the 30s?

          But, I still think there will be a challenger unless Obama takes additional action.

          Why should we support Obama's policies when we don't trust him?  I've read a ton of diaries today where people have said they would like to support this jobs bill but Obama won't take Medicaid and Medicare off the table, and everyone says the same thing: I don't trust him.

          •  Who is "we"? (0+ / 0-)

            His numbers among Dems are still fairly good, nothing like Carter's when he was challenged.

            The liberal blogosphere is great, but just because it feels a certain way, doesnt mean other people do.

            John Edwards did quite well here in straw polls, but was largely irrelevant outside of Iowa in the primaries. Alan Grayson is very popular here, but lost badly in his swing district.

          •  And while his numbers arent great, (0+ / 0-)

            I'm not sure about numbers "fallen in the 30s." One poll, Gallup, had him at 38 or 39 a few times, while pretty much every other poll had him in the low to mid 40s. Again, not great, but not the 30s either.

            I think it's a bit irrational to not support him when he actually does something you agree with. Reward good behavior. The right wing is going to go after his policies strongly, and they have already with this deficit reduction plan. If he gets no support from the left, hard to see how he continues to support more liberal policies.

            •  How many times do I have to point out that (0+ / 0-)

              there is nothing he has done that "I agree with" how can I be irrational by not supporting him?

              I support traditional Democratic values, and Obama does not....

              As far as his numbers go, there are two threads that are worth watching: the constant drum beat of those who understand that Obama's policies have driven our party over the cliff, and the constant stream of propaganda that is trying to shore up the president's popularity.

    •  I don't care if this is just a campaign (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      strategy, it's the right thing to do.

      And smart as well....he could have taken a defensive position to protect the Big Three, but he took that off the table....and took the offensive and pushed for tax reform. That leaves the repubs protecting tax cuts for CEO's while the rest of the nation knows they've been getting a free ride at everyone's expense.

      These special tax cuts are on extension, and they are due to expire next year anyway. If the repubs want to make this a hill to die on in 2012, so be it.

      I'm a pretty vocal critic of Obama, but if he's willing to make a stand on this, I'll back him all the way. And I will be happy to make the contribution to him that I begrudgingly committed to last week.

      •  Thank you, you seem to get my point (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bleeding blue
        I'm a pretty vocal critic of Obama, but if he's willing to make a stand on this, I'll back him all the way.

        Exactly. Criticize him when he is wrong, but support him when he is right.

      •  Obama has a credibility problem. (0+ / 0-)

        I agree with Matt Taibbi: I can't believe anything the president says, and until he starts living up to his promises, I will continue to doubt him.  That is the problem with having broken so many promises...after awhile, no one believes you.

        He has to actually accomplish something that is meaningful before many of us will buy into his rhetoric.  

        I'm glad that you have so much faith in him: I don't.

  •  I think he changed because of the polls (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brooke In Seattle

    and because it finally sank into the WH how bad the economy really was. They earlier gave the impression of thinking there would be a rebound by now, and people would look up, and they would coast to victory without too much effort to fix it.

    Now they know next year's campaign takes place with a lousy economy. So they have to appear more active about people's well-being if they want to win.

    Also it's hard to figure what the game really is ... it's clear that what the economy truly needs won't pass. It also appears that Obama has not broken with his confidence fairy economists.

    So maybe this is all risk-free theater.

    But still, it's better than the caving. He does defend some liberal principles in this mode.

    Here I am! I'm up here! Where are you? - the Red-eyed Vireo

    by mightymouse on Mon Sep 19, 2011 at 09:05:51 PM PDT

    •  I might agree with you, but I think if we continue (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      to settle for "better than nothing" or "better than caving," then we will get what we settled for.

      And out of curiosity, why do you downplay the efforts of those who fought back and forced the president to the left?

      •  Look, (0+ / 0-)

        I think it is pretty obvious the President is playing to the Democratic base. We should welcome that and not tie ourselves into knots about why.

        The way to get more support, more of an ear, is to get behind the president on this bill, imperfect as it is. It is still the most Democratic economic bill this president has produced since taking office. We should reward that with praise, not derision.

        I'm from the carrot/stick school of politics, not all stick.

  •  I'm not sure what you all listened to, but the (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jan4insight, GrumpyOldGeek, Dancun74

    President has done EXACTLY what he said he would do on the campaign trail.

    His only real "failure" was in the debt ceiling bit.

    This jobs and deficit plan is PERFECTLY in line with the President's political philosophy.

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Mon Sep 19, 2011 at 09:13:46 PM PDT

    •  I think they were trying to read between the lines (0+ / 0-)

      and there was nothing between the lines.
      Or they skip a word or two.

      "I'm going to prepare a Jobs bill and give it to Congress to get it passed". "You should pass this bill right away!"

      Nobody said he was going to enact a Jobs bill.

      So our expectations are just resentments waiting to happen.

      "All people are born alike - except Republicans and Democrats" - Groucho Marx

      by GrumpyOldGeek on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 02:27:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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