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Liberals voice concerns about Obama

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Liberals are growing increasingly nervous – and some just flat-out angry – that President-elect Barack Obama seems to be stiffing them on Cabinet jobs and policy choices.

Obama has reversed pledges to immediately repeal tax cuts for the wealthy and take on Big Oil. He’s hedged his call for a quick drawdown in Iraq. And he’s stocking his White House with anything but stalwarts of the left.

Now some are shedding a reluctance to puncture the liberal euphoria at being rid of President George W. Bush to say, in effect, that the new boss looks like the old boss.

“He has confirmed what our suspicions were by surrounding himself with a centrist to right cabinet. But we do hope that before it's all over we can get at least one authentic progressive appointment,” said Tim Carpenter, national director of the Progressive Democrats of America.

OpenLeft blogger Chris Bowers went so far as to issue this plaintive plea: “Isn't there ever a point when we can get an actual Democratic administration?”

Even supporters make clear they’re on the lookout for backsliding. “There’s a concern that he keep his basic promises and people are going to watch him,” said Roger Hickey, a co-founder of Campaign for America’s Future.

Obama insists he hasn’t abandoned the goals that made him feel to some like a liberal savior. But the left’s bill of particulars against Obama is long, and growing.

Obama drew rousing applause at campaign events when he vowed to tax the windfall profits of oil companies. As president-elect, Obama says he won’t enact the tax.

Obama’s pledge to repeal the Bush tax cuts and redistribute that money to the middle class made him a hero among Democrats who said the cuts favored the wealthy. But now he’s struck a more cautious stance on rolling back tax cuts for people making over $250,000 a year, signaling he’ll merely let them expire as scheduled at the end of 2010.

Obama’s post-election rhetoric on Iraq and choices for national security team have some liberal Democrats even more perplexed. As a candidate, Obama defined and separated himself from his challengers by highlighting his opposition to the war in Iraq from the start. He promised to begin to end the war on his first day in office.

Now Obama’s says that on his first day in office he will begin to “design a plan for a responsible drawdown,” as he told NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday. Obama has also filled his national security positions with supporters of the Iraq war: Sen. Hillary Clinton, who voted to authorize force in Iraq, as his secretary of state; and President George W. Bush’s defense secretary, Robert Gates, continuing in the same role.

The central premise of the left’s criticism is direct – don’t bite the hand that feeds, Mr. President-elect. The Internet that helped him so much during the election is lighting up with irritation and critiques.

“There don't seem to be any liberals in Obama's cabinet,” writes John Aravosis, the editor of Americablog.com. “What does all of this mean for Obama's policies, and just as important, Obama Supreme Court announcements?”

“Actually, it reminds me a bit of the campaign, at least the beginning and the middle, when the Obama campaign didn't seem particularly interested in reaching out to progressives,” Aravosis continues. “Once they realized that in order to win they needed to marshal everyone on their side, the reaching out began. I hope we're not seeing a similar ‘we can do it alone’ approach in the transition team.”

This isn’t the first liberal letdown over Obama, who promptly angered the left after winning the Democratic primary by announcing he backed a compromise that would allow warrantless wiretapping on U.S. soil to continue.

Now it’s Obama’s Cabinet moves that are drawing the most fire. It’s not just that he’s picked Clinton and Gates. It’s that liberal Democrats say they’re hard-pressed to find one of their own on Obama’s team so far – particularly on the economic side, where people like Tim Geithner and Lawrence Summers are hardly viewed as pro-labor.

“At his announcement of an economic team there was no secretary of labor. If you don’t think the labor secretary is on the same level as treasury secretary, that gives me pause,” said Jonathan Tasini, who runs the website workinglife.org. “The president-elect wouldn't be president-elect without labor."

During the campaign Obama gained labor support by saying he favored legislation that would make it easier for unions to form inside companies. The “card check” bill would get rid of a secret-ballot method of voting to form a union and replace it with a system that would require companies to recognize unions simply if a majority of workers signed cards saying they want one. Obama still supports that legislation, aides say – but union leaders are worried that he no longer talks it up much as president-elect.

“It's complicated,” said Tasini, who challenged Clinton for Senate in 2006. “On the one hand, the guy hasn't even taken office yet so it's a little hasty to be criticizing him. On the other hand, there is legitimate cause for concern. I think people are still waiting but there is some edginess about this.”

That’s a view that seems to have kept some progressive leaders holding their fire. There are signs of a struggle within the left wing of the Democratic Party about whether it’s just too soon to criticize Obama -- and if there’s really anything to complain about just yet.

Case in point: One of the Campaign for America’s Future blogs commented on Obama’s decision not to tax oil companies’ windfall profits saying, “Between this move and the move to wait to repeal the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, it seems like the Obama team is buying into the right-wing frame that raising any taxes - even those on the richest citizens and wealthiest corporations - is bad for the economy.”

Yet Campaign for America’s Future will be join about 150 progressive organizations, economists and labor groups to release a statement Tuesday in support of a large economic stimulus package like the one Obama has proposed, said Hickey, a co-founder of the group.

“I’ve heard the most grousing about the windfall profits tax, but on the other hand, Obama has committed himself to a stimulus package that makes a down payment on energy efficiency and green jobs,” Hickey said. “The old argument was, here’s how we afford to make these investments – we tax the oil companies’ windfall profits. … The new argument is, in a bad economy that could get worse, we don’t.”

Obama is asking for patience – saying he’s only shifting his stance on some issues because circumstances are shifting.

Aides say he backed off the windfall profits tax because oil prices have dropped below $80 a barrel. Obama also defended hedging on the Bush tax cuts.

“My economic team right now is examining, do we repeal that through legislation? Do we let it lapse so that, when the Bush tax cuts expire, they're not renewed when it comes to wealthiest Americans?” Obama said on “Meet the Press.” “We don't yet know what the best approach is going to be.”

On Iraq, he says he’s just trying to make sure any U.S. pullout doesn’t ignite “any resurgence of terrorism in Iraq that could threaten our interests.”

Obama has told his supporters to look beyond his appointments, that the change he promised will come from him and that when his administration comes together they will be happy.

“I think that when you ultimately look at what this advisory board looks like, you'll say this is a cross-section of opinion that in some ways reinforces conventional wisdom, in some ways breaks with orthodoxy in all sorts of way,” Obama recently said in response to questions about his appointments during a news conference on the economy.

The leaders of some liberal groups are willing to wait and see.

“He hasn’t had a first day in office,” said John Isaacs, the executive director for Council for Livable World. “To me it’s not as important as who’s there, than what kind of policies they carry out.”

“These aren’t out-and-out liberals on the national security team, but they may be successful implementers of what the Obama national security policy is,” Isaacs added. “We want to see what policies are carried forward, as opposed to appointments.”

Juan Cole, who runs a prominent anti-war blog called Informed Comment, said he worries Obama will get bad advice from Clinton on the Middle East, calling her too pro-Israel and “belligerent” toward Iran. “But overall, my estimation is that he has chosen competence over ideology, and I'm willing to cut him some slack,” Cole said.

Other voices of the left don’t like what they’re seeing so far and aren’t waiting for more before they speak up.

New York Times columnist Frank Rich warned that Obama’s economic team of Summers and Geithner reminded him of John F. Kennedy’s “best and the brightest” team, who blundered in Vietnam despite their blue-chip pedigrees.

David Corn, Washington bureau chief of the liberal magazine Mother Jones, wrote in Sunday’s Washington Post that he is “not yet reaching for a pitchfork.”

But the headline of his op-ed sums up his point about Obama’s Cabinet appointments so far: “This Wasn’t Quite the Change We Envisioned.”

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NEWSFLASH: HE'S GOING TO GOVERN FROM THE CENTER! Film at 11.

More like the right!


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Filed: Citizen (pnd) Country: Hong Kong
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NEWSFLASH: HE'S GOING TO GOVERN FROM THE CENTER! Film at 11.

More like the right!

To liberals, the center is the right. Liberals think they are the center. How often do you hear the term "Far Left" from the MSM?

http://newsbusters.org/blogs/kyle-drennen/...aming-moderates

CBS’s Schieffer: Obama Cabinet ‘Bunch of Flaming Moderates’

By Kyle Drennen (Bio | Archive)

December 4, 2008 - 12:30 ET

On Thursday’s "CBS Early Show," co-host Harry Smith talked discussed the Obama transition with Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer, who observed: "...a lot of people said this is going to be a very extremist president and all that, that he's a very liberal Democrat, but as we have seen in appointment after appointment, he's hewing to the center. He's picking a bunch of flaming moderates here, when you come right down t it.

"Now some liberal Democrats may not like that, but he's getting praised generally across the board here." Smith agreed: "Yeah, Bob, I would guess that the only people who really feel like they have their feathers ruffled are, maybe, the liberal Democrats."

What the h3!! is a "flaming" moderate?? :blink:

Who would've thought... weren't liberals supposed to be blind believers in Obama?

They were until they discovered he wasn't quite the Leftist Messiah they thought he was.


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Filed: Other Country: United Kingdom
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Op-Eds can say what they like. When the alternative was tired old John McCain - the self-described "Maverick" who needed a younger running mate to jazz up his campaign...

People always complain.

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Filed: AOS (apr) Country: Colombia
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NEWSFLASH: HE'S GOING TO GOVERN FROM THE CENTER! Film at 11.

More like the right!

To liberals, the center is the right. Liberals think they are the center. How often do you hear the term "Far Left" from the MSM?

http://newsbusters.org/blogs/kyle-drennen/...aming-moderates

CBS's Schieffer: Obama Cabinet 'Bunch of Flaming Moderates'

By Kyle Drennen (Bio | Archive)

December 4, 2008 - 12:30 ET

On Thursday's "CBS Early Show," co-host Harry Smith talked discussed the Obama transition with Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer, who observed: "...a lot of people said this is going to be a very extremist president and all that, that he's a very liberal Democrat, but as we have seen in appointment after appointment, he's hewing to the center. He's picking a bunch of flaming moderates here, when you come right down t it.

"Now some liberal Democrats may not like that, but he's getting praised generally across the board here." Smith agreed: "Yeah, Bob, I would guess that the only people who really feel like they have their feathers ruffled are, maybe, the liberal Democrats."

What the h3!! is a "flaming" moderate?? :blink:

Who would've thought... weren't liberals supposed to be blind believers in Obama?

They were until they discovered he wasn't quite the Leftist Messiah they thought he was.

Well, I'm 'liberal' and to me centrist means taking all points into consideration before ruling what path to take. Unfortunately, neo-con mindsets are not really that well known for much flexibility. In other words, perhaps American 'liberals' didn't vote for Obama merely on the label game you just included in your post. ;)

(and I live a few blocks from Obama so that must put me in liberal central)


Wishing you ten-fold that which you wish upon all others.

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Who would've thought... weren't liberals supposed to be blind believers in Obama?

They were until they discovered he wasn't quite the Leftist Messiah they thought he was.

:lol: That's a load of rubbish and you know it.

People vote for political candidates for all kinds of reasons and under all kinds of different preconceptions.

The appeal of Obama - at its most superficial - has to do with the total lack of confidence people have in GWB, and by extension - the GOP. Given that the alternative was a washed out, old-school politician who couldn't convincingly (and more importantly - publicly) articulate himself or his ideas for getting the country out of the mire.... its not hard to see why people were attracted to Obama.

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Who would've thought... weren't liberals supposed to be blind believers in Obama?

They still cling to their "Messiah". :wacko:

They're just a bit confused as to who this guy really is. Welcome to my world I say!

The guy's never been vetted so why are they surprised?


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Geezes. He's not even in power yet, and being attacked already. This tells how most people are. Do before ask.

The discussion is about his choices for his administration and the bias they are percieved to have that's contrary to the leftist image that 'liberals' imagined Obama to have, and that he himself projected during his candidacy.

He's not what "move-on" types expected thus far. Too bad as that what happens when you vote for someone that has no experience, no record, and only superficial attributes.

Edited by *entitlements_yay

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Experience being President of a country? Nobody has it until you got the first term in. He has experiences that is the precursor. But, to say someone who has not any experience as President doesn't really prove a point.

I betcha if he is a good President, those who oppose him will probably continue to say bad things about him.


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Who would've thought... weren't liberals supposed to be blind believers in Obama?

Hey, now wait a minute.

Although I could not vote, it did not stop me from talking diehard republicans into voting for Obama.

(Well, I think I did, haha.)

The thing is, I may be labelled a liberal by people who insist on labeling people, and I already understood that there was no way Obama could hold true to his word(s).

It was just too good! :P

I'm talking about from waaaaayyy back when he first hit the national scene.

Midway he had already started to soften on some of his stances and then he even completely did a 180 on other issues.

What can I/we say?

That's politics.

And we swallow it all...don't we.

If we didn't, then things like this would not happen and elected officials would be held to task.

Pinned to the wall so to speak.

Welcome to the land of the people-with-shrugging-shoulders.

Bah!

Apathy is rampant.

:o

ETA: "Keep your friends close and your enemies closer." (???)


SpiritAlight edits due to extreme lack of typing abilities. :)

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