Liberal bloggers have a list of grievances against President Obama--the Guantanamo Bay detention facility is still open, there was no public option in the health care overhaul, he doubled down in Afghanistan--and they join college kids and Hollywood in the ranks of once-ardent Obama supporters who are now disappointed in him. But bloggers at the annual conference Netroots Nation, going on right now in Minneapolis, are adopting a different tactic to get the president's attention: It appears they think the best way to get the White House to take their complaints seriously is to compare themselves to bitter ex-girlfriends. "What to Do When the President is Just Not That Into You," was the title of one panel, which featured Fire Dog Lake's Jane Hamsher, the Daily Kos's Joan McCarter, and Dan Choi, an openly gay former Army officer who came out on The Rachel Maddow Show.
"It's like the president's not our boyfriend anymore," McCarter said during the panel, according to NPR's Ina Jaffe, who said the bloggers' acknowledgment of some of Obama's successes "sounded like a defense of the boyfriend who brought you flowers even though he cheated on you." Post-breakup, progressive bloggers have to be more careful about how they deal with him, Hamsher explained: "This is the time when Barack Obama has to care. This is the time when he needs your vote. So don't give yourself away cheaply. Ask for what you need and what the country needs and this is the time to do it." Don't sleep with him before you get the ring, ladies.
From The Wall Street Journal's Danny Yadron's reporting, it's clear that hell hath no fury like a blogger scorned. Yadron reports that immigration activist Felipe Matos said of Obama, "He's onto something, and we're onto him. We are not a type of people that you want to mess around with." But an even more dramatic moment came when a pro-Obamaite tried to defend his buddy from the slander of these spurned lovers:
Things grew somewhat tense when Nick Tschida, who identified himself as an unpaid intern for Organizing for America, the White House's political arm, approached the stage and gave the panelists a flier touting the White House’s accomplishments on gay rights.
But when Mr. Tschida told Mr. Choi that he personally did not support same-sex marriage, Mr. Choi grabbed the flier and tore it up.
Mr. Tschida then raised his shoulders and offered, "Civil unions?"
Update: White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer went through a little "couples therapy," in the words of ABC News' Matthew Jaffe, with the Netroots bloggers Friday.
When Pfeiffer touted the repeal of the military’s Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy, [moderator Kaili Joy Gray, from Daily Kos] quipped, “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell? You’re still firing people for being gay.” Gray told him that progressives were “sick of hearing about” the passage of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009. When Pfeiffer said President Obama is “the most progressive president” on many of these issues that the country has ever had, Gray replied, “That’s a pretty low bar.” And she persistently asked why the Obama administration appeared more eager to compromise with Republicans than drive a hard line for the far left.
“Refusing to compromise means that nothing will get done and frankly, that’s not an option,” Pfeiffer said.
But Pfeiffer wanted to make sure the bloggers knew that they were appreciated for all their hard work and caring.
“You are a very important part of the coalition that got him here. You’ll be a very important part of the coalition that stops the Republicans from doing things like ending Medicare as we know it. And you’ll be an important part of the coalition that ensures that this president is re-elected. He knows that. I know that. And we want to make sure you guys know that,” Pfeiffer added.