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“Can I speak freely about the liberal whiners?” asks a well-connected Democratic strategist. “These are the same people who have never participated in, much less won, a campaign, who have no idea what it takes to maintain a majority and keep a speaker of our party, who want Obama to kowtow to the loony Left, and then they’re going to be the ones who say, ‘What happened?’ in November 2010, when we lose the House and possibly the Senate and maybe a lot of governorships.”
This was Byron York writing recently in the Washington Examiner, but the same theme pervades the nation’s op-ed pages and other outlets for the bloviating class. NBC’s John Harwood recently reported that administration officials were part of the “Internet Left fringe” and quoted an unnamed White House adviser saying, “Those bloggers need to take off their pajamas, get dressed and realize that governing a closely divided country is complicated and difficult.”
According to these analysts, liberal Democrats are completely out of touch with the rest of the country and are foolishly demanding that Obama implement crazy policies that only they support. Exhibit A here is usually a health care reform bill that includes a public option — which according to a Washington Post poll published today “wins clear majority support from the public.” According to the story, “a slim majority of Americans, 57 percent, would prefer a plan that included some form of government insurance for people who cannot get affordable private coverage even if it had no GOP support in Congress. Thirty-seven percent would rather have a bipartisan plan that did not feature a public option.”
So it’s pretty clear that whatever else it might be, support for a public option, which Obama had previously pledged was an essential component of health care reform, is not something limited to the lunatic fringe. Speaking of which, the Post poll showed that “only 20 percent of adults identify themselves as Republicans, little changed in recent months, but still the lowest single number in Post-ABC polls since 1983.” And it’s worth noting that at this point a sizable chunk of what’s left of York’s GOP believes that god created the world in seven days and that non-Christians will die in the apocalypse, so he might be more careful about tossing around the word “loony.”
By now there are plenty of people disappointed with Obama, including some of his most passionate early supporters. I recently received the following email, which I was asked to edit to disclose the sender’s identity:
I read your blog only semi-frequently for this reason: in that niggling corner of my brain, I deeply suspect you’re right about Obama on the fundamentals. Background: I worked for two years on the Obama campaign. I joined the campaign because I had managed to convince myself, perhaps against better judgment, that Obama’s relative newness to the national stage meant that he was the least conventionally shackled candidate. I still think that’s true: a Clinton presidency would not be nearly what an Obama presidency has been and will be.
My disappointments are pretty meta at this point, as are yours it appears. Policy imperatives flow from the structure that permits them, and Obama has either been forced to or allowed himself to be subsumed by the structure. At least for the time being.
More from Ken Silverstein:
Commentary — November 17, 2015, 6:41 pm
The Clintons’ so-called charitable enterprise has served as a vehicle to launder money and to enrich family friends.
Freddie Gray’s relatives arrived for the trial in the afternoon, after the prep-school kids had left. By their dress, they seemed to have just gotten off work in the medical and clerical fields. The family did not appear at ease in the courtroom. They winced and dropped their heads as William Porter and his fellow officer Zachary Novak testified to opening the doors of their police van last April and finding Freddie paralyzed, unresponsive, with mucus pooling at his mouth and nose. Four women and one man mournfully listened as the officers described needing to get gloves before they could touch him.
The first of six Baltimore police officers to be brought before the court for their treatment of Freddie Gray, a black twenty-five-year-old whose death in their custody was the immediate cause of the city’s uprising last spring, William Porter is young, black, and on trial. Here in this courtroom, in this city, in this nation, race and the future seem so intertwined as to be the same thing.
Number of Turkish college students detained in the last year for requesting Kurdish-language classes:
Turkey was funding a search for Suleiman the Magnificent’s heart.
A former prison in Philadelphia that has served as a horror-movie set was being prepared as a detention center for protesters arrested at the upcoming Democratic National Convention, and presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump fired his campaign manager.
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“Matt was happy enough to sustain himself on the detritus of a world he saw as careening toward self-destruction, and equally happy to scam a government he despised. 'I’m glad everyone’s so wasteful,' he told me. 'It supports my lifestyle.'”