Enter Stage Left
I have been asked by a surprising number of people recently about whether I think there is likely to be a challenge to President Obama’s reelection bid from the left wing of the Democratic Party in 2012, similar to Senator Ted Kennedy’s run against President Carter in 1980. My guess is that a serious challenge by a progressive candidate is not likely to materialize in the next year. But were it to happen, I can think of no better way to ensure that the presidency will end up in Republican hands after the election. There is nothing like the appearance of a political party abandoning its president to shake general voter confidence to the core.
In keeping with the idea of progressive angst, I have heard some Democrats on the left argue that the party would have fared better in the recent midterm elections had Obama clung more tenaciously to progressive principles, rather than expend so much political capital on futile attempts at bipartisanship, and on currying favor with the few remaining moderate Republicans in the Senate. While I agree that Obama probably spent too much time spinning his wheels in this regard, I don’t think pushing harder for single-payer healthcare, a larger stimulus, or cap-and-trade legislation in the current economic climate would have helped Democrats stem their historic midterm losses.
Perhaps the best lesson progressives can take from the midterm elections is that cutting spending and limiting taxes are not considered right wing ideas by a largely centrist American electorate. A challenge to President Obama from the left wing of his party would mainly serve to hasten the belief among the mass of moderate and independent voters out there that Democrats have yet to internalize this lesson.

Post your comment below.

Name:   Email:
Please enter the characters in the image as they appear below: *
Security Image

Copyright ©2007 NHPoliticalCapital - Dean Spiliotes. Web design by: J Maze Design