The President must act now to prevent this. If he does not take this seriously, they will accomplish the goal. The left will become a balkanised movement of political purists, and pragmatic politicians will be left only with a centrist group of supporters which will, in all likelihood, push them towards the amoral politics of the Third Way.
Why can’t left-wingers merely come to the President with their concerns? Why are they trying to embarrass him? Why did the leader of the antiwar group Code Pink interrupt Obama’s speech on national security three times? Why did the gay rights activist described in this article interrupt Michelle Obama from speaking at this fundraising dinner (which, interestingly, the activist seems to have paid the same as everyone else to get into)?
Any way you slice it, part of the blame lies with the President.
The President may well be getting intemperate criticism from these groups regardless of what he does, since they are pretty clearly on a mission to bring him down. But he is clearly not doing enough to avoid the more temperate criticism coming from these groups.
The antiwar groups he could respond to simply by saying “Our active combat role will be over in 2014.” He has been saying that for Afghanistan. He should say it for Pakistan as well. Whenever there is specific evidence that a terrorist plot is being credibly prepared somewhere in the world, the US will always do what it can to stop it, and no one should expect any different. But if the reason for what we’re doing now is to do as much damage to the Taliban and al-Qaeda before a 2014 deadline date, the President could avoid most of the crap he is getting from the Left just by saying that outright. He should say it. The firebag Left will continue to score points as long as he keeps his plans in the shadows instead of in the open.
The gay activist group protesting at the Michelle Obama speech seemed to be upset with Obama not issuing an executive order to establish a policy of not hiring companies that are known to have fired homosexual employees simply for being homosexual. That’s a cause that seems pretty reasonable, so the onus is properly on the President to explain, if there is an explanation, why he has not issued such an executive order. There may well be such an explanation – something which is often hard to explain to firebaggers, who assume the President could have outlawed all of the world’s injustices by now, without consulting Congress or worrying about Supreme Court decisions. Often the problem is the implementation of an executive order, as the President found out when he issued his ill-fated executive order to close Guantánamo two days after becoming President. But if there is some reason why he hasn’t issued this order this particular activist wanted him to issue, we need to hear it from the President. If the President stays mum on this subject, it is pretty much an open call to the firebaggers to keep interrupting him on this matter, and indeed, probably on a host of others, as they will probably score some more points on him by doing so.
I am not anxious to spend my time appearing to give aid and comfort to another LBJ. The president needs to step up his transparency, or watch the American reform constituency fracture into a holier-than-thou purist constituency (which will probably once again line up to fail behind some Dennis Kucinich-like candidate) and a dirtier-than-thou group of self-interested pragmatic politicians (which, in all likelihood, will form the basis of the Hillary Clinton 2016 presidential bid).
Mr. President, wake up! This is a very real danger. Any legacy of social change you hoped your presidency could be about may very well founder if you allow this to continue.