Poor Barack Obama. His critics say he’s the new Ronald Reagan. They joke about him at caucus meetings and call him names openly in front of colleagues. They say he is an embarassment to liberals, a sell-out to his supporters and the biggest Democratic joke since Jimmy Carter.
And all this is coming from Democrats.
Lately, Obama is garnering more praise from Republicans, conservatives and even a right-wing radio host or two.
Democrats? They wonder just h0w in the hell this guy got in the door.
“Obama is easily the biggest embarassment to the party since Jimmy Carter went on national TV and talked about malaise,” one senior Democratic adviser, who asked not to be identified, told Capitol Hill Blue. “I don’t know what the hell he is but it’s not a Democrat.”
Some Democrats say liberals brought it on themselves, expecting Obama to be an extreme left-winger when he promised in the election to be a coalition builder.
Two years ago, liberals saw President Barack Obama as the second coming of FDR.
Now they’re accusing him of practicing Reaganomics, taunting him at caucus meetings and trying to get him to renege on his first bipartisan deal since Republicans won the mid-term elections.
At best, House Democrats’ rage at the Obama tax bill is a principled last gasp on behalf of liberal ideals. At worst, they’re whining, kicking and screaming their way to the margins as Obama turns them into the foil for his newfound centrism.
Either way, Republicans and even some Democrats say, the need to act out reveals that liberals are in a state of denial.
“We are allowing the liberal wing of the Democratic Caucus to hold these critically needed tax cuts hostage,” Rep. Dan Boren (D-Okla.) told POLITICO. “It is long past time to get this deal done and get our economy moving again. Unfortunately, my colleagues are either not listening to what the voters are saying, or they are not interested in doing what is best for the American economy.”
It’s easy to understand why liberals are feeling a bit whiplashed. In the blink of an eye, they went from advancing the most progressive agenda since the Great Society to defending against a tax-cut bill that they say provides a windfall for the wealthiest Americans at the expense of everyone else.
In part, they are disillusioned by the contortion of a president who said he would let taxes rates rise on high-end income. But there’s an extra measure of anger that arises from their frustration at being isolated, cut out of the negotiations and told by the vice president that they can take it or leave it.
Long-time hill Democrats tell Capitol Hill Blue that Obama doesn’t believe in being a team player because he doesn’t feel a need to schmooze his own party members and usually sends in the acerbic Joe Biden to deal with upset Democrats.
This brings another comparison with Jimmy Carter, whose Chief of Staff, Hannibal Jordan, once pissed off then Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill when the Speaker called to complain about the location of his sets at the Presidential inauguration.
Jordon told O’Neill to send the tickets back and he’d give them to “someone who would appreciate being a the event.” He didn’t offer any replacements.
From that day forward, O’Neill referred to Jordon as “Hannibal Jerkin.”