How should a progressive think about Obama? Just in the last few news cycles, several items scream for attention.
First this, the budget cave, Paul Krugman's observation ("Celebrating Defeat", my emphasis):Ezra Klein gets this right, I think; it’s one thing for Obama to decide that it was better to give in to Republican hostage-taking than draw a line in the sand; it’s another for him to celebrate the result. Yet that’s just what he did. ... It’s worth noting that this follows just a few months after another big concession, in which he gave in to Republican demands for tax cuts. The net effect of these two sets of concessions is, of course, a substantial increase in the deficit.
Cave Week 1 was the Lame Duck for the ages, in which Obama promised never to give in to the Bush tax cuts for the super-rich, then gave in. That blew a multi-trillion dollar hole in the long-term budget, which spending cuts are expected to fix.
Now we have Cave Week 2, Obama vs. the Teabags, in which the Teabags win big and Obama does a victory dance.
Next we find this, Obama vs. the Entitlements, a "major speech" on Wednesday, via Teagan Goddard (my emphasis again):President Obama plans to deliver "a major speech" on Wednesday laying out an aggressive plan for deficit reduction -- including reform of entitlements, such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.
Cave Week 3? "Reform" of Social Security by Obama will mean the death of the Democratic Party, and yet Obama wants it bad.
So which is it? Was Obama always a Republican Trojan Horse, or is his childhood baggage of trying to straddle two racial worlds without pissing off either so pervasive that he will throw our most vulnerable citizens out into the cold in a vain and ultimately futile effort to continue his hopeless quest?