It is a shame that more than thirty years later the liberal base is still self-destructive, intolerant, and disloyal. President Obama, who is portrayed by the Tea Baggers as extremely liberal, has been abandoned by the liberal base for not being liberal enough. Ross Douthat, New York Times columnist, wrote the following in a brilliant Op-ed article in June, 2010:
They doubted [Obama] during the health care debate. They second-guessed hisThe reoccurring pattern seems to be that the liberal base abandons its leadership at the first sign of discontent and disappears from the political scene, leaving the country on a plate for the conservatives to feast on until there is nothing left. This reoccurring theme must come to an end now, as our country is currently under siege by an angry and aggressive conservative wave.
Afghanistan policy. They’ve fretted over his coziness with Wall Street and his
comfort with executive power... But now is the summer of their discontent. From
MSNBC to “The Daily Show,” from The Huffington Post to the halls of Congress,
movement liberals have had just about enough of Barack Obama... This is the same
Barack Obama, after all, who shepherded universal health care, the dream of
liberals since the days of Harry Truman (if not Thomas Paine), through several
near-death experiences and finally into law. It’s the same Obama who staked the
fate of the American economy on a $787 billion exercise in Keynesian
pump-priming. It’s the same Obama who has done more to advance liberal
priorities than any president since Lyndon Johnson... American liberalism has
always had a reputation for fractiousness and frantic self-critique. But even by
those standards, the current bout of anguish over the Obama presidency seems
The problem is that there is no leader “liberal” enough to preserve the loyalty of the liberal base. There is no satisfying the liberal base because they are so uncompromising and divided amongst each other. They cannot be accommodated because they are not clear as to what they truly want. Even in the 1970s, the liberals were referred to as “an amorphous, leaderless fraternity.”
However, there was a time when the collective spirit of the liberals was untorn and unstoppable. During the 1960s, there was unity amongst the freethinkers, and the whole world heard the sounds of their harmony. The gatherings of the liberal base in its prime made a rally of 100,000 people look like bad turnout. In the 1976 Time Magazine article, Richard Wade, political adviser/analyst, stated that "the liberal presence is out there. It can be neglected only so far. If it comes together, it can haunt you." We are sleeping giants.
Where is that politically charged liberal spirit today, when it is needed the most? Mobs of extreme and angry conservatives are gathering all over the country, but too few of these gatherings have been met with any significant opposition from the liberal base.
In the midst of the Tea Bagger uprise, the condition of the political liberals has worsened. They are incapable of uniting as one voice even in the face of a common enemy. They lack any political power because they are so incredibly segmented into tiny ideological bubbles which alienate liberals from each other.
Perhaps liberals do not look at President Obama as their leader because of his arguably naive efforts to govern from the center, but the fact is that he is worlds better than the emerging alternative. Obama fought hard to keep many of his promises. Although not the ideal version to most liberals, Obama worked endlessly to reform our healthcare system even when it was politically damaging for him to continue. As he promised, Obama fought the special interests to pass a bill to reform Wall Street. Now that his opposition is mobilizing effectively against him, Obama should not be abandoned and left at the mercy of the hate-filled right-wing extremists (a.k.a. The Palin Zombies) simply because the initiatives did not mold into exactly what the liberals desired. Obama can be the great president that we all want him to be, but he needs a politically charged base to support him. This support must be more meaningful than sending an email or donating $5.00 to MoveOn.org. The liberals must mobilize.
This nation is certain to fall into the dark ages of right-wing extremism if the liberals do not wake up and mobilize. There was a time when the liberals were the noisiest, relentless mob that gave its opposition no chance to be heard. Now, all we hear is the sounds of angry bigots who are trying to hinder progression in this country. I call upon all liberals to get back in the game and show these Tea Baggers who is best at making noise.