Dan Rather warned today on MSNBC that a deal to extend all of the current tax hikes would create a demand for a primary challenge to Barack Obama from the Left in 2012. Big progressive contributors to the Democratic Party have already concluded that Obama won’t fight for his principles, Rather told the “Lean Forward” network, and that the Bush-era tax rates would be the straw that broke the camel’s back. Actually, Rather offers a more complicated down-homish colorful metaphor, but essentially says that the Left is so shocked, shocked! that this lifetime backbencher provides no leadership that they will actively recruit someone with those qualities for the 2012 cycle (via Eyeblast):
Rather’s hardly the first to notice this, of course. Frank Rich argued this weekend that Obama was a victim of Stockholm Syndrome as an explanation for Obama’s lack of leadership, which has more than enough silliness in it for rebuttal, including the claim that the Bush tax cuts in 2001 and 2003 were the single greatest contributor to the deficits, even though tax revenues went up afterward and that government didn’t own the money in the first place. But Rich’s silliness inspired much more poetic and incoherent flights of fancy from Clarence Jones at the Huffington Post yesterday. Jones, an MLK Scholar at Stanford, paints Obama as the new LBJ and wonders aloud who will be this generation’s Eugene McCarthy:
It is not easy to consider challenging the first African-American to be elected as President of the United States. But, regrettably, I believe that the time has come to do this. …
You don’t have to be a rocket scientist nor have a PhD in political science and sociology to see clearly that Obama has abandoned much of the base that elected him. He has done this because he no longer respects, fears or believes those persons who elected him have any alternative, but to accept what he does, whether they like it or not.
It is time for those persons who constituted the “Movement” that enabled Senator Barack Obama to be elected to “break their silence”; to indicate that they no longer will sit on their hands, and only let off verbal steam and ineffective sound and fury, and “hope” for the best. …
The pursuit of the war in Afghanistan in support of a certifiably corrupt Afghan government and the apparent willingness to retreat from his campaign commitment of no further tax cuts for the rich, his equivocal and foot dragging leadership to end DADT, his TARP for Wall Street, but, equivocal insufficient attention to the unemployment and housing foreclosures of Main Street, suggest that the template of the 1968 challenge to the reelection of President Lyndon Johnson now must be thoughtfully considered for Obama in 2012.
Jones’ column has to be read in full to really be appreciated. He manages to reference HUD, McCarthy, and Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ In the Wind” (lyrics from which he quotes in its entirety) in order to make his point, which is apparently that it’s 1968 all over again. He wants the old New Left to rise again to push another President out of office, but unfortunately for Jones, the old New Left is what put Obama in office in the first place — and it was the unpopularity of the old New Left agenda that has crippled his presidency. He was their best hope to make the case for the hard-Left agenda; there is no substitute, no one to put a handsome face and a bright smile on government control of production and distribution.