Friday, July 12, 2013

Why Liberals Still Support the President



Crisis after crisis -- NSA spying on American citizens, the sequester, excessive drone assassinations, ramped up deportations, policies on health care, education and the military that mirror Republican proposals, little to no movement on climate change, increased offshore drilling, economic appointees straight from Wall Street vulture houses, a failure to get significant legislation passed through an obstructionist Congress. Yet President Obama still enjoys the support of 73% of liberals and 82% of Democrats.  Conservatives must wonder why liberals aren't more critical of him.

We would be.  But thanks to Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and the Koch Brothers, liberals have real bogeymen to fear.  The more the President is assaulted and accused of every imaginable (and often quite imaginary) transgression, the more liberals rally around him.  Sure, we criticize.  There's much we don't support.  The President is hardly a liberal; he's just a pragmatist.

Conservatives would do well to remember Bill Clinton's administration.  Remember the continual personal assaults, the perpetual investigations by the special prosecutor, the smear campaigns?  Clinton was actually an ideal moderate Republican -- the guy who signed NAFTA, continued the undeclared war against Iraq and ended AFDC (welfare).  The more he was unjustly targeted by the right wing, the more liberals circled our wagons.  He wasn't nearly liberal enough for me, but even I cast my ballot for Clinton during his second term (instead of Ralph Nader).

Conservatives can count on the loyal support of their party whenever a Republican is in office.  Take any political values poll and you'll see that loyalty is a key value of conservatives.  But for us liberals, loyalty gets short shrift.  Liberal politicians can't count on our support without proving themselves over and over.  So did Clinton or Obama prove themselves?  Not really.

The GOP strategy of attack, attack, attack has backfired completely.  It makes them look like the asses ignoring the elephant in the room: their much more dangerous, darker vision of America.  We're not loyal but the more they squawk, the more we're forced to hang together to protect what little progressive gains have been made.

The alternative?  Think Lyndon Johnson.  Johnson wasn't so demonized by conservatives, leaving liberals to tear him limb from limb.  The man who brought us Medicare, the Voting Rights Act and other progressive legislation was dismembered by his own party.  "Hey, hey LBJ.  How many boys did you kill today?"



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