By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Thunder on the left

In my latest for the Guardian, I take note of President Obama’s troubles with the liberal netroots — and wonder why he hasn’t figured out a way to play that to his advantage.


Pittsburgh’s strawberry fields


A righteous gotcha


  1. lkcape

    The answer, most likely Dan, is that he is late coming to the realization that things are not playing to his advantage.

    Has he read a mandate that doesn’t exist? Who knows.

    He is being pulled mightily by the competing interests of politics and governance. He has yet to find that groove.

    Until he does, his troubles will continue.

    With Iraq and Afganistan, health care, energy, and the nation’s burgeoning deficit spending on the menu for this fall, his opportunity for having to face trouble is monumental.

  2. Doug Shugarts

    I think many on the left believe (or hope) that the invective aimed at Obama by the right reflects the president’s actual stances.

    Nonsense. Obama is, and always has been, a left-leaning pragmatist, not a ‘sword-of-the-people’ ideologue.

  3. cavard

    I don’t necessarily think Obama’s a left-leaning pragmatist. That sounds rather George Lakoff-ian, if you know what I mean. Obama is, and IMO always will be, a moderate. The majority of Americans, at least from the polls I’ve seen, are to the left of Obama. It’s not just “sword-of-the-people ideologues.” Look at where people stand on public option, the Iraqi and Afghani occupations, and global warming and you’ll see that many people want him to take more progressive positions on the issues. It’s more than just the ideologues making all the noise.

  4. Neil

    What happened to the big comment box? Give us some room to write read here. There’s a ton a white space surrounding this comment box. Don’t be stingy.

  5. Neil

    Here’s a paragraph that’ll give you whiplash:

    I’ll grant you that it all seems a bit much. [Dan says about Bob Neer’s take and many other criticisms of Obama cited, without explaining what criticisms are “too much” however we can conclude from Dan’s tone they are unreasonable and shrill and that conversely Dan is reasonable and not shrill] Not that Obama hasn’t been a disappointment in some respects. Personally, I find his stiff-arming of civil liberties and gay rights to be particularly galling.

  6. Neil

    “By embracing netroots opposition, Obama could make the case that he is, in fact, a president who commands the broad middle of American politics, disliked as much by the left as the right.”

    That’s counter-intuitive coalition building by virtue of declaring all of the factions with which you will NOT be aligned. How does that work?

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