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.

Politico TheArena logo

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.

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  1. Shannon Drury on July 28, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    For a minute I hoped that this post meant YOU were considering a run, Gloria!

    • Gloria Feldt on July 28, 2011 at 6:41 pm

      Thanks for the compliment, Shannon. It’s a noble thought, but haven’t I been beaten up enough for one lifetime?

  2. Comments from Facebook on July 28, 2011 at 7:53 pm

    Joyce Blank Schorr likes this.

    Jan Rodak Obama is turning out to be exactly as I anticipated he’d be. It’s a shame. He won’t have my vote again – ever.

    Kirk Richards jan, don’t give up and throw away your vote. hasn’t your life suffered enough under the republicans, mine certainly has? vote in a majority of dems and watch potus score big! thanks

    Jan Rodak Oh, my vote was thrown away already. He doesn’t deserve it. The good thing about free and open elections is being able to cast a vote for someone you believe in. If enough Californians still support him, he’ll take my state anyway. If not, perhaps he’ll have some thinking to do – and perhaps the Democratic party will not send anymore camp counselors or community organizers to do the toughest job on the planet.

    Tiffany Lesser Swinehart ‎@Jan – I’m confused…if you anticipated Obama to not live up to your expectations why did you vote for him?

    Jan Rodak Because the alternative was worse. But in the primaries I voted for the woman I knew had more experience and political clout.

    Kirk Richards very true, and perhaps your one vote makes the difference, then what.

    Jan Rodak Then I voted my conscience, which ostensibly is the foundation of our democracy.
    4 hours ago · LikeReply
    Kirk Richards no arguement there, but do you cut off your nose to spite your face?

    Jan Rodak I vote how I want to vote. Your concept seems not to work. Obama feels empowered by “professional lefites” who feel pressured to vote for him again. I’m here to say I won’t enable him again.

    Tiffany Lesser Swinehart Just please don’t vote for Bachmann!! 🙂

    Jan Rodak OMG wait, I should have been clear – I will NEVER vote for a Republican! No way. I will pick a wild-eyed third-party progressive :=)

    Gloria Feldt This debate is why I don’t think it would be useful to have a presidential primary out of anger with Obama. It would be too divisive and waste a lot of money, weakening whoever won (almost certainly Obama). Show him the political strength of progressive grassroots, though, and he will move in that direction during a second term.

  3. Aletha on July 29, 2011 at 2:38 am

    Your idea ought to work, Gloria, though I disagree that Obama authentically belongs in the ranks of progressives. He likes to think of himself as progressive, but he is a Blue Dog Democrat, like most of the party leadership, which will do its damnedest to repress a progressive rebellion. The party leaders seem to believe centrist candidates have a better chance of winning, even if the “centrist” is anti-choice. The Women’s Campaign Forum has been protesting that for quite awhile. One would think Obama would have responded differently to the shellacking of 2010, which hit the Blue Dogs especially hard. However, if progressives can turn things around in a big way, Obama may well follow their lead.

  4. charity on August 5, 2011 at 3:22 pm

    There is no way I am going to let the TeaBaggers, and GOP both engaged in terrorist acts be in charge of this country. So I will vote for Obama, but thing the Tea Party as much as a loathed them did mobilize and held there government officials accountable, we need to raise the same type of hell when Obama lets us down. We should mobilze and let him know “enough” Either but a democrate or get out!

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