Monday, September 12, 2011

Obama can't win with progressives

Obama really wants this jobs bill, doesn't he? During lunch today, I was watching him on CNN, giving what was by all appearances (the volume was off) a fiery speech which the network had captioned "No politics, no delays." I'm not usually one to pay much attention to the day-to-day grind of presidential speechmaking, but even to me there seems to be an uncommon urgency to Obama's latest policy drive.

You'd think progressives would be happy about this, and so far they mostly are. But I'm convinced that, as far as the left is concerned, this jobs push is actually a bit of a trap for Obama (when it comes to the left, most things are).

Think about it:

If Obama stops campaigning too soon, they'll blame him for not trying hard enough.

If he tries and succeeds, they'll blame him for not trying earlier.

In fact, the only way to win the left's approval would be to try and fail, vindicating himself and his earlier decisions.

I don't know what that says about Obama, but it sure says something about the left. Now, true, I too think that Obama should have pushed for a jobs bill sooner (although I'm convinced that the power of the bully pulpit is less than generally believed, and that this barnstorming session, like all attempts to create policy with applied rhetoric, will end mostly in failure). But I understand the political rationale for not wanting to pick fights that can't be won.

The left, though, has a bit of a mania for lost causes. So much of it would prefer its leaders be mostly uncompromising instead of mostly successful. It's not really, surprising, then, that once again the only way Obama can unambiguously win with the left is to lose on the substance.

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