Obama Scapegoats His Own Voters

I was just going to write about how we should rally the troops to fight for strong progressives (as I did in this video), when Obama dragged me back into the fight between real progressives and the Obama administration. As Al Pacino said in Godfather III, every time I think I'm done with it, he keeps pulling me back in.

I don't want to bore you with the details of why they didn't fight for real change and how they accepted Washington exactly as it was  and made no effort to change its underlying structures and assumptions. We've been over it a million times. No, today the interesting part is why they brought up this old fight in the first place.

This was not a gaffe. It was not a slip about the "professional left" from someone who had grown frustrated. This was a coordinated strategy. Biden and Obama even used the same talking points. They hit their base for complaining and then both said it was time to "buck up." That's not an accident; that's planned.

One possibility is that they think yelling at their voters before an election is smart electoral politics. Accuse them of whining and taking their ball and going home. Treat them like children and maybe they'll comply? These are Democrats we're talking about so maybe they thought their voters would respond well to abuse. It is after all what Republicans have been using on Democratic politicians all of these years to great effect.

But I don't think that's it. That strategy is hardly inspiring and honestly I don't think I've ever seen a political party yell at their voters like this before an election. It's bizarre.

There is one other explanation. They think they're going to lose and they're setting up a scapegoat. It wasn't that they ran a bad campaign or that they didn't deliver on their promises - it was their ungrateful voters and the damned professional left. Actually, Washington reporters will love this. There is nothing they enjoy more than beating up on progressive activists and the Democratic base. This strategy is tailored made for the DC elite. They're going to eat it up!

But to what effect? Obama is so immersed in the DC bubble that he has forgotten the end goal. He is under the delusion that if he can just get the Washington media and politicians to like him everything will be fine. But that wasn't supposed to be the end goal. As a politician, you're supposed to get the voters to like you, not some DC media jerk.

I think they still believe that the DC media is a good proxy for the mood of the country. That is a stunning and inexcusable error. But they're so deep in, they can't even see that losing the election and winning over the DC establishment is not a win or a wash, that's a gigantic loss. Do you think making David Broder happy will win you the 2012 election?

Scapegoating the professional left might send the DC crowd into orgasmic seizures, but what does it do to win the country over? What does it do about unemployment? What does do about our rising insurance premiums (remember, the ones you said wouldn't rise)?

In a recent AP poll about the healthcare bill, people - by a 2-to-1 margin - said that it should have done more not less in reforming the system. That isn't the professional left, that's America. The progressive base is so much larger than the Tea Party clowns running around in Koch brother funded protests. Remember, those are the same progressives who got you elected in the first place.

So, you can shoot the messenger all you like but it isn't going to change the message. You didn't do too much government intervention as Fox News claims, you did too little. Too little to protect the average American, too little to help him or her get a job, too little to change the same old games in Washington.

Almost everyone in Washington is there because they succeeded in this broken, corrupt system. If you make them happy, you've probably done the exact opposite of what you were supposed to do.

What got you elected was the promise to throw those bums out on their asses not to cater to them. But if you like, you can take another cheap shot at the people trying to help you and see if that changes the polls. My guess is it won't. And then when you blame us again, the only people happy will be the ones in DC who hate change.

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Okay, and how

was a HCR bill that "did more" going to make it through Congress?  Look at this story.  It's on a different topic, but gives you an idea of what Obama is up against in his own party:


These are the people we need to be fighting.  Obama is right.  He's pushing things forward despite the foot-dragging by Congress.

This is when "Progressives" should be on Obama's side, but instead they're letting the Public Option keep them on the sidelines.  Our choices are Obama & Pelosi or Boehner & Palin.  You better take sides soon.



by the mollusk 2010-09-29 09:06AM | 0 recs
Total BS ... he did not

He and Biden called out a small handful on unrealistic whiners who are unhappy he doens't have magical powers to satisfy their every political wish and all in the first two years to boot.

They are pretty clear it is a small ... very small part of the base.   Not all progressives, not all Democrats, not all their voters.

So save the bs.

by RichardFlatts 2010-09-29 11:51AM | 0 recs
This "scapegoating" thing

This is a talking point from the very bloggers and activists who are doing the whining.   They want to turn more and more progressives against Obama.    It is a sickness with them.

They want to lose in '10, they want to lose it all in '12 and then they want to pee and moan about for the next 6 to 8 years and blame the Democrats for not stopping the very people that they, the whiners, helped elect, the Republicans.

We've seen this movie before.    It was called Al Gore in 2000.

by RichardFlatts 2010-09-29 11:54AM | 0 recs
RE: This "scapegoating" thing

The most poignant (and true) thing Obama said yesterday was that people abandoning him now "were not serious in the first place".  If we were fighting with real swords, he would have killed us.

by the mollusk 2010-09-29 12:12PM | 0 recs
RE: This "scapegoating" thing

I'm sorry but I feel it is some on the far left who run first.

Again hate to bring up '00 but remember their cry that there "isn't a dimes worth of difference" between Gore and Bush.   Many ran to Nader.

I have said before that the thing I admire about the conservatives (if you can even call them that anymore ... I think extremists is a better term) is that for the last 50 years they have never given up.   They didn't demand the Republican Party change overnight, they fought it out in every election, they took their incremental victories early on, worked at the local levels to place the seeds for later statewide victories AND THEY NEVER STOPPED attacking Democrats with all they had.  

Even when they have their intra party skirmishes they find time to turn and direct some heavy fire at the Democrats.

They got Reagan elected and then moved onto the Bush / Delay crowed that made Reagan look somewhat moderate.   Now they are moving towards Jim DeMint and his type who make Bush look like a sane responsible person.

 They've elected more Presidents to more terms in recent history, they have got the majority in the court, and they have pushed us to a point where corporations have unprecendented influence and the wealthy are making unprecedented sums.   All because they have kep their eye on the prize and realize that you can't make the laws if you don't get elected.

Elements of the Democratic Party seem to take long stretches off.   Like 2000 to 2003.   Many are not in for the long haul, and are not willing to accept the political reality that no change in Washington comes quickly.

by RichardFlatts 2010-09-29 12:36PM | 1 recs
RE: This "scapegoating" thing

I mostly agree.  Although I'm not sure if the "far left" is necessarily to blame.  I think it's a pessimistic or maybe impetuous mentality, not necessarily the Cartesian distance of one's philosophy from pure moderate.  People see HCR not go far enough, or DADT get voted down, or the tax cuts fumbled in the most assinine way by Congressional Dems, and they want somebody to blame.  I know I do.  But Obama isn't the person to blame.  And 90 % of the Democrats aren't the ones to blame.  But how do people show their displeasure?  Not voting, voting Republican, or writing blog posts.  What other recourse to people have?  But I'd also add that the constant 15-minute update tends to nurture this impetuousness in political junkies.  So people read MyDD, or Firedoglake, or TPM, or DailyKos, or C&L and they absorb the displeasure of the bloggers there.  You can argue over the motivations of the people running the blogs, but mostly it comes down to being impatient and failing to take a long view of politics.

by the mollusk 2010-09-29 12:48PM | 0 recs


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