The Foolish Fantasies of the Left, and why The W. Virginia Results Should Worry Barack Obama
So here is Mr. Dionne’s solution to the problem:
This week, progressives will highlight a new effort to pursue the road not taken at a conference convened by the Campaign for America's Future that opens Monday. It is a cooperative venture with a large number of other organizations, notably the American Dream Movement led by Van Jones, a former Obama administration official who wants to show the country what a truly progressive agenda around jobs, health care and equality would look like. Jones freely acknowledges that "we can learn many important lessons from the recent achievements of the libertarian, populist right," and says of the progressive left: "This is our 'tea party' moment -- in a positive sense."
Once again, the highly touted left-wing Tea Party run by the avowed Marxist-Leninist Van Jones. Jones seems to have succeeded in getting away with his strategy of giving up open avowal of his revolutionary beliefs to achieve the same goals by using the old Leninist strategy of “boring from within,” favored by the sectarian Left in the 1920’s and early 1930’s.
If they succeed, Dionne writes, it will have the following effect:
What's been missing in the Obama presidency is the productive interaction with outside groups that Franklin Roosevelt enjoyed with the labor movement and Lyndon B. Johnson with the civil rights movement. Both pushed FDR and LBJ in more progressive directions while also lending them support against their conservative adversaries.
This is the old dream of a “people’s movement” of the far Left that can exert the kind of pressure Obama cannot resist. After all, if he does not follow their lead, their cadre will not come out the weeks before the election, going door to door in swing states or contested regions -- as they did in Virginia in 2008 -- leaving the independents and the old Reagan Democrats to continue to move toward a decision to vote Republican.
The problem is that if Barack Obama takes the bait, it will only increase the decision of these swing voters, independents and working-class whites to move even faster towards the Republican candidate. In West Virginia, the results have just come in. The Democratic candidate Earl Ray Tomblin managed to squeak by with a very slim margin of victory of just 3 per cent, in a state in which the Democrats have always won the Gubernatorial spot by large margins.
The New York Times reported:
It was a slim victory in a hard-fought race that was seen as a test for Democrats. Mr. Maloney, a businessman, was initially viewed as a long-shot in this heavily Democratic state, but he surged ahead in the polls in recent weeks with the help of negative advertisements associating Mr. Tomblin with Mr. Obama, who is deeply unpopular here. Mr. Tomblin’s campaign also ran negative ads.
This was the case even though Tomblin is considered a conservative Democrat, who was endorsed by the NRA, favors coal mining, and is continuing the state’s lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency. Yet, so unpopular is Obama, that Tomblin almost lost!
You can be certain that Barack Obama will look closely at these results, and therefore, think hard and fast before making the shift to the left to please Van Jones and company. As the Times put it, “Mr. Obama was another liability, and Mr. Tomblin worked hard to distance himself. “
Hence President Obama’s quandary: Shift Left and get the base out, but lose the swing states, independents and working-class Democrats. Or shift Right and lose the organizing activity, endorsement and support of the left-wing activists.
Either course spells one outcome that will be good for the country: Barack Obama will be a one-term President.