How The White House Misjudged The Political Landscape

Submitted by Eternity on Sun, 12/20/2009 - 18:01.

Robert Cruickshank @ Fire Dog Lake - As progressives on and offline continue to debate the future of the health care reform bill, attention is finally shifting to the underlying factors that have gotten us into this mess in the first place: namely, the mistakes of the White House. Meteor Blades at Daily Kos asks the right question – why is it that progressives are getting blamed for this? Others reply that Obama does the best he can, and that to avoid a collapse in the 2010 elections, Democrats and progressives need to "point out all the good" that Obama has done so far.


But that isn’t enough. The fact is that Democratic electeds, the president first and foremost, have completely misunderstood American politics in 2009. I’m not talking just about the failed and senseless efforts at bipartisanship, though Obama’s underestimation of the level of control Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and the teabaggers have over the Republican Party hasn’t helped.


Instead I’m talking about the inability of the White House to understand the changing nature of the American left. The late 20th century experience of a marginalized and weak left has been replaced during the 2000s by a much more powerful and popular movement. The White House’s unwillingness to treat that movement as an equal partner is damaging not only the health care bill, but the political fate of Democrats in 2010 and, potentially, 2012.

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