Google’s Blogspot, which hosts this column, has a wonderful analytical tool that allows me to track the number of visitors to this site, as well as their locations. (A special hello, by the way, to my regular reader in San Francisco. Hello, Liverpool! And you there in Islamabad—thanks for stopping by!)
Thus I know that in a normal month, my blog gets between 300 and 400 “hits.” A few of you comment regularly—for the most part, those who disagree. Those comments are always interesting and welcome. But these remarks are intended for the rest of you—the silent majority who most likely regard yourselves as Democrats or progressives and may tend to agree with much of what I have to say.
My question for you—and for Democrats/progressives/liberals in general—is this: What the hell’s the matter with you people?
A year ago, our country elected a new president who promised to reverse policies so many of us found abhorrent in the last administration: a pointless war in Iraq, torture of inmates in secret prisons, an economy in free fall, reversal of decades’ worth of environmental protections, and an arrogant attitude of superiority that left America few friends among the other nations of the world. Remember?
President Obama has accomplished much of what he promised, and more. And despite all the conservative and religious extremists in Congress who have done everything in their power to block his every move, this president has had greater success in getting Congress to enact legislative changes than any other president in recent history.
So what does he get for his trouble? Constant criticism, not only from the right but also from the left—from fair-weather do-gooders and erstwhile supporters who either aren’t paying attention to what’s going on in this country or just don’t get it.
In yesterday’s Huffington Post, for example, Robert Kuttner characterizes the Coakley-Brown contest for the U.S. Senate as a lose-lose situation for the administration, blaming Obama personally for the fact that it may not be a cakewalk for the Democratic candidate.
Mr. Kuttner is one of many who’s been lambasting the president for allowing compromises to be made in the interest of passing a health care reform bill which, if not perfect, will at least be a considerable improvement over the status quo. It’s Fox News-style populist anger-mongering—and Mr. Kuttner’s not alone. Instead of recognizing that good politics equals compromise and supporting the president we elected, plenty of liberals are crying foul because they can’t have everything their way.
We elected this president precisely because he’s a skilled diplomat who’s often able to bring about consensus. Now, a year into his presidency, he’s criticized by the right for being too liberal and by the liberals for being too far right.
Any Democrat/progressive/liberal who thinks he or she can do a better job than Obama of rebuilding America, restoring its values, and moving it into the 21st century is welcome to run for public office. Good luck. But meanwhile, those of us who believe in much of what the president believes in should try being part of the solution and not part of the problem.
The apparent loss of steam among Democrats in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is a wake-up call, all right, but not for Obama. He’s doing just fine. It should be a wake-up call for all those who believed in what he stood for a year ago and still stands for. But if all you plan to do is vote once every four years and then complain the rest of the time, well . . . don’t blame Obama for the things that don’t get done. And brace yourselves for Bush 3.