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To Lefties: How Does Obama Disappoint?

While the major fallout from Gibbs' "the professional left" flap has died down a bit, a second round of examination seems to have begun -- one much more introspective and much less knee-jerk than the first round.
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While the major fallout from Robert Gibbs' recent slap in the face to "the professional left" has died down a bit, a second round of examination seems to have begun -- one much more introspective and much less knee-jerk than the first round. But the problem seems to be that the people writing about it are mostly of the inside-the-Beltway punditry, meaning it lacks a certain breadth, I think.

This isn't to say such articles aren't valuable, and worth debate. Greg Sargent, who writes the political blog The Plum Line over at, titled today's article: "Why is left so disappointed in Obama?" In it, Sargent discusses an article in Politico which attempts to answer this question, and comes up with his own take on things. Which immediately led me to thinking: "Well, why not ask a few Lefties what they think?"

Since it's Monday, meaning this column will appear in Huffington Post as well as on my own website, I thought I'd do the courtesy of actually asking a fairly large, fairly Lefty audience what they thought, instead of just offering up my own explanations for the phenomenon. So, what do you think? I promise I'll tally everyone's comments in an effort to try to qualify what the Left (or at least, the portion of it reading this) really thinks about their disappointment with the president.

To do so, I'm going to offer up some choices, and invite you to rank your top three in the comments section, by number. Now, I realize that these are all, of necessity, going to be generalizations, and that you may not find the exact reason you're looking for in the list, or perhaps one only tangentially related. So I've also included the option "Other," where you can add your own particular reason for disappointment. And I've also included "I'm not disappointed," for those who are still happy with the job Barack Obama is doing.

In any case, here's the list to choose from. Again, rank your answers in the order they apply to your thoughts and feelings, while keeping in mind only the top three answers you give will be counted. I've tried to be as broad as possible in imagining what top disappointments could be, so you'll have to forgive the length of the list.

As a Lefty (or "as someone who voted for him," to be inclusive), President Obama has disappointed me for the following reasons:

  1. I reject the premise of the question, as President Obama has not disappointed me.

  • Campaign promises broken/not kept yet.
  • Far too much emphasis on bipartisanship; far too little emphasis on standing up for core Democratic values and using his bully pulpit to give voice to the Democratic narrative.
  • Being too quick to bargain away the strongest and best part of legislation.
  • Being too close to Wall Street, and not paying nearly enough attention to Main Street.
  • Not focusing enough on improving the economy and creating jobs.
  • What Obama has managed to get done does not qualify as: "Change we can believe in."
  • Obama's too liberal.
  • Obama's too conservative.
  • Obama's too centrist/pragmatic.
  • Obama's too corporate.
  • Not being a "fierce advocate" for much of anything.
  • Not advancing a cause I believe strongly in (this is a catch-all for one-issue-voter types).
  • Obama bashes the Left, and ignores his base.
  • His surge in Afghanistan, instead of bringing our troops home (or other foreign policy disappointments).
  • His continued Bush-era policies on national defense/civil liberties (interrogation, not closing Guantanamo, assassination policy, etc.).
  • Lack of transparency, lack of press conferences.
  • Two words: Rahm Emanuel.
  • Two words: Tim Geithner
  • Lack of true leadership (another catch-all response, sorry).
  • Has not transformed the partisan culture of Washington.
  • Failure to adequately spotlight congressional Republican obstructionism.
  • Bailouts/too much government spending.
  • Not any one thing in particular, but all the little disappointments just seem to add up over time.
  • I heard he's a Muslim/a Socialist/wasn't born in Hawai'i.
  • Other: _________________
  • There you have it. Are you disappointed in President Obama? Why? Let me know in the comments, and after I add things up, I promise I'll send the results on to Sargent (in the hopes he'll plug my column in his, to be scrupulously honest, here). Don't forget to rank your answers "First/Second/Third" or "1, 2, 3" so I can score them properly.

    Whether anyone inside the Beltway pays attention or not, though, I think it's a worthwhile question to ask, and I think the answers will be very interesting to see, no matter how things turn out. So have at it!

    UPDATE: Poll results for the first 100 responses are now up over at my site. Thanks to everyone who responded!

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