Obama’s Problem

A couple weeks ago I noticed Glenn Greenwald, one of my favorite voices on constitutional law, had the following post up on Twitter:

Tweet from @ggreenwald

Now I was probably not having a good day but it seemed to me that if people like Glenn Greenwald and Jane Hamsher are out there bashing Obama for being a Bush reincarnate at the same time as people like Glen Beck and Sarah Palin are out there bashing Obama for being a Nazi-Socialist-Kenyan-Colonialist that there is one loser in this equation, the left.

The following exchange ensued:

@ggreenwald If you equate Obama with Bush and the right equates him to a Communist something doesn’t jive. Bottom line = he can’t be both. 5:15 PM Sep 8th via SocialScope in reply to ggreenwald

@MTedesco Hmmm, let’s see – maybe one side is right and one side is wrong. 5:40 PM Sep 8th via web in reply to MTedesco

Maybe or maybe someone is so self -absorbed that he can’t see the forest for the trees. In my opinion Glenn is playing the same “you are either with me or against me” black or white politics that the he has derided conservatives about for years. Just because Obama is not doing everything you want him to do does not mean he is George W. Bush. If he were then he would be a darling of the right.

Governing is much like running a business something with which I am very familiar. Both governments and businesses are systems made up of smaller subsystems each with their own challenges. The system itself is always constrained by the fact that there is a limited amount of resources in form of labor that can be focused on any given challenge. In addition, the energy of those resources needs to remain focused and concerned about delivering solutions. This is what would be called morale in business or motivation in politics. The balancing act every leader or manager is faced with then on a daily basis is to decide which of these challenges to address and when with the limited resources at his/her disposal all the while trying to keep his people focused on the task at hand. Any distraction or lack of focus can cause a downturn in morale which, as any leader will tell you, spells doom.

So in this case Obama’s labor force, the liberal activists who elected him in 2008, have a serious morale problem. They are not seeing any of their concerns being addressed by the President and as a result they are vocally working toward his demise. Case in point, this piece in today’s Salon by Glenn.

So, just as Robert Gibbs before him explained (albeit more harshly), if you’re one of those people dissatisfied with large parts of the Obama presidency, that’s only because you have something wrong with the way you think (you need drug testing/you “congenitally see the glass as half empty”), and because you are saddled with extremely unrealistic, child-like expectations (you’re angry that the Pentagon hasn’t closed yet/bitter that Obama “hasn’t yet brought about world peace:  ‘I thought that was going to happen quicker’ (Laughter.)”).  In other words, you’re just a petulant, unreasonable, unrealistic, fringe child who doesn’t appreciate the greatness and generosity he’s given you (h/t Jane Hamsher).

I am not going to bother quoting the entire thing but in effect Glenn lays out many of the problems he has with the president only after all but calling him an elitist for hosting a “$30,000 per plate DNC fundraising event at the “home of Richard and Ellen Richman, who live in the exclusive Conyers Farm development in Greenwich [Connecticut]’s famed ‘back country’ neighborhood,”‘. He goes on to quote the President who foolishly decided to use the fundraiser as a vehicle to hit back at these attacks from the left and then in one of his many updates to the post claims to be shocked when the gossips at the WAPO jump on the obvious “liberal eat their young” display playing out at Salon.

This can not continue. Glenn and his peers have valid points in that the President needs to show that he is willing to work on addressing many of the things that the left sees as differentiating them from the right such as torture, warrant-less wiretapping, foreign policy, etc. At the same time the President has a point and the left needs to acknowledge the the managerial/leadership challenge he is faced with and praise him for the things he has accomplished like preventing a great depression, passing universal health care, passing financial reform, etc.

If this infighting does not stop then in little over one month we will see extremist Republicans take control of the House and possibly the Senate and we are guaranteed a return to the Clinton-era witch-hunts times ten.

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