Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Return Of Barack Obama

Hooray! He's back!

Barack Obama is indeed back. Some criticize him for not being sufficiently progressive or bold or being able to change the contentious atmosphere inside the Beltway. Jason Linkins in The Huffington Post argues "Where Obama is shedding support by the metric ton, is within the cohort of the electorate known as 'independent voters.'..... I have to imagine that a large part of it is that the boldness that attracted them to the Obama campaign has only shown itself in fits and starts since. And so, they drift away."

But the old Obama has returned. It is, after all, Senator Barack Obama who at a fundraiser in San Francisco informed us

And it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.

Some of us thought the patronizing guy from Hawaii by way of Chicago was gone.

But at a fundraiser- a fundraiser, again- on Thursday in Connecticut (Chris Dodds' home state; pretty fitting, huh?), Obama sneered

After being in this job for two years, I have never been more optimistic about America. I am optimistic partly because we did some really tough things that aren't always popular but were the right things to do. Š Democrats, just congenitally, tend to get -- to see the glass as half empty. (Laughter.) If we get an historic health care bill passed -- oh, well, the public option wasn't there. If you get the financial reform bill passed -- then, well, I don't know about this particularly derivatives rule, I'm not sure that I'm satisfied with that. And gosh, we haven't yet brought about world peace and -- (laughter.) I thought that was going to happen quicker. (Laughter.) You know who you are. (Laughter.)

Still patronizing, but now Obama adds a feature: rubbing it in. Linkins notes

the left-most health care activists and legislators actually conceded single-payer in advance in an effort to have a health care reform package that stood a fighting chance of passing Congress.

Usually, the left gets little credit for how tremendously accommodating they were during that debate, so it's nice to see the President acknowledge that the point of contention eventually became the public option and the way he screwed over everyone who had originally accommodated him.

Shorter Obama, in imaginary quote: "Sucker! I told you I was pushing for a public option when I really wasn't. Now that the GOP has gone off the (right) deep end, you're stuck with me." Or as Jane Hamsher puts it, perhaps the Democrats mocked by the President "are not being negative, maybe they’re just smart enough to know when they’ve been conned."

A transcript, though no video, of the event was released by the Democratic National Committee, for whose benefit it was held, at the home of Richie Richman (Ellen and Richard Richman) in an exclusive development in exclusive Greenwich. Glenn Greenwald comments- charitably:

Sitting at a $30,000 per plate fundraising dinner and mocking liberal critics as irrational ingrates while wealthy Party donors laugh probably does wonders for bruised presidential egos, but it doesn't seem to be a particularly effective way to motivate those who are so unmotivated. Then again, Barack Obama isn't actually up for election in November, so perhaps the former goal is more important to him than the latter. It certainly seems that way from these comments.

A little less charitably, Hamsher insists

Nobody in the history of electoral politics, and I mean nobody, believes that telling people to “get over it” will get them to the polls. (Well, nobody but Spiro Agnew.) And you can bet your bottom dollar that come 2012, when Obama’s own electoral future is on the line, that won’t be his message.

She's right, of course, that "when Obama's own electoral future is on the line, that won't be his message." But it's not "on the line" now, so we shouldn't be shocked that the President may not only be disinterested in motivating the base, but trying actively to discourage it.

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