I was going to write an article expressing these sentiments, and I figured I might as well let Cenk Uygur's scathing screed against President Obama be the catalyst for it. Cenk wants to know how trying to be the President of all of the United States by opening the door to bipartisanship (which the Republicans never took him up on) worked out for the White House. Fair question, I guess. I think here's a better question, though: How'd screaming at the White House and dumping on the President 24/7 work out for the ideological monoliths?
There is plenty of blame to assign as to what Democrats lost, and for the big ticket items, I will direct you to this excellent comment. I do not regret supporting any of the transformative things that were done in the last two years under a Democratic Congress. Not one bit. Democrats did the right thing for this country and took a bullet. I'm proud of them for doing so.
But if the President is guilty of naively reaching across the isle and trying to work with the Republicans, his detractors on the ideologically rigid left - the likes of Cenk Uygur, Jane Hamsher, Adam Green - are almost solely responsible for the depressed turnout on the left. Day after day, since the day the President was sworn in, they have dedicated themselves to bashing the President and his team, without regard to facts.
Instead of standing by the President when he had to make quick decisions to rescue this country from catastrophe and utter chaos, these critics ripped into the President's staffing decisions. Instead of examining the full context of health reform, the ideologues lamented the loss of a weak public option and refused to admit any good in the overall reform that will provide coverage to 32 million additional American and has already outlawed pre-existing conditions discrimination against children.
Instead of rallying their vast networks of supporters and readers behind the most significant piece of financial reform since the 1930s, these my-way-or-highway minded individuals were busy amplifying its few imperfections over its far-reaching impact and strong regulations on financial institutions.
Other significant once-in-a-lifetime reforms and advancements like student loan reform, credit card reform, children's health insurance expansion under SCHIP, workplace and paycheck fairness for women and hate crimes legislation barely registered on the radars of these pompous self-aggrandizers. They refused to even recognize the unprecedented challenges this President faced both because of unprecedented obstruction and having to be president while black. Instead of having the President's back when he needed us badly, they stabbed him in the back. Why? Probably to cash in (I use that term quite literally) in the populist anger in the aftermath of the financial collapse.
Every single one of these reforms will forever change the lives of ordinary Americans for the better. Most have already begun to. Yet, all you heard from the Cenk Uygur and his cohorts is unabashed, fact-less condemnation of the President and the Democrats every time they have had to make a few compromises to make big reforms forward. All you heard from them is how the President is a sellout, how the Democratic members of Congress who took tough votes (and ultimately ended up losing their seats) must be in the pockets of corporate America since they were not able to get through this little part in one bill or that little part in another. All you heard was what a disappointment President Obama was, despite - or perhaps because of - his accomplishments in office.
This attitude and the mega microphones given to each of them inside the left media establishment misinformed well-intentioned liberals and Democrats badly, and contributed heavily to depressing their turnout, I have no doubt. Over and over again, they have demanded the President's ideological loyalty, but have offered none of it to the President in return. They instilled in anyone who would listen to them that because they didn't get 100% of their demands, Democrats were not worth voting for. If they want someone to blame for election night, they have only to look in the mirror.
Cenk Uygur likes to tell us about the contrast between how President Obama is handling the loss vs how the Republicans are handling their win. Well, here's something to ponder for you, Cenk: when George Bush was president, the right didn't constantly snip and freak out at his imperfection (from the political right's perspective). They stood by him. Maybe there's a lesson somewhere there for you.
I watched Jane Hamsher and Adam Green on MSNBC on election night. They were positively giddy to say a bunch of things that all boiled down to "I told you so." And Cenk seems similarly giddy in his piece. So I have only one question for this crowd: How'd beating up constantly on the President work out for you?
The honest answer, of course, is that it didn't work out well. It certainly didn't work out well for the progressive movement as a whole. But, I suspect their answer might actually be that it worked out quite well for their narrow agenda, which is, in a word, spite.
Perhaps the President and the Democrats did not do a good enough job of selling their accomplishments to the American people. Perhaps they could be faulted for overconfidence in the American people. Or perhaps the electorate was just in the mood to punish whoever is in power in a still fragile economy where the progress we have made is not yet being felt in the pocketbooks. Perhaps all of these things. But for the bonafied members of the Poutrage Artists' Society of America to come and do a happy I-told-you-so dance over the loss of Speaker Pelosi's gavel is shameless. And I am not going to put up with it. Enough is enough.