Sitting back, and relaxing

The grassroots movement that swept Obama into office sat back and relaxed following 2008’s historic presidential victory, wrongly believing the job was done.

That’s a remark attributed to – and agreed on between – Newsweek’s Jonathan Alter and former NJ State campaign director Mark Alexander, in a forum last week on President Obama’s 1st year. They say the tea party movement happened on your watch; you and your “relaxing” left a void that the tea party filled.

Oh … really? I will acknowledge some post-election exhale, which I imagine they both enjoyed themselves. But, really, who sat back here? We elected a President who told us if we brought the hope, he’d deliver change. And yet, who sat back? Obama, and his people did. The activists have been calling for public option for months – hosting public forums, writing letters, lobbying. And the president is walking on the sticky paper of bi-partisanship, unwilling or unable to lead a majority-Dem Congress to reform, unable to inspire, unable for most of the time even to articulate his position. Or worse, making stirring public option speeches while undermining the effort by sending Rahm Emanuel and Kathleen Sebelius to whisper to legislators, No worries, he doesn’t really mean it. The prez gets a partial-save for deftly maneuvering the truculent GOP into the party of NO wall recently. But it’s too little, too late.

We called for repeal of ENDA and DADT, and he has not used his power.

A smart friend of mine said of this, The activists used their tools and power, to identify issues that need reform and elect those in support. The President has to use his tools and power – which is to make like LBJ and twist arms and drive strong legislation. We did our part, he didn’t.  

Comments (11)

  1. Bertin Lefkovic

    After reading this article, I think that I can confidently tell Mark Alexander and Jonathan Alter to take their remarks and shove them up their collective asses.

    If I were you, Rosi, I would try to get Mark Alexander’s class schedule at Seton Hall, publish it here at Blue Jersey, and invite the membership of DFA-NJ and any other progressive in the state to audit one of them and tell him what the grassroots thinks of his remarks.

    As far as Jonathan Alter is concerned, I think that progressives should flood his Newsweek e-mail address with our thoughts about his remarks.

    And while we’re at it, we should do whatever it takes to get Tim Kaine removed from his position at the DNC and replaced by Steve Hildebrand.

  2. ken bank

    “The President has to use his tools and power – which is to make like LBJ and twist arms and drive strong legislation.”

    For better or worse the days of the imperial presidency have been gone since Watergate.  

    Besides the internet, talk radio and other media access make it impossible to effectively twist arms and even break legs without everyone knowing about it almost instantaneously. When I was growing up we only had newspapers and a handful of columnists like Drew Pearson and Jack Anderson to expose these shenanigans.  Nowadays you have the “Cornhusker kickback” and “Louisiana purchase” and everybody finds out about it.  And when you have democrats like Joe Sestak going around telling people that Obama tried to pay him off with a job if he would not run against Specter, it makes it even more difficult to conduct business.

    And if a handful of Republicans try to forge a bipartisan compromise on HCR the peebaggers find out immediately through the internet and raise the wrath of holy righteous indignation.  Just ask Scott Brown.

    Unfortunately this is the price we pay for transparency in government.


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