progressive's answer to Obama
by Katrina vanden Heuvel
Too often, this president is so
singularly focused on seeking common ground that he fails
to define his - and our - principles. The tax cut deal is just the most
began those negotiations telegraphing his endgame, with eyes set
unwaveringly on resolution.
chose not to passionately articulate his values, or to define the
GOP's, and in the aftermath
of the battle,
he refused to explain where it's all meant to lead us.
This, he might conclude, is a minor complaint from a dismissible left.
But the truth is, without
a president who is able - and willing to - lay out a clear, strong and
a president who will stand up for the ideals he ran on, even as he
seeks resolution, the
worldview becomes muted, and the conservative worldview validated.
Obama has reinforced the notion,
not by compromise but by relative silence, that we should
fear changing tax rates in a time of economic crisis, even when
economists of all
stripes tell us
that tax cuts for the wealthy offer extraordinary cost and zero benefit
to the nation.
speaks most passionately not while lambasting a Republican Party that would
drown the middle class on behalf of the wealthy, but when criticizing
the left for not
offering support at a time when he doesn't deserve it. Because
rightly expects the
worst from the far right, he seems to have lost his sense of outrage
toward them. The left,
in turn, receives his overcharged and misplaced anger - suggesting
between the two when, in truth, there is none.
The fact is, there is no monolithic left of the type Obama imagines.
There are few on the
left who expect unwavering ideological purity, few who reject the
notion of compromise
at any time. Most of us understand the structural limitations of our
political system and
the need to
achieve what is possible.
I would be happy if Obama showed up to work and did a
But asking Bitch and Boner what they're willing to accept isn't what a
president is supposed to do.
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