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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Bobo on the Short-sightedness of Progressives

Larry Bobo has just made a great contribution in assessing Obama as President. Particularly, he questions the positions of the left that are critical and dismissive what the President has accomplished over his first 15 months. (See the record) Much of the left, and a number of black intellectuals, do not see Obama as being progressive enough. Where are the "targeted programs?" They ask. Bobo paints a picture of a presidency more successful than even LBJ in getting his policies through Congress. It seems as "the left" is so accustomed to and comfortable with protest it has no sense of what it means to win or how. Rather than seeing Obama as the stepping stone to a changed progressive America, they complain about what Obama is not doing. The message of Bobo's analysis is that they need to get a grip. RGN

Obama and the Great Progressive Disconnect
by Larry Bobo

Whither Change?

Obama did stir up high expectations for a new direction in Washington. It is certainly true that Obama’s campaign for the presidency advanced an even more pointed critique of the Bush administration than did that of his one-time rival Hillary Rodham Clinton. In hindsight, it seems clear that taking the eight years of Bush leadership to task for a failure of “competence,” as Clinton did, was hardly the message of outrage that many Democratic voters, desperate for more fundamental “change,” wanted to hear.

Having captured both the Democratic nomination as well as the presidency with a message of hope and change, has Obama’s first year done enough to deliver on the promises he seemed to make and the high expectations he so ardently fostered during the campaign season? For me, the answer is an unequivocal “Yes!” Indeed, I’m not just surprised by all the carping on the left, but bewildered and disappointed by it.

In arguing that Obama has (to the extent politically possible)delivered on high expectations, I well realize that, with the recent election of Scott Brown as the U.S. Senator from Massachusetts, the chances of major health care reform are now reduced. And there’s no denying that, if health care reform doesn’t happen, the first year loses at least some of its luster. But even if major health care reform doesn’t happen, my argument is that the carping on the left strangely ignores all the successful initiatives on inequality-related issues that Obama has in one short year delivered. I begin, then, with an overview of his general poverty and inequality initiatives and then turn to his one-year legacy as it pertains to issues of race.

For the full article

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