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August 10, 2010


Bush had much smaller majorities in Congress and got everything he wanted. Bush did not precompromise everything and empower his opposition the way Obama reflexively does.

I think you're taking the Green Lantern theory a bit far here. The Hill article you're linking was written entirely from Gibbs' perspective, complete with his strawman depiction of who his liberal critics are.

But plenty of Obama's critics are attacking specific policy objectives of the administration. Maddow's attack on Obama's position on gay marriage (mentioned in the article), isn't that he's not a big enough cheerleader, it's that Obama is against gay marriage. Greenwald takes him to task for adopting many of the domestic spying and rendition policies of the Bush administration, Congressional Democrats have objected to Obama's lack of an exit strategy for Afghanistan and liberal economists fault him for filling his administration with men who fought to deregulate the banking industry. And of course liberals faulted him for taking Universal Health Care off the table at the outset, not for being unable to cajole Congress into approving it.

Simply put, it's Gibbs who has the Green Lantern view of the world. He's demanding that the "professional left" stop complaining and clap louder. And he's blaming their lack of enthusiasm for Democratic failures.

Steve - the president has far more latitude on foreign policy. Bush also had a massive approval boost after 9/11 and faced a less unified opposition caucus in the Senate. But the same principles apply, especially after things returned to normal. When Bush tried to add private accounts to Social Security and pass immigration reform during his second term, he failed.

Re Brendan's update:

Bogus meme alert: @mickeykaus Nyhan parrots claim that Spain trip taunting your base in public hurts Obama http://j.mp/bCDqyk In reality, unlikely to matter http://j.mp/cJPzxx

Brendan -

It seems pretty clear that immigration reform was rejected by Bush's base, not his opposition, so not sure it's a good counter-example in your response to Steve.

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