Does Obama need to watch his left flank?

I couldn’t resist answering this one.
No wonder I don’t get my calls returned by the White House.

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Arena Asks: Reporting long-simmering strain between President Barack Obama and his own liberal supporters. Progressives are upset about the White House’s verbal acceptance of a debt ceiling package tilted heavily toward spending cuts, along with this spring’s budget compromise, and the tax cut deal at the end of 2010. Do the president’s past supporters on the left have legitimate gripes? Will Obama face a primary challenge? Should he?

My Answer:Progressives have very legitimate gripes. But the way to vindicate them is to win decisively in House of Representatives races next year. Some stunning progressive victories over Tea Partiers would yield an emboldened Obama too. That’s the better use of progressive energy.

Sanders knows the likelihood of defeating Obama in a primary is slim to none; the purpose would be to send a message and force him to take more progressive stands. Unfortunately, Obama doesn’t lead like an executive–he maneuvers like a legislator. His reaction to direct progressive pressure is petulance, and he tacks farther right. But give him a more reliably progressive House and he’ll jump in front of that parade, where he authentically belongs.

Embracing Controversy Means Standing By Your Convictions

Tuesday’s elections were disappointing, to say the least, for me as a progressive woman. But this isn’t the time to throw up our hands in defeat. It’s time to regroup and lead ourselves forward. Today I listened and tweeted up with the Name It Change It campaign. I learned that their polling data backs up my contention that it’s a good thing to embrace controversy, rather than run away from it, if you’re a woman in politics (Republican or Democrat–as pollster Celinda Lake commented “Sexism is one of the very few bipartisan things”).:

Celinda Lake, of Lake Research Associates, spearheaded research measuring how gender-based attacks negatively affect voter perception of female candidates…Lake explains, “Up until this research was conducted, I often advised women to ignore toxic media sexism. But now, women candidates are equipped with evidence that shows they can recover voter confidence from sexist media coverage by directly addressing it, and standing up for all current and future women leaders.”

Isn’t it great to know that if we stand firm in our convictions, we not only gain supporters but maintain our own integrity and get to express our true beliefs?

Let’s encourage the women in our lives to embrace their power. Download the No Excuses postcard and send it to 10 women in your life. It’s time for us to embrace our power, step up and hold the Democrats accountable for squandering the past two years.

If you missed them earlier the 9 Ways blog posts earlier this week, here’s more discussion of Power Tool #4: Embrace Controversy, and Different Approaches to Controversy Yield Different Results.

Panel at Netroots Nation 2010 on Why Women Are Key to Victory

Netroots Nation is the premier conference for progressive bloggers. So I’m totally thrilled that they accepted my proposal to facilitate a panel on “Why Women Are the Key to the Future of Progressive Election Victories.”

As the GOP has garnered victories in Massachussetts, Virginia and New Jersey since the 2008 presidential election, progressives are looking for a new path to keep the seats they have and win back the ones they’ve lost. Standard playbook assumptions about where, how and why progressives can win campaigns have been turned on their head as increasing numbers of voters feel disaffected and Tea Partiers throw wild cards into many races. Progressive women can embrace this moment to help move the progressive agenda forward. But too often the Democratic Party fails to recruit and support the very women candidates who could be game changers for progressive politics. We’ll discuss how the growing numbers of activist women—and organizations devoted to helping them participate in politics and political leadership—can help reconnect voters with important progressive economic and gender issues. And we’ll analyze how to access the untapped power of women who want to make a difference for progressive issues and what it will take to get them elected. OH, and we’ll talk about the mama grizzlies…

If I do say so myself, I put together a superstar panel. Besides myself, you’ll get to hear and talk with:

Barbara Lee
Barbara Lee is a national leader in the effort to promote women’s political leadership and powerful participation in our democracy and in the arts.

The Barbara Lee Family Foundation, which Lee founded and leads, is recognized nationally for investing in women in politics. Lee is the driving force behind the Foundation’s groundbreaking “Governors Guidebook” series, which combines original research with nationally-distributed practical guides for women candidates seeking executive office.

Lee has leveraged her belief in empowering women in politics by endowing the Barbara Lee Women in U.S. Politics Training Program and Lecture Series at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, which trains women for political office in the United States, and the Barbara Lee Political Intern Fellowship Program at Simmons College.

Joanne Bamberger
Joanne Bamberger is a recovering attorney, author and political/media analyst living in the shadow of the nation’s capital. She’s also known around the blogosphere as PunditMom!

PunditMom blog is the home of op-ed commentary by Joanne, who is also a freelance writer and former op-ed columnist for The Washington Examiner. Her work has appeared in a variety of publications including The Washington Post, various American Lawyer Media publications, Legal Times, Washingtonian Magazine, and many others.

A new media expert and authority on political involvement of women and mothers, Joanne is a regular contributor to The Huffington Post and a featured columnist at CafeMom’s The Stir where she writes a weekly feature called Speaker of the House. Joanne also writes at MomsRising and MOMocrats, and was a contributing editor for news and politics at BlogHer. Her political commentary has appeared on CNN, Fox News,, BBC Radio, NPR, Al Jazeera English & XM Radio POTUS ‘08, among others.

Joanne speaks frequently at conferences and to private groups about the growing influence of women/mothers in politics and social media. She has presented and participated in panels at Netroots Nation 2009, the Feminist Majority Foundation, EMILY’s List, BlogHer, Fem 2.0, Type-A Mom Conference, WAM! 2009, the Women’s Media Center and others.

Pam Spaulding
Pam Spaulding is the editor and publisher of, honored as Best LGBT Blog in the 2005 and 2006 Weblog Awards. In 2009, she was named one of Huffington Post’s Ultimate Game Changers in Politics, received the Women’s Media Center Award for Online Journalism, and named one of the OUT 100. Spaulding lives in Durham, NC.

Maria Teresa Kumar, president, Voto Latino
Roxanne Conlin, Candidate for U.S. Senate in Iowa