After President Obama finished his State of the Union address last night, a conservative friend of mine sent me this text message: “They always talk about Clinton moving to the center. Obama is moving far right!”
I don’t agree that Obama is moving far right, but as I responded to my friend, “I always thought Obama was more conservative than Nancy Pelosi allowed him to appear.”
“True, but this was stunning,” my friend wrote back. “American Exceptionalism? Reducing corporate taxes? Maybe this Reagan stuff is affecting him. Liberals must be pissed.”
He was right. Judging by the post-address commentary on MSNBC, some far-left liberals definitely were pissed. As a matter of fact, I had to change the channel to CNN after some of the MSNBC commentary started bordering on whining. (As usual, CNN had the best middle-ground coverage of a presidential speech.)
Here’s what I don’t understand: Obama obviously leans more to the left than the right, so why does he continue to get so much criticism from fellow Democrats? Why don’t the Democrats act like the Republicans and support their president?
I’m not saying that Obama — or any politician, for that matter — is above criticism, but the president has delivered on some significant liberal agenda items, including comprehensive healthcare reform and abolishment of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. How far left do the president’s critics really expect him to go?
It long has been apparent to me that Obama is a pragmatist. He understands the political reality of his situation. He knows he must compromise with Republicans in order to get more done — but his left-leaning critics don’t seem willing to accept this. If they don’t wise up, they won’t appreciate Obama’s presidency until he leaves the White House — and by then, they may not have anyone left in the Oval Office willing to listen to anything they want.