Go Perry

Posted on September 24, 2011 by

You can’t blame Barack Obama for the Tea Party. 

But the president’s failure to channel populist anger against corrupt corporate and financial elites may have enabled the right wing revolt. 

America’s conservative impulse is always lurking below the surface.  Sometimes presidents can diffuse it by pointing the finger at those elements which are holding back progress. 

FDR could direct public rage at business interests which opposed reform.  And Clinton could use his empathic affect to steer public opinion toward a centrist consensus. 

It’s ironic and tragic that President Obama’s conciliatory temperament backfired politically. 

Heading to the fourth quarter of his first term, Mr. Obama finally seems to be shifting his game. 

His jobs campaign may not create much employment, but it certainly seems to throw his opponents off balance. 

Now even a slight upward blip in the economy could make him competitive in the 2012 election. 

Let’s face it: many Obama-supporters are scared stiff of a Romney candidacy, hoping that Rick Perry can get his act together before the primaries.   (Paradoxically, Obama’s low poll numbers encourage grass-roots republicans to go for broke with an ultra-conservative nominee like the Texas Governor).

There’s no value right now in replaying the Obama-era.  We elected a very smart, decent, principled and ambitious man who got swamped by an intractable economy and an incorrigible opposition. 

He may have lacked the instincts to tackle the crisis.  But he’s a a good campaigner, a great guy and whatever  Nader, Kucinich or Cornel West may say, we can’t afford the risk of a primary opponent.

Comments (9)


  1. Bill Thomas says:


    Well said as usual. As unhappy as I am with the President three years into what I hope is his first term, I look at the clips at that group of malcontents and misfits at the Republican debates (at that is just the audience!) and I shudder.

    The Obama Biden 2012 bumper sticker goes on the Mini Coper very soon, I promise, right next to my OMG-GOP-WTF sticker.

  2. Greg says:

    Bill, Where can I get a few of those omg-gop-wtf stickers?

  3. Buddy Gottlieb says:

    What IS the risk of a Dem primary? No one would expect that progressive candidate to beat Obama, and as the linked article says, it might make Obama a better candidate, and might convince centrists that the Repubs are truly irresponsible nutcases. It might also succeed in holding Obama’s feet to the fire, instead of allowing his handlers to chide the “professional left” for their valid critiques of him. He seems in need of reminding about who got him elected, and what he (said) he stands for. Where is the Obama who said he was going to put his sneakers on and join labor’s picket line? There have been plenty of opportunities to do that, and he’s passed them up. He’s continued to be nice to people — even as he now tries to embarrass them by demanding infrastructure improvements in their Congressional districts — who don’t return the favor and more importantly, have openly vowed to defeat him and trash the economy in the process. Why isn’t he openly championing working people, and calling out the Repubs who don’t care a whit about them? Or about education, or about transportation, all necessary heavy expenditures to get the economy going, and to keep us competitive. He’s come closer lately to doing what he should have done years ago: demand heavy deficit stimulus spending and reform, and either get it or let the American people know who’s responsible for obstructing it. If there is no Dem primary, the debate is going to be about whether there is climate change, whether there is intelligent design, whether unions should be allowed to exist. There needs to be a forum for the large part of the electorate that believes the government has a role to play in helping people, and not just through tax cuts and further devastating deregulation (that is, by disappearing). Of course progressives who don’t stay home will vote this time for Obama, but much more reluctantly, and without the accompanying financial and “in kind” support. That’s in part the danger of NOT having a primary.

  4. The challenge to Obama is idiotic politically, but Lou, as I understand the word “principle” it means something to which someone holds come hell or high water. What are the principles to which Obama has held fast, and could you name them? Closing of Guantanamo? Putting his weight to diminishing the permanent war economy? A diminishing of the national security state and the assault on the constitution? A populist program for those who were not made whole by the collapse of the economy, mostly ex-home owners or soon to be ex home owners? A hard charging leadership and pedagogical bully pulpit on environmental questions? The new stimulus proposal is, I’m sorry to say, all about 2012 politics, and has no chance of passing. Ron Suskind’s new book seems to put Obama’s “principles” in clear focus: he didn’t have many for which he was willing to fight hard. He was too impressed by the folks he spent time with at Harvard, the “best and the brightest”, hence his servile attachment to Geithner, Summers and their ilk . What am I missing? I will vote for the man, but not because he has the principles you seem to have conjured for him. http://nymag.com/daily/intel/2011/09/obamas_economic_quagmire_frank.html

  5. Greg II says:

    Unfortunately, racism is still a huge impediment to progress in this country. It is simply revealing itself in ways we haven’t seen since before the Civil Rights laws were past.

  6. Rod Bradley says:

    Lou: you say:

    We elected a very smart, decent, principled and ambitious man who got swamped by an intractable economy and an incorrigible opposition.

    I disagree. What are the principles he stands for– the little guy? peace? exactly what?

    Swamped? Not by the economy, but his own lack of principles and no inner core. None. If he had any principles, he would’ve fought for them. And maybe lost, but he would’ve fought.

    Intractable economy? No, intractable imagination, no guts, no thinking outside the box. He’s Harvard smart maybe, but this is not where original thinkers and responders generally come from any more. He’s a very conventional thinker, no imagination — and worse worse worse, no connection to life itself, life outside the privileged elite world he lives in.

    You said it yourself: lacks the instincts. Because he doesn’t have instincts, not life instincts. He’s another elitist intellectual who now states the obvious.

    I know you want to still hope. I know you want to dream. I know you are an Obama apologist. That’s okay. I don’t hold it against you. But it’s frankly bull.

    No, I don’t think he’s a great guy. I don’t think a guy who continues the black ops, the drone attacks, the coddling of Wall Street, who lies and breaks promises without a fight and who constantly displays political cowardice and poltical shuck and jive is a great guy. Granted he does it elegantly, but come on. You call this being a great guy! Playing golf while people are hurting, back room deals with the movers and shakers.

    Come on, man, this is not great guy stuff — this is great echo I’ll get mine down the road stuff.

    Wake up!

    He needs to be challenged. He merits challenge. He’s mediocre. He’s empty. He’s not even “intelligent” in any true meaning of the word. He’s simply in over his head. And does know what he stands for other than wanting it all to be nice.

    If you think there is any real soul left in the democratic machine, you’re more naive than I thought. It’s all about money, Lou. And that’s what Obama is all about.

    If the right challenger came up against him, he would beat him and still win the election. Do you doubt if Robert Kennedy hadn’t been assassinated, he would’ve won?

    And truly, the elitists want Perry because he’s such an idiot. But I think he’s far more dangerous than Romney. He’s utterly shameless.

    Obama has turned off way too many. I hope he comes through and at least gives the illusion of meaning what he says now — but who can believe it. Name one thing Lou that the guy has fought for. One thing.

    And then think about drones and the idiocy of Afghanistan and how he’s totally enthralled with the military and Tim Geitner and Eric Holder, a joke, a total joke.

    Lou, I like you man, but the one thing that might do Obama some good is a potential threat. Maybe it would get him focused instead of dismissive and even contemptuous of the common sense progressive strain which is actually the majority of the country which he just doesn’t get. He’s a product of policy wonks, and political operatives who are way out of touch with reality.

  7. Gavin says:

    I am less concerned with Obama’s performance as to the Republican’s mission to block anything with his name on it, regardless of any merit value to the US cititzens.

    This shameful act has no question affected Obama’s abilities and needs to be taken into account when discussing issues with Obama’s performance.

  8. deborah b. says:

    I’d say he’s principled on a personal level, but not on a stick to your campaign promises level. Is that what you meant, Lou?

  9. Joaquin Calderon says:

    Obama and the Democrats need the Tea Party. So long as the Tea Party maintains a strong presence the consertative and right-to-center tone of the Obamacrats becomes somewhat digestable when infused into what has become the left-wing mantra of “voting for the least of the worst.”

    In 2008, when true advocates for our communities tried to spotlight the cozy relationship Obama held with Wall Street investment firms like Goldman Sachs our so called “leaders” rebutted with the argument, “well we can’t get everything with Obama but at least it’s not [insert Republican candidate name of your choice]…” If we want to change the tone of Obama we need to start by removing the functionaries of the Democratic party that dominate our labor unions, labor studies centers, and community based organizations. These so called “leaders” want us to blindly walk the Democratic talk through Tea Party fear-mongering. Let’s face it, many of our “leaders” on the left need the Tea Party more than Repulicans do.

    In 2012, if we don’t kick out these so called local “leaders” lets at the very least reject their tired allegiance to Democrats and the cozy relationships they have developed by leading us to the blue each election cycle. Let them call us “crazy.” It seems like only when you are lableled crazy are you taken seriously in U.S. politics. This time around, don’t check Democrats or Republicans. Vote for a new path…. do something crazy…. vote in a new Party….

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