Progressive Jewish disillusionment with Obama
11/24/2009 - 01:00
James Besser
Tuesday, November 24th, 2009 If you’re looking for graphic examples of how some on the left have soured on President Obama, check out this from the Shalom Center’s Rabbi Arthur Waskow. Waskow offers up a “future history” of Campaign 2012, in which the election of Sarah Palin sparks massive demonstrations and “unprecedented movements of US Army troops” in Washington to counter the protesters. Whoa. Palin’s election, Waskow writes, “was brought about by three factors: the rise of the official unemployment rate to 15 percent, plus another 9 percent of workers who had given up seeking work and thereby gone off the official count; the rising weekly death toll of US troops in Afghanistan, as the Taliban established firm control of the Pashtun regions and encroached more and more deeply in Kabul and other major cities; and the Congressional stalemate and paralysis that emerged from the elections of 2010.” Palin’s “vitriolic” speeches accusing Obama of  “un-American origins” were not countered by disillusioned progressives,  he goes on. “Nothing like the 2008 tidal wave of youthful volunteers emerged for the Obama campaign in 2012, as many of the ‘08 activists expressed sorrow, bafflement, or anger at his policies in office.  While most asserted that they would vote for him as against Sarah Palin, few offered the devoted organizing effort of 2008.” That, combined with a big drip in African American and Hispanic turnout – the later caused by the fact Congress couldn’t pass an immigration reform bill – helped push Palin over the top. Subtle? Hardly; Waskow is the activist who calls global warming “global scorching,” after all. But it does reflect a growing  mood of disenchantment on the left with an administration seen as too timid and too anxious to compromise with conservatives who have no desire to find common ground. For another take on liberal angst,  check out the Talking Points Memo blog by the irrepressible M.J. Rosenberg, late of the Israel Policy Forum and now writing for Media Matters. Rosenberg, who has written critically of the administration’s failure to live up to its promise of quick and aggressive action on Israeli-Palestinian peace, says this: “I do not know a single person who is not disappointed by Obama’s first year in office. And the people I know represent Obama’s base. Pretty much all of them supported him in the primaries. They worked like dogs during the general. And they took buses, cars and planes to be at his inauguration. Today much of their enthusiasm is gone.” Supporters like Rosenberg, he writes, want a “fighter,” not a “conciliator.”

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