‘why right and left won’t cheer obama’

CNN/P.M. Carpenter: ….once the reality of Obama’s extraordinary success within a mere half-term is noted — a stimulus package that prevented the Great Depression II; health care reform that achieves the decades-long goal of near universality; financial reform that reimposes some grown-up supervision of Wall Street gamblers — a bit of culling must be done when confronting American opinion on all this. Opinion that seems to be running downhill.

….The pseudoconservatives’ perception is that Obama’s success is a sprinting, despotic socialism enforced by jackbooted bureaucrats of anti-constitutional intensity. Most of this opinion, it seems to me, reflects a pathological loathing of Obama’s very success and a nostalgic, all-power-should-be-ours longing for the actual despotism of George W. Bush’s “unitary executive” humbug.

….On opposite ground, today’s progressive activists (known in some unmentioned circles as the “professional left”) perceive Obama’s success as a tragic, alienating failure simply because that success has been less than 100 percent. Their ideological purity is a brutal taskmaster; it accepts no compromise with political realities.

It wants and demands a society approaching Utopia — and that Utopia lies, it seems, only inches away from a snarling, presidential ideologue. They’ll deny that, but their own snarling, in my mind, tends to outweigh their pleas of innocence.

Case in point: A nearly $900 billion tax compromise, of which more than $700 billion is geared to middle-class and unemployment relief, is excoriated by activist progressives as an insufferable Obamian sellout.

As for traditional liberalism’s rank and file? They have few problems with President Obama; the base holds — according to pollsters about three-fourths of it — understanding that America’s utopian future still likely remains at least a few years down the road…

Full article here

5 Responses to “‘why right and left won’t cheer obama’”

  1. December 20, 2010 at 4:46 pm

    I’m here on the Left Mr. Carpenter and I cheer President Obama every day.

    There’s a thoughtful diary on the site that shall not be named about the President’s style, his methods, that the poster whole heartedly supports, saying in part,

    “What would Obama gain by forcing his policies through Congress without regard for the opposition? He’d gain four, or … eight, years of those policies. Then out he’d go, supplanted by a wave of anti-incumbent anger, and the cycle would start all over again, with even worse divisiveness and partisanship, and with his successor forcing his policies through Congress and undoing everything Obama had accomplished.”

    The president said that standing up for principles, whatever they may be, standing fast, drawing lines in the sand, theatrics, all of it, might make us feel sanctimonious and pure and important, but without compromising some of our principles we wouldn’t get anything done.

    I don’t know how these two statements could be any plainer or actually truer, but amazingly enough they still engender ridicule and anger. I must be missing some brain cells in my old age. Perhaps I’m getting simplistic, or hopeful, or less argumentative. But.

    I also feel that everyone needs a hero, and this President is my hero, no matter that I’ve also become cynical, which I understand is inevitable as one ages. I’ve been reading again Frank Freidel’s Franklin D. Roosevelt: A Rendezvous with Destiny. I’ve been reading specifically about the vitriol poured all over him by his own base, especially from the far left.

    Today, FDR is cocooned in the lovely fuzz of history, an historic and democratic icon who is thrown up as a real democrat compared to the “weak” corporatist Obama, but FDR suffered just as much from criticism then as President Obama does today. He was pro business, he was anti business, he was in the pockets of Wall Street, he was a traitor to his (upper)class, he was a traitor to the poor and unemployed who elected him.

    The general run of people, however, the people like my parents and neighbors who looked upon FDR as a hero, a savior, found nothing to criticize. And in 1936, running for a second term with a decent rise in employment, a hope of better times, he won in a landslide. Today, the polls are echoing that satisfaction with President Obama.

    Perhaps too much immersion in politics ruins the simple pleasure of looking up to one capable person, looking to him for inspiration and hope that others, feeling so much more knowledgeable than the lowly herd, think is such a joke.

    • 2 Sue in Minnesota
      December 20, 2010 at 6:15 pm

      So true, thanks for sharing a well articulated and thoughtful perspective. The ability of human beings to create alternate realities challenges us in all aspects of our lives. Making compromise, one of many essential tools in the relational tool box.

    • 3 majii
      December 20, 2010 at 8:31 pm

      I think that as we get older, Joan, we have the benefit of experience and have developed more patience and pragmatism. We understand well, from examples in our own lives, that rarely do things turn out exactly the way we would like. Personally, I wouldn’t wish to return to my twenties for any reason. I’m retired and enjoying it. This doesn’t mean my life now is devoid of problems, but it has provided me with the belief that a problem or roadblock in no way means that there won’t be some other victories along the way.

  2. 5 anniebella
    December 21, 2010 at 2:18 pm

    I think we have a darn good President!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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