Barack Obama made a surprise video appearance at the Netroots Nation conference today, but the most interesting development to me is what else was in the video with Obama. After saying, “I hope you take a moment to consider what we have accomplished so far,” he cut to a video of Rachel Maddow running down and a list of his accomplishments, and somewhere Ed Schultz blew a blood vessel.
Here is the Obama video:
The best part of the collection of clips from The Rachel Maddow Show on Obama’s accomplishments was her saying, “The last time any president did this much in office booze was illegal. If you believe in policy, and a government that addresses problems, cheers to that.” Obama followed up by saying, “In ways both large and small, we’ve begun to deliver on the change you fought for, and we’re not done.” The Washington Post played the Left is angry at Obama narrative by describing the response to his remarks as, “Hundreds of activists and bloggers applauded warmly after the video ended, but some were not appeased.”
In all honesty, I have a big problem with many on the Left who are bashing Obama. Regular readers have noticed that I don’t exactly keep my feelings hidden on this topic. The difference between me and many other bloggers is that I come from a background in legislative process and policy. I can see that what Obama has accomplished during his time in office is nothing less than a minor miracle given the current political climate. People like Rachel Maddow and me can appreciate what Obama has managed to do, and just how difficult it was to get done.
The people who bash Obama on the Left, quite honestly, are free to express their opinions on his accomplishments, but many of them are basing their evaluations on a personal vision of a legislative utopia which they believed would occur after Obama’s election. The point that they seem to miss is that some of the positions that they and I held were/are not popular with rest of America. For example, I am in favor of the Employee Free Choice Act. Most of America isn’t, so it got buried off the agenda. I guess if I was narrow minded and ignorant of political limitations, I would bash Obama for this, but I see the bigger picture.
It is interesting that the White House would use a video of Maddow to list his accomplishments. Obama could have easily listed his own accomplishments, but instead they chose to showcase Rachel, who has mega credibility with the Left, and I am glad they did, but I can’t help but think that Olbermann, Matthews, Schultz, etc. are not amused. Olbermann, Matthews, and Schultz have all been part of the culture of leftwing Obama bashing. Maddow regularly criticizes the administration, but she does it in a fair way with facts, whereas Olbermann and Schultz throw temper tantrums, and act as if this president owes them something.
The difference between me and the angry at Obama Left is that I don’t write for “the cause.” I don’t care about “the cause.” I don’t even know what “the cause” is. I am not a journalist, but I am also not an advocate. I am just a writer, and I come here every day to share a little news and talk a bit of politics with you. Politics and the ways that it shapes our lives is what matters to me, not some abstract “cause” built around an ideology. I can guarantee you that this site will cover and opine on the 2012 election, but it will not tell anyone who to vote for. We aren’t Fox News, and that’s not our role.
Many of those who grumble about Obama on the Left are upset because they wanted Obama to govern for them. They believe that they should be his only constituency. They viewed Obama election as payback for the Bush years, and they want Obama to govern to his base like George W. Bush did, but if Obama did this, he would be as successful as George W. Bush was. They are blasting Obama for trying to be the President, not only of the Left, but of the United States of America. Much like Rachel Maddow does, the complainers need to keep things in perspective.
The next time you read or hear someone who supported Obama complain about him not being far enough to the left, ask them if they think that the country would be better off under President McCain and Vice President Palin? Some on the Left refuse to see that their political fantasy was and is unrealistic and unobtainable, if they think Obama is so bad, he is paradise compared to the having the GOP running things again. Some on the Left have lost touch with reality, and by using a bit of Rachel Maddow video, Obama was trying to reach them and emphasize what is really at stake this November. It was a fascinating and novel approach. Let’s hope it works.