The Disillusioned Center-Left’s Case Against Obama: He’s Just Not Living Up To All That Stuff We Made Up About Him In Our Heads
January 23, 2010 9 Comments
I suppose it’s only natural that we’re starting to see a few public changes of heart, come-to-Jesus moments, regarding President Obama coming from the left part of the spectrum. Theatrical statements of disapproval, of regret, of disappointment, of how he has “let them down” in this or that regard. Call it strategic distance-putting, call it sincere, call it what you will – but inevitably stuff like this does seem to happen anytime a formerly-beloved public figure dips in the polls. Here’s a typical example from Mort Zuckerman (“He’s Done Everything Wrong”).
I am certainly not a fan of President Obama (and indeed have become a bit less of one over the past year). But I do find myself wondering: what on earth are these lefties talking about? There is nothing that President Obama has done that wasn’t completely and entirely predictable. Exactly what is he doing that wasn’t expected of him? Packing his administration with no-private-experience ideologues? Expected. Antagonizing Wall Street and playing the populist? Expected. Trying to shove through a monstrous, opaque, intrusive ‘healthcare’ bill? Totally expected.
On all these things and more, I think President Obama, and his supporters, could just respond just by saying: “Um, we’re doing exactly what we wanted to do, and planned to do, and said we would do, and then you voted us into office by a landslide. So what the heck is the problem?” And you know what? They’d have a freaking point.
When folks on the left or center-left express disillusionment and dismay that President Obama hasn’t governed as some sort of pragmatic non-ideologue who unites the country, takes the middle road, and keeps the pork and yuck out of government, it seems to me that the fault lies not with Obama. It lies with the people who bizarrely believed Obama would do otherwise in the first place.
There was never any objective, factual basis for believing that President Obama would be any other way than what we are seeing. Apparently, a large chunk of Obama’s voting base consisted of people who invented some sort of counterfactual, reality-immune fantasy in their head and then voted for that fantasy when ticking ‘Obama’ on their ballots. I’m sure there are plenty of valid criticisms to be made of President Obama, but the fact that the real President Obama doesn’t correspond to naive, irrational voters’ fantasies doesn’t strike me as one of them.