Do we sense a certain impatience

With the president? Why yes, I think we do:

WASHINGTON — Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) and a handful of other House Democrats expressed deep frustration with President Barack Obama’s leadership on Wednesday, saying he needs to do more to set the direction for the progressive movement.

Across the aisle, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has struggled to wrangle the various wings of his conference and pass budget measures through the lower chamber. Weiner told a group of journalists and bloggers on Capitol Hill that the Republican leader has a tough job of trying to hold “a coalition of crazies and completely crazies together.”

But Republicans, Weiner said, have nonetheless long done a better job of making their case — “smaller government, smaller deficits, lower taxes” — to the public and each other. The Democratic Party remains unclear as to its core policy principles, Weiner said, and part of the problem is Obama.

“On our side is this weird squishy affirmative sense of what government should do and how we’re opposed to this cut and that cut, rather than saying, ‘Here are the things: Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, environment and education. We’re not cutting those. Those are off the table. That’s non-negotiable,'” said Weiner, adding, “We haven’t really done that very well. That’s because the president fundamentally — he’s not a values guy. He wants to try to get the best deal for the American people and that’s virtuous in its own right, but it becomes very difficult to make a strategy. There’s been much greater global strategy thinking on [progressive media] outlets, frankly, than at 1600 Pennsylvania.”

When asked by The Huffington Post whether what’s happening at the state and local level with labor unions and budget battles would rise to the national stage, Weiner said that the leadership of national officials — including the president — will be essential to push the issue forward.

“We’ve spent a lot of time waiting for Godot when it comes to the Obama White House, and we kind of — to some degree — have to internalize the idea that, you know what? That’s probably not the way to go,” Weiner said. “We have to start initiating some of this.”

Continued Weiner: “It is now pretty clear to me — I’m not saying this is pejorative — the president, he doesn’t animate his day by saying, ‘All right, what is the thing that has me fired up today? I’m going to out and try to move the ball on it.’ He kind of sees his job as to take this calamitous noise that’s going on on the left with people like us and on the right on Fox News, and his path to being a successful president, in his view, is taking that cacophony and trying to make good, level-headed, smart policy out of it and moving it incrementally down the road. That’s nice. That’s a good thing. We need that, obviously. The problem is there’s no substitute for someone really leaning into these values questions.

4 thoughts on “Do we sense a certain impatience

  1. It’s so much easier to understand Obama if he’s simply viewed as a conservative. Then, what he does, makes sense.

    If he weren’t trying to appear to be a progressive Democrat, then it would all be utterly clear.

  2. I’ve been thinking of parallels between Colin Powell and Obama (perhaps Condoleeza Rice as well). It seems they are both at different ends (I hope) of a generational continuum in which a minority person is allowed a position in establishment power. From the position, he/she could influence policy but is not allowed to push an agenda too hard. To a degree it’s understandable, the appearance of the individual in a position of authority triggers a racist/sexist reaction that is controlled until/unless they try to do something that doesn’t please everyone. In that case, the backlash is quick and harsh (see Tea Party funding, Wall Street CEO). In order to get where they are, they couldn’t have taken the latter path, they had to take the former. It becomes a problem when executive leadership is sorely needed, but the pattern in place to ensure that establishment power is never threatened in any way.

    On another thought track, “Who will be Obama’s Huey Long?” He needs one even more than FDR.

  3. i don’t see anyone coming forward from the Progressive camp to challenge or “primary” Obama next year (and of course the defunct, self-destructing Republitards haven’t got a shot as far as i can see) in the general election. Obama had a chance to be another JFK, but blew it (probably because he didn’t want to end up with the same result as JFK, as regards the above commenter).

    We’re so toast now that it isn’t even going to matter. The on-going financial, environmental, social and infrastructure implosions will make short work of what’s left of our country (and probably the world too). This is what lack of leadership engenders – collapse. The “extend and pretend” policies of the Fed combined with their Zimbabwe plan of just printing money out of thin air, added to the environmental disasters that are happening world-wide and that will hit home here too shortly, our lack of concern/animosity for each other in this “class war” game. and finally the fact that our infrastructure (especially the power grid) has been ignored for so long and now we’re basically too broke to fix it all (which goes hand in hand with the Peak Oil scenario and our failure to prepare for it by investing in other sources long ago) leaves little wiggle room when the shit hits the fan.

  4. I just don’t agree that we don’t have the money. We have the money for tax cuts and wars — just not infrastructure and social spending. This is a manufactured budget “crisis” and they’re using it as an excuse to push draconian budgets and laws.

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