This is a very thoughtful piece by a liberal professor at Marquette University. Like most hardcore libs in President Obama's base, he's deeply dissatisfied with Obama's inability to advance the far left liberal agenda. But rather than whine and howl about it, he makes a very interesting argument that the quest for bipartisanship is an abdication of leadership on the issues:
The crux of Obama's present disconnect with voters lies in this fuzzy concept of change. For Obama, it means finding a pragmatic, bipartisan center to create space for problem-solving to occur. Gone will be the partisan battles of old. For voters weary of a government that consistently fails them, change means bringing an end to broken promises and unrealized obligations.
Despite Obama's entreaties, his political opponents have chosen the path of bitter obstructionism rather than taking the opportunity to solve the problems of the day. As a result, the economic stimulus bill passed with only the most minimal Republican support, which forced Democrats to remove some of the most critical parts of the legislation, such as aid to state and local governments. Now, more intense and extreme opposition has at least temporarily derailed and weakened Congress' health care reform legislation.
But in failing to defend the programs that they support, Obama and his fellow Democrats have abdicated the very leadership that voters sought when they cast their votes more than 14 months ago. In sacrificing the substance of policy change in pursuit of the phantasm of bipartisanship, Democrats have forsworn their authority to govern.
Irrespective of your ideology, I think it's a compelling point. He also makes a very interesting observation as to the driving force that got Obama elected and why it's hurting him now:
For example, many Democratic victories in 2006 and 2008 were fueled by anti-war sentiment. Former vets were winning in tough districts by calling for an end to the American occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan. Obama's bipartisan solution has been to stay the course in Iraq and escalate the conflict in Afghanistan, while increasing defense spending to more than $600 billion per year. George W. Bush's secretary of defense is still in charge of the Pentagon, and military officials are still covering up suspicious evidence of death by torture at Guantanamo Bay. Perhaps the most incongruous sight of the year was Obama trying to explain his escalation of the war in Afghanistan in his acceptance speech for the Nobel Peace Prize.
I think this observation is critical because what's been forgotten is what libs most hated about Bush was that they perceived him as a war monger. And high on their agenda was ending both wars we're currently fighting. The left sees this as a betrayal while many on the right see his continued efforts in both countries as half-hearted. And this all goes back to the leadership void that is at the center of the author's thesis.