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.