While conservatives worked on organizing and energizing the grassroots at the Right Online conference at The Venetian in Las Vegas last week, the Left spent a lot of time blamethrowing at The Rio. A number of Democratic officeholders made live appearances at Netroots Nation, and Barack Obama gave a videotaped presentation. The message was rather odd, and fell flat:
“Change hasn’t come fast enough for too many Americans. I know that,” Obama said in a surprise video appearance to liberal activists and bloggers at Las Vegas convention. “I know it hasn’t come fast for many of you who fought so hard during the election.” …
In his remarks to the annual Netroots Nation gathering, the president said the combat mission in Iraq would soon end, and that the administration is working to repeal the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy for gays and close the U.S. prison for terrorism suspects at Guantanamo Bay.
“In ways large and small we’ve begun to deliver on the change you fought so hard for,” Obama said.
“We cant afford to slide backward. And that’s the choice America faces this November,” he added. “Keep up the fight.”
This comes from the same White House that leaked a month ago that they’re not working at all on Gitmo any longer. The combat mission will end in Iraq because of George Bush, not Barack Obama, who has done nothing but follow the schedule Bush negotiated with Iraq. Repeal of DADT has been a very low priority in this administration, and everyone knows it. And the netroots are not impressed, either:
Hundreds of activists and bloggers applauded warmly after the Obama video ended, but some were not appeased.
The video “doesn’t really change my views. I’m still waiting for action,” said Matthew Filipowicz, 33, a cartoonist and comedian from Chicago. “Words only do so much.”
It’s not just the reliance on mere words. Barack Obama had a Congress with a 75+ majority in the House and a filibuster-proof Senate for several months, a luxury that no President has seen since Jimmy Carter. What did he do with it? He squandered it on a health-care takeover while the economy burned, and as a result the Netroots Nation people know that his opportunity for sweeping progressive change has passed.
No wonder the Right Online conference was so upbeat, and Netroots Nation so depressed. The best Obama could do was a Chip Diller imitation.
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