Obama Got Rolled

From today’s Paul Krugman column:

But there’s a point at which realism shades over into weakness, and progressives increasingly feel that the administration is on the wrong side of that line. It seems as if there is nothing Republicans can do that will draw an administration rebuke: Senator Charles E. Grassley feeds the death panel smear, warning that reform will “pull the plug on grandma,” and two days later the White House declares that it’s still committed to working with him.

It’s hard to avoid the sense that Mr. Obama has wasted months trying to appease people who can’t be appeased, and who take every concession as a sign that he can be rolled.

Indeed, no sooner were there reports that the administration might accept co-ops as an alternative to the public option than G.O.P. leaders announced that co-ops, too, were unacceptable.

So progressives are now in revolt. Mr. Obama took their trust for granted, and in the process lost it. And now he needs to win it back.

Has Obama completely lost the trust of progressives?

Speaking for myself, he never fully had it in the first place. The health care mess within which the President has gotten himself seems par for the course, the logical conclusion of what happens when a politician is happy to compromise on whatever principles he or she might have, in the name of this theoretical “bipartisanship” we always hear about.

If you take good ideas, and combine them with bad ideas, you’re not going to end up with good ideas anymore. This is simple logic.

But it does seem true that Obama has finally lost many progressives because of his less-than-convincing approach to health care reform. A good indicator of that might be FDL’s ActBlue page — already over $300,000 has been raised as a thank you to Congresspeople who’ve vowed to keep the public option in any health care legislation.

So while the fight is still playing out, it does seem clear that Obama got rolled. Maybe he’ll have the last laugh here, but if so, losing the faith of many of the people that helped elect him is a large price to pay.

Political capital is the currency of our democracy, and he’s used a lot of it up.

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1 Comment

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One response to “Obama Got Rolled

  1. pds

    Yeah, though Obama is soooo likeable he never really had my political trust either, as soon as he rallied Rahm to his side I had a bad feeling. Krugman’s line, “there’s a point at which idealism shades over into weakness,” speaks volumes especially. Its like some Nader/Kucinich anxiety liberals, er….meant to say “progressives,” have. The minute people step up and make demands “centrists” and “pragmatists” scold them for being “unrealistic” cuz THEY wont challenge the corporatism and plutocracy that has infected the Dems, at least, since Clinton, Rahm’s daddy. We’ll see what happens in coming months…

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