A Progressive Rebellion Could Help Obama in 2012

At the very moment that Fox and O’Reilly were bashing Obama, so was Keith Olbermann on MSNBC.


There may be no more intellectually and morally skewed a political philosophy than: “The rich have the clout to demand more money; let’s give it to them.” Yet you have to hand it to American conservatives. They are far better than liberals at achieving their objectives.

Since so many more of us are out working for a living, instead of dallying at the yacht club, there has to be some other reason why U.S. government policies tilt toward building a two-tiered society. It cannot be explained by numbers.

Conservative discipline, and unity of purpose, is part of the answer. And it took no more than two or three minutes of channel surfing last night to see why. In the 8 p.m. hour on the East Coast, there was the Fox News team, all singing from the same sheet of music, gleefully skewering President Obama.

[See photos of the Obamas behind the scenes.]

Caught up in the fun, the network’s White House correspondent, James Rosen, urgently declared that Obama’s surrender on taxes and use of a hostage metaphor to explain the deal was a frightful invitation to Osama bin Laden to launch an attack. That was too much, even, for Bill O’Reilly, who suggested that Rosen might want to breathe into a paper bag for a few moments, and stop hyper-ventilating.

But. Repetition. Repetition. Repetition. When the tax deal becomes old news, Fox will move on to the next bash-Obama topic. Wikileaks. Black Panthers. It makes no difference. It’s the constant drumbeat that counts.

[Read 5 things we didn't learn from Wikileaks.]

An observer might expect that an examination of MSNBC, or The Nation, or the liberal columnists at the New York Times, would reveal much the same: left-leaning commentary defending a Democratic president who had just wrung a bunch of concessions for out-of-work and working-class Americans (the people that liberals are supposed to care about) from the Republican Scrooges.

No way. At the very moment that Fox and O’Reilly were bashing Obama, so was Keith Olbermann on MSNBC.

In a Special Comment, Olbermann accused the president of political treason. In doing so, he followed Frank Rich, Paul Krugman, Katrina vanden Heuvel, Michael Lerner, Bill Maher, Michael Moore, and others--all of whom have taken to stomping their feet and declaring in recent days that Obama, the most liberal president since LBJ, is both a traitor to the cause, and a wuss. Some have suggested that liberals find their own candidate to run against Obama in 2012.

That would, of course, be the ultimate act of self-defeating self-absorption, at which liberals are so skilled. It is illustrative of the extent of such delusion that Lerner’s list of leftish candidates includes Rachel Maddow, Rep. Maxine Waters, Sen. Bernie Sanders, and Susan Sarandon as potential presidents of the United States.

There is a potential upside for Obama. If it doesn’t go too far, a Rocky Horror show on his Left may actually persuade independent and moderate voters that the president is the centrist they thought they voted for. Americans, right now, want good jobs at good wages, and Obama is trying to get them for us.

Yet the tax deal that Obama cut is but a temporary patch. Americans will still need to make huge choices in the months ahead about taxes, debt, pensions, defense and health care. Democrats will be called on to defend their philosophy of government. [Read 10 Things You Didn't Know About the Bush Tax Cuts.]

Liberals, it would seem, will fare better in that debate if they showed a little discipline of their own, and united behind President Obama, instead of dancing the Time Warp with Janet Weiss.

  • See which industries give the most to Congress.
  • See photos of the Obamas behind the scenes.
  • See political cartoons about Obama.