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Summer Of Liberal Discontent

- August 23, 2011

Democrats Facing Division Within Their Ranks As Disappointment Grows With Obama’s Failed Policies

OBAMA IS FACING HARSH CRITICISM FROM FELLOW DEMOCRATS 

Democrats Are Frustrated With Obama’s Failed Economic Policies

Democrats “Increasingly Anxious” About Obama’s Failure On The Economy. With President Obama’s reelection on the line, Democrats are increasingly anxious about what they see as his failure to advance a coherent and muscular strategy for addressing the nation’s economic ills.” (Karen Tumulty and Peter Wallsten, “Nervous Democrats Say President Obama Must Be Bolder On Economy,” The Washington Post, 8/10/11)

Robert Shapiro, Top Clinton Economic Advisor: Obama’s First-Term Policies “Didn’t Deliver The Prosperity His Economic Team Promised.” “One reason the White House may not want to shift gears now is that doing so would ‘tacitly acknowledge that his first-term program didn’t deliver the prosperity his economic team promised,’ said Robert J. Shapiro, who was the top economic adviser to Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign.” (Karen Tumulty and Peter Wallsten, “Nervous Democrats Say President Obama Must Be Bolder On Economy,” The Washington Post, 8/10/11)

With “Little Prospect For Rapid Economic Growth Over The Next Two Years,” Obama’s Economic Team Is “Angry And Morose.” “The Federal Reserve’s finding on Tuesday that there is little prospect for rapid economic growth over the next two years was the latest in a summer of bad economic news. One administration official called the atmosphere around the president’s economic team ‘angry and morose.’” (Helene Cooper, “A Test for Obama’s View of a One-Term Presidency,” The New York Times, 8/9/11)

Rep. Mike Doyle (D-PA): “Talking About Jobs Does Not Create Jobs.” “Pittsburgh-area congressmen want less blame and more action when President Obama talks next month about spurring the economy. ‘Talking about jobs does not create jobs,’ said Rep. Mike Doyle, D-Forest Hills, who expects the president to offer more than just words in his highly anticipated speech after Labor Day. Doyle and fellow House members from Western Pennsylvania said they want to hear support for legislation they think will help the economy.” (Salena Zito, “Area Lawmakers Say They Want Action, Not Just Talk, On Economy,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,”8/18/11)

Robert Reich, President Clinton’s Labor Secretary: "For the good of the country and for his own political future, he's got to be seen as making jobs his first and major priority. And I fear he's not doing that." (Peter Nicholas, “Obama, Congressional Leaders Seek Leverage From Economic Jolt,” Los Angeles Times8/8/11)

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka: We Need More Than “Sound Bites.” “In an appearance on MSNBC Monday, Mr. Trumka said the nation needs a jobs agenda that amounts to more than just ‘sound bites’ from U.S. leaders.” (Melanie Trottman, “Trumka Turns Up Pressure For Jobs,” The Wall Street Journal’s Washington Wire,” 8/8/11)

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA): Congressional Black Caucus Is “Getting Tired” Of Supporting The President As Economy Continues To Suffer. “At a town hall in Detroit on Tuesday, Waters said that members of the CBC are ‘getting tired’ of continuing to support the president even as the economy continues to flounder, with the effects of a long-term recession magnified in many African-American communities.” (Jennifer Epstein , “Waters To Obama: Pay Attention To Us”  Politico 8/18/11)

“‘We Want Him To Know That From This Day Forward . . . We’ve Had It,’ Michigan Rep. John Conyers Recently Said Of The President. ‘We Want Him To Come Out On Our Side And Advocate, Not To Watch And Wait.’” (Ylan Mui, “Lack Of Jobs For Blacks Creates Tension Between Black Lawmakers And Obama,” The Washington Post8/7/11)

Rep. Marica Fudge (D-OH): Obama Might Know There’s A Problem, “But ‘It’s One Thing To Know It. It’s Another Thing To See It, To Feel It, To Touch It.’” “‘I think he knows that there’s a problem,’ said Rep. Marcia L. Fudge (D-Ohio), who is hosting the first CBC event. But ‘it’s one thing to know it. It’s another thing to see it, to feel it, to touch it. . . . It may be more urgent than he might even believe.’” (Ylan Mui, “Lack Of Jobs For Blacks Creates Tension Between Black Lawmakers And Obama,” The Washington Post8/7/11)

“‘What The President Is Doing Is Not The Same As What We’re Doing . . . We Have Real Jobs To Give Real People Who Are Unemployed,’ Said Caucus Chairman Emanuel Cleaver II (D-Mo.) ‘This Is Not One Of Those Deals Where We Go Around And Talk About Jobs And Hope Somebody Gives Us Some Press Attention.’” (Ylan Mui, “Lack Of Jobs For Blacks Creates Tension Between Black Lawmakers And Obama,” The Washington Post8/7/11)

Liberals Are Hammering Obama On His Lack Of Leadership

Adam Green, Head Of The Progressive Change Campaign Committee: “The Democratic President Has No Idea How To Fight Or Exert Leverage.” “Of all the Democratic leaders in the room, it’s a pretty safe bet that Nancy Pelosi is doing the most to exert leverage on behalf of progressive priorities,” Adam Green, head of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, said in an email. “That’s a bit tough to do, though, when the Democratic president has no idea how to fight or exert leverage, and is giving away the store.” (Mike Lillis, “Exasperated House Liberals Back Pelosi, Point Finger At President Obama,” The Hill, 8/9/11) 

Dem Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) Said Obama Has No “Fight” In Him And That Oregon Is In Play For 2012. “Saying there’s no ‘fight’ in President Barack Obama, a House Democrat home in Oregon for the congressional summer recess says he isn’t sure the president can win a second term or even carry his very blue state.” (Jennifer Epstein, “Dem Rep. DeFazio: Obama Could Lose,” Politico, 8/19/11)

  • Rep. DeFazio Thinks Oregon Could Be In Play Given The Economy. “And, DeFazio said, he’s not sure that Obama will do well in Oregon in 2012, even though he won nearly 57 percent of the vote there three years ago. ‘I believe Oregon is very much in play,’ he said. ‘I mean we are one of the harder hit states in the union, particularly my part of the state …. [P]eople are shaking their head and saying ‘I don’t know if I’d vote for him again.’” (Jennifer Epstein, “Dem Rep. DeFazio: Obama Could Lose,” Politico, 8/19/11)
  • Rep. DeFazio: “Fight? I Don’t Think It’s A Word In His Vocabulary.” “DeFazio has taken issue with Obama’s negotiation skills in the past and did again this week. ‘Fight? I don’t think it’s a word in his vocabulary,’ he said. ‘I mean, come on – he pledged as a candidate to make the Bush tax cuts for people making over $250,000. He repeatedly said that as president.’” (Jennifer Epstein, “Dem Rep. DeFazio: Obama Could Lose,” Politico, 8/19/11)
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Former Clinton Press Secretary Dee Dee Myers: “The president has shown himself unwilling to just dig in on a position.” (Karen Tumulty and Peter Wallsten, “Nervous Democrats Say President Obama Must Be Bolder On Economy,” The Washington Post, 8/10/11)

  • Myers: “He’s for jobs. I’ve heard him say that. He’s for being the grown-up in the room. But beyond that, I’m not actually sure what his bottom line is.” (Karen Tumulty and Peter Wallsten, “Nervous Democrats Say President Obama Must Be Bolder On Economy,” The Washington Post, 8/10/11) 

AND VETERAN DEMOCRAT STRATEGISTS HAVE “HAD IT WITH THE PRESIDENT”

The Washington Post’s Matt Miller: “In conversations with folks across the center-left in recent days, everyone’s basically had it with the president.” (Matt Miller, Op-Ed, “Why The Center-Left Is Fed Up With Obama,” The Washington Post8/10/11)

  • Miller: “Yet somehow the debt-ceiling fiasco and the downgrade, punctuated by these horrific jobs numbers and stock market gyrations, has made something in me (and, I suspect, millions of others) snap. It’s the sound of confidence in Obama’s leadership breaking.” (Matt Miller, Op-Ed, “Why The Center-Left Is Fed Up With Obama,” The Washington Post8/10/11)
  •  Miller: “If this is how it plays out, people like me won’t just be mad at Obama. We’ll be mad at ourselves for believing he was going to be different.” (Matt Miller, Op-Ed, “Why The Center-Left Is Fed Up With Obama,” The Washington Post8/10/11)

 Democratic Strategist Gary Pearce: “Democrats Are Worried. He Looks Weak, He Doesn’t Say Anything That Grabs You.” “Gary Pearce, a Democratic strategist in North Carolina, a swing state Mr. Obama is likely to struggle to retain in 2012, said: ‘Democrats are worried. He looks weak, he doesn't say anything that grabs you, and people are looking for some kind of magic.’" (Alex Spillius, “Democrats Doubt Barack Obama’s Reelection Chances,” The Telegraph8/9/11)

EVEN DEMOCRATS IN TRADITIONAL BLUE STATES ARE SOURING ON OBAMA 

New Yorkers Are Suffering From “Buyer’s Remorse”

Rep. Bill Owens (D-NY) “Declined To Immediately Endorse President Barack Obama For Re-Election.” “Yes, it's early. But it's also telling. Rep. Bill Owens, a Plattsburgh Democrat, declined to immediately endorse President Barack Obama for re-election in 2012, saying he'll have to ‘wait and see.’” (“Rep Owens Declines To Endorse Obama In 2012,” Watertown Daily Times8/22/11)

Quinnipiac Poll Has Obama’s Approval Rating Underwater For The First Time In “Democratic-Friendly” New York. The magnitude of Obama’s fall in Democratic-friendly New York came into stark focus last week, when a Quinnipiac University poll found him underwater in the state, with just 45 percent of voters saying they approved of the president, compared with 49 percent who didn’t — the first time a poll has found Obama with a negative approval number in New York. “(Alex Isenstadt, “Candidate Banks On Obama Disenchantment,” Politico 8/16/11) 

63 Percent Of New York Voters Give Obama A Negative Job Approval Rating. (Siena Research Institute Poll, 807 RV, MoE 3.1%, 8/9-14/11)

“I Think That Confidence In Obama Has Slipped. People Feel Let Down,” Said Michael Tobman, A New York City-Based Democratic Consultant And Former Top Aide To Sen. Charles Schumer.” (Alex Isenstadt, “Candidate Banks On Obama Disenchantment,” Politico 8/16/11) 

  • “There Are A Lot Of People That Have Had Buyer’s Remorse. There’s A Lot Of Unhappiness There,” Said Evan Thies, A Democratic Consultant In The State. “Obama Can Be Used As A Weapon In Many Different Ways For Different Constituencies.” (Alex Isenstadt, “Candidate Banks On Obama Disenchantment,” Politico 8/16/11)

In New Jersey, Obama Has Hit A Record Low 

Obama Has A 44 Percent Approval Rating, Hitting A Record Low In A State He Won by 15 Points In ’08. “Only 44 percent of New Jersey voters approve of the job the president's doing in the White House, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll of Garden State voters. That's the lowest score for Obama in Quinnipiac polling in a state that he won by 15 percentage points over Sen. John McCain in the 2008 presidential election.” (Paul Steinhauser, “Poll: New Low For Obama In State He Won Big In ‘08” CNN’s “Political Ticker 8/17/11)

  • 52 Percent Of New Jersey Voters Disapprove Of The Job Obama Is Doing As President. (Paul Steinhauser, “Poll: New Low For Obama In State He Won Big In ‘08” CNN’s “Political Ticker 8/17/11)

Among Independents, Just 39 Percent Approve Of Obama’s Job Performance As President, While 57 Percent Disapprove. (Quinnipiac University Poll, 1,624 RV, MoE 2.4%, 8/9-8/15/11)

  • 57 Percent Of Independent Voters Say Obama Does Not Deserve To Be Reelected. (Quinnipiac University Poll, 1,624 RV, MoE 2.4%, 8/9-8/15/11)

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