Washington Babylon — October 20, 2009, 10:13 am

Obama and the “Loony Left”

“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.

Absolutely loony.

Share
Single Page

More from Ken Silverstein:

Commentary November 17, 2015, 6:41 pm

Shaky Foundations

The Clintons’ so-called charitable enterprise has served as a vehicle to launder money and to enrich family friends.

From the November 2013 issue

Dirty South

The foul legacy of Louisiana oil

Perspective October 23, 2013, 8:00 am

On Brining and Dining

How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy

Get access to 165 years of
Harper’s for only $45.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

October 2016

Psychedelic Trap

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Hamilton Cult

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Held Back

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Division Street

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Innocents

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Quiet Car

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Article
The Hamilton Cult·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

"The past is complicated, and explaining it is not just a trick, but a gamble."
Illustration by Jimmy Turrell
Article
Division Street·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

"Perfectly sane people lose access to housing every day, though the resultant ordeal may undermine some of that sanity, as it might yours and mine."
Photograph © Robert Gumpert
Article
Held Back·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

"'We don’t know where the money went!' a woman cried out. 'They looted it! They stole our money!'"
Artwork by Mischelle Moy
Article
The Quiet Car·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Flor Arely Sánchez had been in bed with a fever and pains throughout her body for three days when a July thunderstorm broke over the mountainside. She got nervous when bolts of light flashed in the sky. Lightning strikes the San Julián region of western El Salvador several times a year, and her neighbors fear storms more than they fear the march of diseases — first dengue, then chikungunya, now Zika. Flor worried about a lot of things, since she was pregnant.

Late in the afternoon, when the pains had somewhat eased, Flor thought she might go to a dammed-up bit of the river near her house to bathe. She is thirty-five and has lived in the same place all her life, where wrinkled hills are planted with corn, beans, and fruit trees. She took a towel and soap and walked out into the rain. Halfway to the river, the pains returned and overcame her. The next thing Flor remembers, she was in a room she didn’t recognize, unable to move. As she soon discovered, she was in a hospital, her ankle cuffed to the bed, and she was being investigated for abortion.

Photograph by Joshua Lutz
Article
Innocents·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

"The next thing Flor remembers, she was in a room she didn’t recognize, unable to move. As she soon discovered, she was in a hospital, her ankle cuffed to the bed, and she was being investigated for abortion."
Photograph © Nadia Shira Cohen

Amount of laundry an average American family of four washes in a year (in tons):

1

A study of female Finnish twins found that relative preference for masculine faces is largely heritable.

It was reported that visits from Buddhist priests could be purchased through Amazon in Japan, and the London Philharmonic Orchestra began streaming performances through virtual-reality headsets.

Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!

HARPER’S FINEST

Mississippi Drift

By

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.'

Subscribe Today