The left has a message for Barack Obama: Shape up, or we’re shipping out.
A high-profile conclave of progressives, which served as a platform for supporting Obama in years past, opened in Washington on Monday amid growing disenchantment with the president over the Gulf oil spill, health care, jobs, immigration and political deal cutting.
Liberal activists warned that Obama can no longer count on a progressive base that was supposed to protect Democrats from a mass wipeout in the midterms in 2010 and propel him to reelection in 2012.
“We are not apathetic, we are not depressed — we are willing to get out and fight for the people who fight for us,” said Ilyse Hogue, MoveOn.org’s campaign director, at the Campaign for America’s Future annual meeting. “But no longer can they count on us for a solid Democratic vote. We are getting more sophisticated to understand that not all Democrats are created equal.”
The criticism of Obama during the lightly attended opening day was more visceral than issue specific and more in the vein of familial disapproval than open revolt. It’s also not clear where liberals, who helped fueled Obama’s ascent to the presidency, might turn in 2012 if Obama is on the ballot.
But the left's lack of enthusiasm for its representation in Washington — the "enthusiasm gap" between dispirited liberals and hyperenergized conservatives — is palpable and poses a real danger to Obama and his congressional allies, said veteran progressive Robert Borosage, who organized the conference. (Continues here)