By Jonathan Alter

Liberals Nip Obama As He Battles Republicans

January 4, 2013 1:36 pm Category: Bloomberg View, Memo Pad 60 Comments A+ / A-
Liberals Nip Obama As He Battles Republicans

You can already hear the rumbling in the distance — a train of noisy liberal Democrats barreling straight for the White House. They should arrive just in time for President Barack Obama’s second inauguration.

The president already has his hands full dealing with angry and unrealistic Republicans. Now he’s getting reacquainted with their counterparts on the left — a less ideologically inflexible bunch but not necessarily any more susceptible to reason.

Recognizing the enormous stakes in the 2012 election, liberals took the advice of Dr. Evil and “zipped it” during the entire campaign. They refrained from any criticism of the president, lest it help Republican challenger Mitt Romney.

For a party famous for its lack of discipline, that was impressive. So was the Obama campaign field organization. Humorist Will Rogers once said, “I’m not a member of any organized political party. I’m a Democrat.” Lately, given the disarray on the Republican side, Rogers might have swallowed hard and seen fit to declare himself a Republican.

If Democrats are better organized than in the past, they still have their foibles. Recall the crowd at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, loudly booing Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa as he left the stage.

Villaraigosa, chairman of the convention, had just claimed that two-thirds of the delegates had approved by voice vote the reinstatement in the party platform of a provision supporting Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. It was more like two delegates and maybe a third — about the same tiny level of support that welcomed Obama’s insistence that “God” be put back in the platform, too.

Before the campaign, liberals were hardly hesitant to express their disappointment with the president. Recall the liberal unrest of 2009 when Obama, bowing to congressional pressure, failed to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and neglected to support a public option in the Affordable Care Act.

Liberals crying “kill the bill” came dangerously close to derailing landmark health-care reform for which they had been fighting since the Progressive “Bull Moose” Party Convention of 1912. Obama rightly complained in response that too many of his supporters were letting “the perfect be the enemy of the good.”

Now we’re about to see such imperfection under assault again. While Obama won strong Democratic backing for the so- called fiscal-cliff deal in both the Senate and the House, a chorus of liberal critics rose up to condemn his compromises.

They were particularly incensed that he agreed to raise the threshold on income subject to a higher tax rate from his oft- stated preference of $250,000 per family to $450,000 per family. Some news stories reported that Obama broke a campaign promise by abandoning the $250,000 level.

A few liberals even complained that Obama violated his principles by compromising. They must not have listened to him all year. One of his most important — and most frequently stated — principles is that compromise is essential to governing.

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Liberals Nip Obama As He Battles Republicans Reviewed by on . You can already hear the rumbling in the distance -- a train of noisy liberal Democrats barreling straight for the White House. They should arrive just in time You can already hear the rumbling in the distance -- a train of noisy liberal Democrats barreling straight for the White House. They should arrive just in time Rating:

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  • http://www.facebook.com/rockfordcpm Del Wasso

    Bullshit.

    The reality is, there is very little difference between the Democratic Party leadership in 2013, and the mainstream GOP of 1984.

    “Liberals” aren’t the problem.

    And only a right-winger would ever suggest they were.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Terry-Hallinan/100000970179376 Terry Hallinan

      A little cool, Del Wasso, would serve you well methinks – and a longer view.

      Obama – and Alter – represent the rightwing while Republicans have gone insane.

      Beyond bizarre is that Dick Nixon, of all presidents, now represents the last vestiges of liberalism before the hard right turn with Jimmy Carter.

  • docb

    The liberal progressives have held their tongues for a few months…. NOW they are whining after doing nothing to help the President win!!!…No better than the baggers! I am a dem but the rabid zealots of either party are a waste of time..Most Americans come from the center…not the fringe! Not helpful!

    • charleo1

      A question. If Liberal Progressives did nothing to help Obama win, and with voters
      participating in record numbers, who do you suppose these flaming Liberals voted for?
      As far as being as bad as the Baggers. Really? When was the last time one of
      these Liberals shut down the government? Or, threatened not to pay the Nation’s
      debts, if their demands were not met? When was the last time you read an op-ed
      about Progressives, advising them they could only be effective in their demands, if
      they were truly prepared to kill the hostage! That’s right, they see no problem with
      hostage taking. And advising they must be clear about the hostages dying, if the Country
      fails to fully adopt their policies. You must also be a peculiar type of Democrat.
      That calculates with a Democratic Senate, and a Democratic President, we should
      yield to an extreme opposition, simply because they flat out refuse to negotiate.

      • docb

        Many of your arguments go to issues and not to the help that was not provided by progressives which was my point!

        I do not deny that the intransigent rabid right are responsible for obscene actions against the Nations’ economic growth to thwart the President who happens to be black and of the wrong party for them!..I do not refute that they are are liars and ideological idiots that care nothing about our Nation..However, they did work to support their candidates up and down the ticket as opposed to sitting on their hands till after the election so they can snipe at the President and second guess him and the admin, as did the progressives!

        My point is the radical of either party are not where the Nation can be governed but the center which is for all the Nations people! The climate of our House of representatives and State Houses in general are the seats of corporate and power crazed corruption! We have legislated inequality..Abhorrent but here none the less !

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_KOPKDFAUQPIIRAFI3HEXNMSHLQ Ed

          OMG< How I wish there WAS a CENTER!

          • docb

            More people are registered as INDEPENDENTS than the right or the left!

        • charleo1

          Well said. And more, you make a valid point that radicalism on one end of
          the political spectrum begets radicalism on the other. That organizations like Move On,
          for example, raised the hackles of the Right Wing, and we got the T-Party. But, speaking
          for myself, when I read statements from Progressives berating Obama, because they
          have determined he is far too accommodating, too moderate, or actually/secretly, agrees
          with the Right, I ask my Liberal friends, where were you, in the 2010 mid terms?
          I would also give the business to those Democrats up for reelection in 2010, for not
          having the courage of their convictions, and running from, and not on their records.
          And for that, got trounced at the ballot box. Not because they had no case to defend
          their votes. But because they were too spineless to make it. So, what was a tremendous
          amount of hope on the Left, was frustrated by the Senate filibuster, disappointed by
          healthcare reform that left the insurance companies in charge, and angered by
          financial reform that didn’t prevent too big to fail, and pitifully little help for the 20 million or so, thrown out of work. So, as a result of the Left’s pouty attitude, we lost the House,
          and a dozen Governorships, and State Legislatures. And as it turned out, any possibility
          of progress on the Country’s most urgent issues for at least another four years. Plus,
          the real possibility of these Right Wing, extremists being able to do great harm to the Country before we can manage to vote them out.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_KOPKDFAUQPIIRAFI3HEXNMSHLQ Ed

        Me thinks there has been some misunderstanding here. When the writer wrote “the liberals held their tongues during the campaign”he was referring to the fact that we did NOT voice our concerns about Oboma’s performance. We recognised that he was a FAR FAR better choice than mittens.

        • charleo1

          Yes. Absolutely! As we all witnessed an unprecedented effort by the Right, to build on
          the successes of 2010. The relentless push to make Obama a one term President,
          superseded all other considerations. And, even more remarkable, was the tacit,
          permission of the Right Wing to allow their politicians to intentionally slow down
          the economic recovery. One T-Party website urging business owners to hold off
          hiring until after the election. So, the one thing the Left did not want to see was a
          Ralph Nader type, splitting the Party, and resulting in another Bush-like Republican
          winning the election.

    • nobsartist

      We all know that republiCON chumps favor leaders that lie to them and trample the Constitution.

      • docb

        There is that, nob!

    • http://twitter.com/lilmsgs Please Make Sense

      Your assertion misses the point of the article and is clearly wrong. Those of us who have major issues with Obama nevertheless knew that he must be reelected and actively supported his reelection. He wouldn’t have won without that support.

      • docb

        He won by 5 million votes ..There are 350,000 progressives according to Adam Green…I met not one that worked on the campaign in 3 different States…last year! It was the youth, the Hispanic’s, the African Americans, and the women that were frightened by the radical rights anti-women agenda that were out on the streets and in the neighborhoods, in the call centers, and raising the money!

        So my experience is very different than yours. Good luck!

  • dadhoover

    I hope the above reference to the liberal left on Obama’s heals isn’t in the least referring to those of us demanding that SS be left out of budget and debt talks. HOW MANY TIMES DO WE HAVE TO REPEAT THAT SS IS NOT A DRIVER OF US DEBT NOR IS IT EVEN A LINE ITEM IN THE BUDGET. IT IS FUNDED BY WE US WORKERS AND ABSOLUTELY SHOULD NOT BE PART OF THESE DISCUSSIONS. >>>>>>>>PERIOD<<<<<<<<OBAMA DO YOU HEAR ? EVEN REAGAN THE REPUBLICANS LORD AND SAVIOR SAID SO, SO HANDS OFF SS. ANY CHANGES TO IT SHOULD COME IN SEPARATE DISCUSSIONS.

    DID I YELL ??? WE ALL NEED TO BE YELLING UNTIL OBAMA ONCE AND FOR ALL GETS THE MESSAGE !!!!!!!

    • geoelb

      dad ~ Repeating your pointed message in case anyone missed it: HOW MANY TIMES DO WE HAVE TO REPEAT THAT SS IS NOT A DRIVER OF US DEBT NOR IS IT EVEN A LINE ITEM IN THE BUDGET. IT IS FUNDED BY WE US WORKERS AND ABSOLUTELY SHOULD NOT BE PART OF THESE DISCUSSIONS.

  • nobsartist

    The left are going to start demanding things from our government. Like accountability as an example.

    By the way, why didnt I see JOB CREATION on the top of the list of 5 things that Obama wants to accomplish?

    Maybe he should start by explaining why it didnt even make the list or is he too concerned about appeasing to the republiCON traitors?

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/HGC4BGWVYXV76PHZBPSPOOU5GA Independent1

      I’m guessing that it didn’t make his top 5 list because of the problems he had in his first term getting even one of his two jobs creation bills passed by the House and the GOP still has a majority in the House. As far as I know, the jobs bills Obama submitted are still awaiting consideration by the House, and so aside from him continuing to try and get those moved through the House (via pressure from Pelosi and maybe he’ll make passage of those bills a highlight in his inaugural address), what else would you expect him to do that would warrant jobs creation a big agenda item for him starting off his second term???

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_KOPKDFAUQPIIRAFI3HEXNMSHLQ Ed

    Well, even “Sir Reagan” admitted that social security had nothing to do with the deficit. Although you may say it does. After all forty percent of our debt is to the Social Security TRUST fund in return for money we borrowed. Medicare is a problem of the well to do (Doctors and Hospitals) ripping off the system. Can ANYONE explain to me why the NFL has NON-PROFIT status? Or why the taxpayers are paying for NASCAR race tracks? I guess both of them are part of mittens “47 percent that does not pay taxes”. And the stuff the military does with our money is outragous,(and I don’t mean just “fighting two wars).

    • http://twitter.com/lilmsgs Please Make Sense

      What do you mean? SS is fully funded and in no way part of our debt. It’s 40% of the budget but its dollars are fully provided for. You statements are factually wrong.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/HJIWONQOW4EAYMCA4QH2DDJMBU MARK

        For far too long the gop has been giving us the lie that Social Security is broken.Please inform me when was the last time a republi-con has offered a proposal to pay back the funds that have been drained away for other purposes.That is money that belongs to all the people that have paid into the program.Fucking crooks are the ones who want to do away with Social Security!

      • http://www.facebook.com/warren.nicholson.77 Warren Nicholson

        “After all forty percent of our debt is to the Social Security TRUST fund in return for money we borrowed. ” Read this slowly and then try to understand, congress lower taxes on the rich and then borrowed the money from the SS trust fund to pay the bills.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/RFEPMKNCBVGJYV2X7LBNDGRUEY William

        What he meant is congress borrowed money from Social Security which now equals 40% of our dept. The problem is the GOP does not want to pay back what was borrowed.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_TT6POTCLZCE74T76WAJIIIUAHU frida

    I could not stop giggling watching Sean Hannity advising his fellow republicans what to do inorder to over turn Dems leadership. It was really funny, though I tend not to watch this man speaking, but sometimes it is good to know what is in his mind. This man with grey hair infront (Sean Hannity) is totally crazy. He thinks that if anyone comes infront and say ok we know what you are thinking, that will automatically turn the thinking of the different (opposition side). He is totally useless and no one should listen to him.

  • William Deutschlander

    Negotiation and Collective Bargaining require reason and compromise, not ideology!

    • daniel bostdorf

      Could you expand just a bit? Sounds like a bumper sticker?

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/JMT6C3LHLJDD4RX4NB4KY5ICAE gargray

    The Wyoming senator proclaimed that the debt limit would give Obama a open check that he could spend as he wanted. This lady is really stupid or lying a or hasn’t spent enought time in Washington to know the difference. Obama just passes the bills made by congress, they are the ones that spend the money and Bush congress spent a lot of money, Bohner and House members are still there. Some of the democrats are there to, the blue Democrats?

  • Gambler2

    Mr. Alter, I disagree with your statement “…he will have to agree to cuts to entitlements or discretionary programs, a course many liberals oppose.” These programs need some reform, but they do not need to be cut. For example, lifting the income cap on the Social Security tax would provide additional revenue for this program. Allowing the government to negotiate the price of drugs would reduce Medicare costs. Applying the SS and Medicare tax to all income, not just that which is earned, would increase revenue.

    • Reddiaperbaby

      Excellent post, Gambler2…President Obama is the Neville Chamberlain of the 21st century, all appeasement and no balls. The GOP doesn’t “compromise” it’s not in their DNA….they love the fact that BO let’s himself be rolled by the thugs in Congress. Here we go again…with his broken promises to those who voted for him. He has nothing to lose, he can’t run again, so why not grow a pair and be a real Democrat? Maybe Joe Biden could take him aside in the men’s room and show him what he’s lacking.

  • Gambler2

    As a liberal progressive, I suggest that Medicare premiums should be raised on those of us who can afford to pay a little more. I have retirement income that is much more than my social security income. So I could pay a little more so that low-income seniors could keep all their benefits without paying more for them.

    • Reddiaperbaby

      You are a true “mensch” and I wish thousands shared your patriotism and sense of community.

      • Gambler2

        Thanks for your kind words!

      • CPANewYork

        Reddiaperbaby:

        I have a suggestion for you: Refrain from using foreign words in your posts. There are about 800,000 words in the English language. Consider yourself fortunate that you learned English at home or are so fluent in it. English is a wonderful language. We don’t need foreign words to express ourselves.

        • Reddiaperbaby

          There is no English (not Englash) equivalent for mensch…however it is a well-known Yiddishism and has been used on TV and in movies frequently. Unless you’ve been living in a cave for 50 years, I’m sure you’ve heard it many times. You’re obviously not a New Yorker.
          Sent from my iPad

          • CPANewYork

            I am New Yorker and I know what the woed means, but that doesn’t justify using it in place of English words. To do so is an affectation thta doesn’t foster communication.

          • Reddiaperbaby

            I beg to differ…calling someone a shmuck or a putz is not an affectation, it’s a very emphatic statement and much more polite than jerk-off or prick.
            Sent from my iPad

          • dtgraham

            I agree Reddiaperbaby. Languages take words from other languages all the time. Some are short lived fads but others get permanently adopted. How many aren’t familiar with mensch? So many words have been taken from French and German especially and accepted into the English language. If you said kindergarden, gesundheit, or halt, you wouldn’t know they’ve been borrowed. Angst is a new word that’s apparently now English too, and schadenfreude and verboten seem to be almost there if they aren’t already. A recent National Memo article had schadenfreude in the headline. Sturm und drang is one of CPANewYork’s affectatious phrases that you’d occasionally see in an op-ed piece and was hot for a time, although I haven’t seen it in quite a while. That did seem to be going too far. Depends on the word.

          • Reddiaperbaby

            Thank you for that impeccably erudite post…what a joy to read! All your references are spot-on (a borrowed Britishism) and I do feel a bit of validation. For a minute there (well, perhaps not a whole minute), CPA had me feeling a little defensive, but I’m better now. Thanks again.
            Sent from my iPad

          • dtgraham

            Votre accueil. Willkommens. You’re welcome.

            Oops! Sorry.

            Note to self: must stick to English.

          • Reddiaperbaby

            OMG…a wit as well as an intellectual…I thought they had gone extinct.

            Sent from my iPad

          • dtgraham

            Thanks Reddiaper. That’s quite a compliment for a guy who looks for detailed instructions on all new sock purchases.

            Every once in a while I say the right thing.

          • Reddiaperbaby

            Oh, you are priceless…stop it, you’re cracking me up! ROTFL.

            Sent from my iPad

          • daniel bostdorf

            what does this moranic exchange have to do with article?
            Shame on you.

          • Reddiaperbaby

            You’re being really stupid…my response was to CPANY, who berated me for using a “foreign” word in my post, which had to do with the article in question. And the word is moronic!
            Sent from my iPad

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jim-Myers/100001512942781 Jim Myers

    What seems to be lost in all of the comments about the Tea Party and the extreme Right wing is that they have been MUCH MORE EFFECTIVE than most people realize.

    They have managed to push any monetary and political decisions far to the right of where they were a decade ago. Or even five years ago.

    THEY ARE MUCH MORE TOXIC TO OUR WAY OF LIFE THAN ANY ONE EVER IMAGINED!

    The insidious effects of their relentless attacks are taking a toll. For this reason, the Koch heads, Ditto heads, the Faux Snooze, etc are winning. And, even though we on the Left have managed to retain the White House and the Senate, the battle is far from over.

    • daniel bostdorf

      Propaganda GOP and their supporters:

      “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”

  • http://twitter.com/lilmsgs Please Make Sense

    Yes. That’s the point

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/HJIWONQOW4EAYMCA4QH2DDJMBU MARK

    It’s difficult to think that anyone who now depends on any of the social programs feel that Obama,in light of his opposition,has been strident enough in his defense of the safety net. I’m inclined to think that hard line lefties are having a problem to reconcile Obamas’ actions with the fact that a wise man never bargains with crooks-especially when those crooks consistently rub shoulders with fascism.

  • I vote

    Obama is a little republican. The republican’s should claim him as their own.

  • tiredofit

    This is ridiculous. Not one example of actual liberals attacking Obama, just a newspaper article.

    Why The National Memo and Alter are trying to gin up controversy like Fox News, I don’t know. But it’s sad.

    • daniel bostdorf

      agreed

  • bchrista

    I said it before and I’ll repeat it again THE REASON THE REPUBLICANS Want TO BANKRUPT SOCIAL SECURITY IS WITHOUT SOCIAL SECURITY then the IOUS will disappear and no one will ever have to repay what they owe us. As for Medicare, Medicaid once disposed of where will the Republicans find another agency to steal the money they are getting by fraud and over charging Medicare, Medicaid.

  • bchrista

    I can see where all you fellow pundits who voted for Obama come from,however, the only way Social Security and Medicare will ever be safe is to get a law passed that SS and Med are out of bounds to anyone taking anymore money from them for what ever reason, that they are to be used only for Seniors only, and enforce that law by a Decree that that cannot ever be change or amendments added to it to change it’s meaning off bounds period no exceptions.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/GGHNYPK4GNCRYZLXWVZ447WHJM Plznnn

    Liberals are angry that they didn’t get more taxes from more Americans down to $200,000, when they got their tax increase but almost no cuts in Spending??? The Tax increase to Spending Cuts was something like 41 to 1 Tax Increases, which amounts to more Debt and no actual Spending Cuts! I am sure you must see that?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tavia-Hughes/100000100020035 Tavia Hughes

    Listen Up You Liberal Democrat dicks-for-brains, your Commander-In-Chief needs for you to do the jobs the American People voted your asses in there to do!!! And if you feel a Republican brain freeze coming on, just look at their party IMPLODING AS YOUR EXAMPLE TO NOT SIT ON YOUR HANDS AND ACTUALLY AID THE PRESIDENT IN MAKING THIS COUNTRY GREAT AGAIN!!! REMEMBER, YOUR LIBERAL ASSES CAN BE PRIMARIED AS WELL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • daniel bostdorf

      go post at Fox News OK?
      We got our number Tavia….propagandist:

      “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”

  • billbear1961

    We HAVE thought about it: cut the goddamned military budget.

    I’m beyond merely SICK of the Imperial War Machine spreading death and destruction around the world in the name of “capitalist democracy”—an effing OXYMORON if ever there was one—while sapping the LIFE out of the Common Good here at home!

    It will also be necessary to introduce a VAT and to end CORPORATE welfare.

    SINGLE-PAYER is the inevitable answer, sooner or later, to the nation’s healthcare problems; and, of course, benefits will have to be means-tested for the wealthy.

    As for the income tax issue, it’s ANYTHING but over!!

    Where there is a WILL, my steadfast comrades!!

    We will be HEARD—too BAD if weak-kneed “centrists” don’t like what we have to say.

    Long live the American SOCIAL DEMOCRACY!!

    (And for Christ’s SAKE, get a LEASH on Wall Street and the banks before the whole business goes BELLY-UP, this time past all repair!!)

    • Reddiaperbaby

      OMG….I think I love you !!!!

  • seethroughurlies

    President Obama did compromise and did a good job keeping social security and Medicare off the chopping block for now. The Republicans should have screamed for a balanced budget and reducing the deficit when G. Bush was president. How many times did they raise the debt ceiling then? Three times? If you spend it on the elderly, disaster relief, the poor, or job creation then they have a problem.

  • daniel bostdorf

    Alter states a false conclusion because his premise that “liberals nip” is false.

    “If liberals are disappointed in Obama’s fiscal-cliff deal, imagine how they will feel in late February when he starts making tough choices on spending cuts. Liberals need to think harder about what their own long-term deficit reduction plan would be. Raising more revenue is necessary. It’s not sufficient.”

    Quoting Obama:

    “To even entertain the idea of the United States of America not paying our bills is irresponsible. It’s absurd,” Obama said in a press conference.”

    The president also responded directly to Republicans who continue to argue that increasing the nation’s borrowing limit only contributes to Washington’s spending problem. He repeatedly emphasized that raising the debt ceiling does not authorize any new spending but simply allows the government to continue to pay for obligations to which Congress has already agreed.

    This has nothing to do with liberals.

    This has EVERYTHING to do wit Unamerican obstructionist GOP.

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