Why Obama Faces Grumbling From the Left

Some of his actions have unsettled liberals, but it's the economy that could undermine Obama's support.

By + More

Democratic strategists are concerned that some of President Obama's recent policy decisions may end his honeymoon with his party's liberal activists. "His problem will be, how can he convince the left to let him be pragmatic?" says a prominent Obama supporter.

Obama has unsettled liberals by delaying his promised withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from Iraq by a few months and by defending some of the Bush administration's antiterrorism policies, including the protection of "state secrets" in a way that some liberals believe goes too far. Some liberals are also upset at what they consider the administration's waffling on whether the Justice Department should prosecute senior Bush administration officials who authorized harsh interrogation techniques or whether a special commission should investigate the matter.

"Overall, the irony is we have more troops now in Iraq and Afghanistan than we did under Bush and the deficit has doubled," says the Obama supporter.

He adds that Obama's problems will be even worse if the economy fails to improve in the next few months. At that point, everyday Americans and people on the left may not give him the benefit of the doubt anymore. A prominent Obama advocate says, "He's getting a pass now, but at the end of the summer, people will say, 'Why doesn't my brother have a job yet?' "