published Saturday, August 20th, 2011

Liberals complain about Obama; will it cost votes?

  • photo
    President Barack Obama, walks with his daughters Malia and Sasha, not seen, as they leave the Bunch of Grapes bookstore in Vineyard Haven, Mass., Friday during a family vacation.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

By KEN THOMAS

Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Liberals argue that he caved on the debt ceiling. Unions are upset over his handling of unemployment and labor issues. Hispanics brought the immigration debate directly to his campaign doorstep.

President Barack Obama’s summer of discontent has been marked by rumblings within his Democratic political base over his willingness to fight congressional Republicans and his approach to fixing the economy.

Liberals disappointed with Obama for compromising with the GOP during the debt-ceiling showdown now are calling on him to hold firm against Republicans this fall. They want him to push a bold jobs agenda while drawing a strong line on taxes and protecting Medicare and Social Security.

In recent weeks, the gripes have become so loud that the president himself acknowledged them during his Midwest bus tour this week.

“I’ve got a whole bunch of responsibilities, which means I have to make choices sometimes that are unattractive and I know will be bad for me politically and I know will get supporters of mine disappointed,” Obama said in Iowa. He claimed progress on the economy, health care and two wars. And, offering his backers a bit of tough love, he added: “Sometimes you’ve got to make choices in order to do what’s best for the country at that particular moment, and that’s what I’ve tried to do.”

The complaints — founded or not — are narrowing the tightrope Obama must walk over the next year to keep his base energized while recapturing the independent voters who helped power his win over John McCain in 2008.

Still, for all the complaining, the ultimate impact on Obama’s re-election chances is open to question. The president faces no serious primary opponent, and polls show him faring fairly well within his party. Few liberals are likely to support a Republican for president next year.

But angry liberals could refuse to volunteer to knock on doors or make phone calls, a pivotal grass-roots role for a candidate’s base of supporters. Disaffected Democrats could keep their wallets closed, hampering small-dollar fundraising over the Internet. Or they could just stay away from the polls on Election Day.

“They want to love him, but he’s given them little evidence and his rhetoric is running out of steam,” said Princeton professor Cornel West, who campaigned for Obama in 2008 but has become a fierce critic. “We find ourselves between a rock and a hard place. He’s going to need high levels of enthusiasm among his base, and it’s going to be hard to do that with speeches and no real serious actions or policies.”

The liberal angst has surfaced repeatedly over the past year as Obama has faced the reality of divided government in the aftermath of the 2010 congressional elections in which Republicans won the House.

Liberals howled last December when he struck a deal with the GOP to extend Bush-era tax cuts. That reinforced earlier bad feelings from when he dropped the proposed “public option” for a government plan to compete with private insurance as part of the health care overhaul.

Lately, the left has complained that Obama gave up too much in spending cuts during the debt-ceiling fight and failed to extract higher taxes on the wealthy in return.

Now labor is arguing that a jobs agenda Obama will outline next month is long overdue, and unions are cringing when he talks about trade deals and patent reform. Last week, about a dozen trade unions said they would boycott next year’s Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., over frustration on the economy and because the event will be held in a right-to-work state.

Blacks, who are expected to turn out in huge numbers next year to help re-elect that nation’s first black president, also are complaining about high joblessness. “Our people are hurting. The unemployment level is unconscionable,” Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., said recently at a Congressional Black Caucus meeting in Detroit.

And on Tuesday, Latino activists delivered 35,000 petitions to Obama’s Chicago campaign headquarters to protest the record number of deportations on Obama’s watch. They oppose a policy allowing police to submit the fingerprints of criminal suspects to the Department of Homeland Security so they can be cross-checked with deportation orders.

“President Obama is doing a smashing job of discouraging, unmotivating and inducing fear among Latino voters,” said Roberto Lovato, co-founder of Presente.org.

On the other hand, in a move welcomed by immigration advocates, the Obama administration said Thursday that many illegal immigrants facing deportation despite having no criminal records will be allowed to stay in the country and apply for work permits.

And Obama has won plaudits from gays and lesbians for ending the ban on gays serving openly in the armed services and for ordering his administration to stop defending the constitutionality of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which denies federal recognition to married gay couples.

Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt dismisses questions about liberal enthusiasm for the president, calling them “nothing more than Washington chatter that is not backed up by the facts on the ground.”

And most polls do show Obama faring strongly with Democrats.

The president’s overall approval rating has trended slowly downward this summer in Gallup’s daily tracking polls, hitting new lows for his presidency — about 39 percent — last week. But on average he has barely lost ground among his strongest supporters, averaging 83 percent approval among liberal Democrats compared with 86 percent earlier this year. Among moderate Democrats, 74 percent approve, down from the high 70s in the winter and spring.

A Fox News poll conducted last week found about eight in 10 Democratic voters said they would probably vote to re-elect the president.

“He will have a base problem until the time when an opponent emerges, and then 90 percent of the problem will disappear,” said Democratic pollster Paul Maslin. “People will consider the opponent and then he’ll look awfully good.”

———

Deputy Polling Director Jennifer Agiesta contributed to this report.

———

Ken Thomas can be reached at http://twitter.com/AP—Ken—Thomas

about Associated Press...

The Associated Press

18
Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.
GreenKepi said...

Nope...won't hurt him a bit! What and who else have they got? It's funny and sad at the same time...!

August 20, 2011 at 8:46 a.m.
sandyonsignal said...

Yesterday, someone stopped me while I was putting my groceries in the car, they noticed my Obama bumper sticker. The man asked if I still liked him to which I replied "what is the alternative?". There isn't anybody better than he, so yes I still like him. He shrugged, laughed and left.

I'm a bleeding heart liberal and blame the Republicans for ruining everything.

August 20, 2011 at 10:46 a.m.
esaletnik said...

The problem is not whether democrats still support him, of course they do. Do you think they would vote Bachmann, Perry or Romney over him? Of course not. The problem Democrats have is whether on election day a higher percentage of them will not make the effort to vote while the tea party people are lining up at 8:00 AM to vote.

August 20, 2011 at 11:01 a.m.
larwilb60 said...

"And on Tuesday, Latino activists delivered 35,000 petitions to Obama’s Chicago campaign headquarters to protest the record number of deportations on Obama’s watch. They oppose a policy allowing police to submit the fingerprints of criminal suspects to the Department of Homeland Security so they can be cross-checked with deportation orders."

OF COURSE they oppose the policy to tighten existing policy and actually attempt to control ILLEGALS! Everyone that signed that petition should be also cross-checked for criminal records, citizenship & deportation orders!

“President Obama is doing a smashing job of discouraging, unmotivating and inducing fear among Latino voters,” said Roberto Lovato, co-founder of Presente.org.

AT LEAST HE IS DOING SOMETHING (even unknowingly) TO DISCOURAGE THESE CRIMINALS! You can't be a LATINO voter unless you are an AMERICAN CITIZEN so why is their FEAR among Latino voters?

On the other hand, in a move welcomed by immigration advocates, the Obama administration said Thursday that many illegal immigrants facing deportation despite having no criminal records will be allowed to stay in the country and apply for work permits"

EXCUSE ME! Being an ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT is committing a FEDERAL CRIME! Therefore, they are ALL criminals! Of course, they dont yet have a criminal record because OSAMA wont let ICE do it's job! DEPORT THEM ALL! Where does he think they are gonna get jobs with their new work permits??? There arent any jobs for TRUE AMERICAN CITIZENS!

And, why does Osama think he can circumvent EXISTING FEDERAL IMMIGRATION laws? We cannot allow this...and I say to the ILLEGALS reading this (as I am sure the Free Press probably prints an underground Spanish version because they pander to the illegals with all their Trevizo sob stories)DONT GET TOO COMFORTABLE with Osamas new policy change cause when he is GONE from Office YOU WILL BE DEPORTED!

ILLEGAL IS ILLEGAL! What about the citizen who robs a bank to make a "better life" for his family? He commits a federal crime and goes to jail...why not give him AMNESTY too?

Referring to the statement below that was in the story: “President Obama is doing a smashing job of discouraging, unmotivating and inducing fear among Latino voters,” said Roberto Lovato, co-founder of Presente.org WHY IS THEIR FEAR among Latino voters? If they are VOTERS then they are LEGAL CITIZENS and have nothing to worry about!

OBAMA MUST GO! And he can take his little ILLEGAL buddies with him!

August 20, 2011 at 11:53 a.m.
eastridge8 said...

Obama's true inexperience is finally showing...He is not what or who we need in the White House...Who do we need? Hopefully not any more Democrates...these liberals are terrible for the nation...but I don't have the answer to the main question...Who do we need or want? NOT, I repeat, NOT Michele Bachman for sure!! OR Sarah Palin!

My best guess is Perry or Romney...(although him being Morman does bothers me).

August 20, 2011 at 11:56 a.m.
harrystatel said...

"I'm a bleeding heart liberal and blame the Republicans for ruining everything."

Bleeding Heart Liberal-Someone who has ideas and wants everyone else to pay for them. Will use government force to make sure you obey; often lives in luxury and over cocktails believes they know best for everyone; demands that it's "for the children" (actually it's for their children); never met a happy person they wouldn't attempt to make miserable through any form of guilt; demands your money, time, and thought for every silly notion that passes through their feeble little brains; often supported by the government dole through welfare or public office.

Yes, God Bless the Bleeding Heart Liberal-the bedbug of society.

August 20, 2011 at 12:19 p.m.
harrystatel said...

Bleeding heart liberals include Republicans and Democrats. What are the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, "compassionate conservatism," "No Child Left Behind," laws against drugs, gambling, prostitution,Jim Crow laws, Blue Laws, sexual prohibitions, "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," compulsory schooling, draft laws, military-industrial-big business, mercantilism, foreign intervention, gunboat diplomacy, imperialism, bailouts, welfare for individuals and businesses, taxpayer public art . . .

It is not a republican or democrat that holds the monopoly on liberal bleeding hearts; they're two-sides of the same coin and I detest all of them. They take turns holding the gun on you.

August 20, 2011 at 1:24 p.m.
rolando said...

Of course the idiot Democrats will lose votes! Yah hang around with trash yah pick up the stink.

August 20, 2011 at 2:14 p.m.
Selah said...

Obama will receive another term as President. The Republican party has pretty much guaranteed the election to the Democrats. The Republican attack on teachers, unions, and their refusal to repeal the rich tax cuts and loop holes have lead to disgust among the majority of Americans. Those who voted Republican in the past are changing their votes for the future. THE END

August 20, 2011 at 3:41 p.m.
Selah said...

Right on again RichardS...Barabara Streistand said it best on Larry King...she cannot understand why people would vote for a party that is against them.

Well, I can partially answer this. I believe many who vote Republican are concerned about the moral decay in this country. The Republican Party has played on this for years with little to no results. They have been quiet on gay marriage and abortion but loud on supporting their GREED without shame. God help us.

August 21, 2011 at 2:46 p.m.
Selah said...

cbtole...keep letting them destroy your retirement accts and destroy your children's future but not me. They pull the wool for your eyes while they fill their pockets with MO Money, MO Money, Mo. And guess what? They get in off your vote while doing nothing to STOP what you are so strongly opposing. But they get your VOTE everytime. Good day

August 30, 2011 at 10:33 p.m.
please login to post a comment

Other National Articles

videos »         

photos »         

e-edition »

advertisement
advertisement

Find a Business

400 East 11th St., Chattanooga, TN 37403
General Information (423) 756-6900
Copyright, Permissions, Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy, Ethics policy - Copyright ©2014, Chattanooga Publishing Company, Inc. All rights reserved.
This document may not be reprinted without the express written permission of Chattanooga Publishing Company, Inc.