For Obama, a restless base
By Ben Pershing
Are liberals growing restless with President Obama?
This week alone, the president has announced a troop surge in Afghanistan that was greeted tepidly by fellow Democrats; the Senate health-care bill's public option is likely to be watered down even further; and the White House convened a job summit amid complaints that he hasn't done enough to address unemployment. Add it all up, and you have a Democratic base for whom nothing is going quite right. The question for Obama is whether events in the coming months -- enactment of a health-care bill, further signs of an economic rebound -- can sufficiently reassure liberal activists so they feel motivated to work for Democratic candidates in advance of a tough midterm election.
The New York Times looks at Obama's intraparty problems, writing that his Afghanistan decision "is straining a relationship already struggling under the weight of an administration agenda that some Democratic lawmakers fear is placing them in a politically vulnerable position." On the campaign front, Politico writes that Obama's Afghanistan strategy "has complicated an already hazardous political landscape and introduced a highly combustible element into scores of House and Senate races." Democratic candidates now face a choice: Back Obama's plan and possibly anger their liberal base, or oppose it and irritate both the president and at least some general election voters.
December 4, 2009; 8:28 AM ET
Categories: The Rundown
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