[T]he overconfidence of Congressional Democrats posed another major challenge to the Obama presidency. During the 2008 election, Obama's conservative critics had long complained that the then-freshman senator had little to no record of standing up the leftwing base of his party in part, they argued, because he himself was much more leftwing than he had let on.
Whatever the truth of that, what is not contested is that the Congressional Progressive Caucus - the largest partisan bloc in the Congress when Mr. Obama was elected - believed that the new president was "one of us" according to many sources contacted for this article.
The CPC, colloquially known as the "big swinging caucus" after an unfortunate joke by then-Republican Minority Leader John Boehner after a scandal involving Rep. Barney Frank (see side story), pushed Barack Obama on a wide array of fronts: they demanded very large cuts in the military budget, a sweeping government expansion into the role of healthcare, and in a move that experts agree caused the Wall Street Panic of 2010, they persuaded Mr. Obama to make the government's partial ownership of the remaining "Big Five" banks permanent. Representatives Frank and Charlie Rangel argued that the stakes, bought by the Bush treasury department, in the banks provided, in Frank's words, a "once in a lifetime opportunity to inject some social justice into the capitalist system." Or as Senator Jesse Jackson Jr. said, "if we've got them by the b - - - s already, why let go?"
Americans also don't like it when White House press secretary Keith Olbermann tells them that complaining about higher taxes is "racist."
A general consensus among political observers is that Obama's essential problem was that he was oversold and too naive and arrogant to realize he wasn't as his most devoted fans believed. A senior Democrat on Capitol Hill marveled: "In 2008, this guy promised to send everyone to college, vastly increase foreign aid, create a 'civilian national security force' that was just a well-funded as the U.S. military, his wife said he'd fix our 'broken souls,' and he said he'd make the oceans stop rising, all without increasing the deficit. The amazing thing is he thought it was all true. He makes Jimmy Carter look like he should be on Mt. Rushmore."
Sunday, November 09, 2008
Jonah Goldberg "looks back" from 2012 at the Obama Presidency, in the NY Post: