Liberal pundits are providing advice, often strongly worded, for Democrats and President Barack Obama in advance of the November elections that are expected to be very difficult for the party. How can they stave off disaster? Writers are focusing heavily on the much-discussed liberal Democratic base, which delivered control of Congress in 2006 and the White House in 2008, but currently lack enthusiasm. Here's what they have to say.
Fight Harder for Liberal Priorities The Washington Post's Greg Sargent argues, "Fighting harder for liberal priorities -- even if that battle is hopeless in some cases -- is better politics for Democrats overall, because it might leave Dems with an energized base heading into the midterms. ... Obama would be in a better position anyway if he'd fought more visibly for those core priorities, because rank and file Dems would know what it is they should go out and vote for on Election Day. ... If the Dem base is unenthusiastic, give Dems something to get excited about, or effectively tell them why they should be excited."
- Stop Attacking Liberal Critics Politico's Keach Hagey writes, "The vice president told Democrats to 'stop whining,' the president told them to 'buck up,' and if there was any remaining doubt that press secretary Robert Gibbs’s exasperation over the summer with the 'professional left' was the official view of the White House, they dispelled it this week." Hagey chronicles the rising tension between the White House and liberal bloggers, the latter of which have deepened their criticism, harming the administration. Hagey writes of the White House view, "Just don’t fight him."
- Focus on GOP Crazies The Washington Monthly's Steve Benen advises, "I suppose the pitch Democrats can make to these [disaffected] voters is: it can and will get worse if Republicans win, and would have been much worse had the GOP gotten its way. Obama has taken steps to get us on the right track, and conditions have slowly improved, but the surest way to stop the progress, the argument goes, is to hand the GOP power and encourage Republicans to pursue their discredited economic agenda."
- Obama: Liberals Must Take Responsibility As part of his "closing statement" in a lengthy interview with Rolling Stone, President Obama said, "It is inexcusable for any Democrat or progressive right now to stand on the sidelines in this midterm election. There may be complaints about us not having gotten certain things done, not fast enough, making certain legislative compromises. But right now, we've got a choice between a Republican Party that has moved to the right of George Bush and is looking to lock in the same policies that got us into these disasters in the first place, versus an administration that, with some admitted warts, has been the most successful administration in a generation in moving progressive agendas forward. The idea that we've got a lack of enthusiasm in the Democratic base, that people are sitting on their hands complaining, is just irresponsible."
- Only the Economy Matters Duncan "Atrios" Black sighs that media criticism and high-level political wrangling "basically don't matter for November. I could write a million furious blog posts and Maddow could have Greenwald on every night to talk about the hopey changeyness of presidential assassination orders and the impact on the November outcomes would be almost precisely zero. The economy sucks, the policies didn't work well enough, and the 'we'll get through this if we wait a little bit longer and cut small business taxes yet again because it worked so well the first time' rhetoric isn't working. ... Hire people. Put them to work."