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Yes, His Birth Certificate's Legit, but is he Doing a Good Job?

By Josh Feit April 27, 2011

In this week's hot ThinkTank debate, liberals are clashing over our question about President Obama: Has he failed Democrats?

And wow, OneAmerica's Pramila Jayapal has written one of the frankest (and frankly, damning) accounts of the Obama administration from a liberal perspective I've ever seen.

[pullquote]I am beginning to believe that this President seems more invested in his persona as a bridge builder than in his ability to put a stake in the ground for a clear set of values that he stands by and will fight for.[/pullquote]

Some choice quotes from Jayapal's Obama outrage:
I am beginning to believe that this President seems more invested in his persona as a bridge builder than in his ability to put a stake in the ground for a clear set of values that he stands by and will fight for. One appealing thing about the Republicans is that they seem to fight for what they believe in--regardless of whether it is going to lose them seats or points in the polls. That doesn't work so well for the rest of us who oppose some of those policies but the reality is that there is a ferociousness and tenacious to the Republican agenda that makes us want to drool. Could we conceive of being that tough? Ever?

...

Yes, he pushed a stimulus bill but it wasn't focused on the little guys and didn't capitalize on public anger against Wall Street and big corporate bailouts. It was a wasted opportunity that could have been used to pass real financial reform and invest in Main Street and infrastructure building that America desperately needs.

Yes, President Obama helped to pass health care reform, which--while not necessarily the reform progressives were looking for--was a huge step forward. But what if he had engaged much earlier instead of keeping his "hands off" approach that signaled he was above the Congressional fray?

Another Cola ThinkTank member, King County Labor Council leader Dave Freiboth has a different take:
So, do I blame Obama for the failure to effect progressive change? Tactically I can think of instances, in retrospect, where the administration failed. But strategically the failure falls directly on the progressive base. Our most glaring failure was the failure to maintain the infrastructure that produced the 2008 victories. As has been noted, we sat around congratulating ourselves for 2008 while the opposition organized. So am I disappointed in Obama? No, not really. I am, however, disappointed in the progressive base and I will remain disappointed if we do not learn from this. I will remain disappointed if we do not cease the scapegoating and grow in terms of our ability to focus our activism on the progressive values of the American center. Those values are there and we can continue to effect progressive change if we work as progressive advocates for change that connects with a basic sense of fairness we all share.

 
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