Here's a headline you'd never expect to see at a left-of-center website so soon in the new President's first term:
Some on Left Souring on Obama
Maybe even more shocking was the content in Josh Gerstein's Politico piece that was so prominently placed as the feature story on the site's front page Sunday:
Barely four months into his presidency, Obama is confronting growing dissatisfaction among members of his liberal base, who feel spurned by a series of his early decisions on issues ranging from guns to torture to immigration to gay rights.
The list got longer last week as Obama reversed his earlier decision to release photos of detainees abused in U.S. military custody and announced plans to try some terror suspects before military commissions – though on the campaign trail he railed against earlier versions of the tribunals.
A few, like MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, have even hurled the left’s ultimate epithet – suggesting that Obama’s turning into George W. Bush.
Imagine that. Of course, as Gerstein then argued that Obama had better choose a liberal replacement for retiring Supreme Court Justice David Souter or face even deeper criticism from the Left -- "if Obama opts instead for a decidedly centrist nominee aimed at winning a large number of Republican votes in the Senate, the growing concern could develop into something more politically dangerous" -- the cynic might conclude this piece and its placement were a warning to the new President:
“Even though I think he can get away with a more centrist candidate, he has to be careful not to be spitting in the eyes of his base,” said Laura Murphy, a lobbyist and former head of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Washington office.
“He’s got to be concerned about the cumulative impact dampening the energy and enthusiasm he needs for the midterm elections,” Murphy said. “If he doesn’t sustain a sizeable Democratic majority, he’s going to have a hard time finishing his very big agenda.”
So, is this an honest assessment by Gerstein of growing discontent amongst liberals towards the new President, or a warning to Obama to name a liberal replacement to Souter or risk losing the support of his base?