Obama's unhappy left flank

Democrats are impatient with Obama’s failure to get anything done and intolerant of his inability to force Republicans to pass his legislation. While one side of this double-edged sword blames the GOP for ideological intransigence, the other sees in Obama a politician not able to produce and not up to the job. With books recounting how uninvolved Obama is in the legislative process (quite the contrary of the image of LBJ we see in the Caro biography), the negative view of the president among his normal supporters only grows worse.

To liberals already antagonized by the fact that Gitmo is still open, that it took so long to pull out of Iraq, that we are still in Afghanistan and that Obama might have been so incompetent in drafting his healthcare law that it is unconstitutional, the president’s failures with Congress could become the last straw.

Now we face a summer of new confrontation in Washington and, likely, new gridlock. Because, inexplicably, Obama raised the debt limit too little to put the matter off until into 2013, he now has to go about raising it again. Democratic demands for a “clean” debt-limit increase devoid of spending cuts have failed to stir any interest among House Republicans. So it’s back to the old debate. Republicans will press for spending cuts. Democrats will only accept smaller cuts, and only if they are accompanied by tax increases on the wealthy. Republicans won’t buy any tax increase, so more gridlock will eventuate.

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