Democrats to Oust Obama?

Left-wing discontent with Obama is probably not as high as moderate, right-wing, or libertarian discontent with the man, but it’s getting there. In fact, some, including Matt Stoller of the Roosevelt Institute, are speculating about possibly taking Obama off the top of the Democratic ticket in 2012.

Not that it will ever happen, but hey, I only read Salon for entertainment anyways:

Democrats may soon have to confront an uncomfortable truth, and ask whether Obama is a suitable choice at the top of the ticket in 2012. They may then have to ask themselves if there’s any way they can push him off the top of the ticket.

That these questions have not yet been asked in any serious way shows how weak the Democratic Party is as a political organization. Yet this political weakness is not inevitable, it can be changed through courage and collective action by a few party insiders smart and principled enough to understand the value of a public debate, and by activists who are courageous enough to face the real legacy of the Obama years.

Obama has ruined the Democratic Party. The 2010 wipeout was an electoral catastrophe so bad you’d have to go back to 1894 to find comparable losses. From 2008 to 2010, according to Gallup, the fastest growing demographic party label was former Democrat. Obama took over the party in 2008 with 36 percent of Americans considering themselves Democrats. Within just two years, that number had dropped to 31 percent, which tied a 22-year low.

I thought about this last year, in a very idle, food for thought sense, no real seriousness behind it. There’s no chance an incumbent president would ever be snubbed by his own party in this landscape; it would be financially disastrous for the party still desperately trying to hold on and would make it all the more easier for the GOP to win in the general, provided the Republicans didn’t tire themselves out first in the primaries. (Considering Perry’s recent gains, I doubt that too.) But I like writing alternate history scenarios, so something speculative like that was right up my alley.

While Stoller is off on a few things—he says that Obama “ignored luminaries like Paul Krugman, and generally did whatever he could to repudiate the New Deal,” which is simply ludicrous considering the billions he dumped into the economy through stimulus, and I just don’t see how an administration that tried to block Boeing from moving to a right-to-work state is “anti-labor”—I think he’s generally on target both with Obama’s rankling of the left and his asssessment that the Democratic Party needs to reinvent itself (in addition to, I would add, the Republican Party.) Note my choice of words though: “rankling.” In my mind, that was always a relatively minor, though persistent irritation. It is nowhere near enough to cause any constituency to actually do anything about Obama. I think this has less to do with Obama and more to do with a lack of ideology beyond “I get what I want.” If it were otherwise, you would have just as many protestors over Libya. There were zilch.

I do hope someone runs against Obama, though, and not just for entertainment value (and not to help the GOP, either.) I hope someone runs against Obama so either they will be a healthy debate within the Democratic Party over where their ideas have taken us—if the candidate is right-of-Obama—or we can see the ludicrousness of their Keynesian thought between debates over stimulus packages—if the candidate is left-of-Obama. Either way, the voter wins.


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