From Kerry Eleveld in the Advocate:
The turnout and voting patterns were a symptom of the fact that during his first two years in office, President Barack Obama and his White House delivered nothing short of a true progressive’s most fiendish nightmare: He governed from the middle but failed to enlist enough GOP help to tag them with partial responsibility. Then he simultaneously left the substance of his centrist policies to be framed by the right, who naturally painted his initiatives as dangerously liberal and even socialist in nature.
The result of that toxic formula is that progressives didn’t get much of they wanted and yet the population as a whole has been left to believe that America has jumped off the liberal deep end.
In short, Obama didn’t govern as a progressive but was painted as one. Therefore, progressives didn’t get what they voted for and yet the rest of the country was led to believe the “progressive” agenda had pushed us down a dark path to nowhere.
Here’s lesson 1: If you’re going to let yourself be characterized as a liberal, you damn well better be one; otherwise the base that elected you won’t turn up at the polls to get your back once you’ve given a bad name to everything they believed in but never actually got.
Now, one could argue that getting military leaders on board with repeal was a smart idea, but one would be hard-pressed to find the genius in letting the top brass set their own time line when everybody knew there would only be two years to pound this through with unprecedented Democratic majorities. (Remember, with the White House’s blessing, the Pentagon arbitrarily chose the date for release of its study to be December 1, comfortably after the midterms yet close enough to year’s end to almost surely doom a vote. How different would this look, for instance, if they had taken six months to study repeal and released their report in August?)
If you have been listening closely, President Barack Obama is already laying the groundwork for dropping blame at the feet of Republicans if the National Defense Authorization Act fails (let’s keep in mind that charming and arm-twisting politicians from across the aisle is part of the legislative process and, so far, the White House and Senate Democratic leadership have expended almost no political capital to advance the NDAA bill with DADT attached).
Also, when outlining his priorities this week for the lame-duck session, the president made no mention of the defense funding bill, nor did press secretary Robert Gibbs. Any chance this sounds familiar? Gibbs was having the same issue last month. When left to his own devices to list lame-duck priorities, guess what never came up: the NDAA.
Now that House control has switched hands, it’s perhaps a positive that our national progressive organizations can go back to demonizing the GOP — it’s really the only thing they know how to do. But while they are busy doing that, let’s remember that Democrats had full run of Washington for two years and their only LGBT accomplishment looks to be the hate-crimes law.