Examining the alarmist headlines on the cable news channels has been amusing, to say the length. All of them amount to some variation of: "Will the Liberal Base Desert Obama?".
In a word, no. We're so used to grumbling our way down to the poll, casting our vote for a wholly uninspiring Democratic candidate in November, that if need be we will act in kind this time too. But even so, I'm still under the sway of the Obama glow, even if certain segments of the cynical media have begun to question its love affair with the Illinois senator. As I have maintained before and continue to maintain, politics has some degree of pandering involved and one never truly knows how any candidate will govern until he or she is sworn in and taken office.
If we are to remove the stigma that liberal still has in the minds of many, it's going to have to be done with Obama rolling up his sleeves, passing his proposals through a likely friendly Congress, and signing these bills into law. Through action, not lip-service are we going to change the negative stereotypes that have burdened leftist candidates for elective office. If Obama governs well, these same tired arguments will be less likely to stick and to be deeply damaging both to progressive candidates and progressive citizens.
Truthfully, I'm not thrilled with the hard turn to the center that Obama has taken in recent days, but for all the postulating about post-partisanship and a new way of conducting business, I knew this day would come. How quickly we forget the criticism raging in the blogsophere this time last year, and the vast number of people who were hesitant to back Obama because of these same concerns: Not liberal enough. Not committed enough to a progressive mindset. Not what we really want. Not what we really need.
But, as we always do, we lock ranks around our party's candidate, even if he or she isn't as forward-thinking as we think he or she ought to be. But what we need to ask ourselves is how we can advance a more liberal agenda and convince more of the American people of the validity and rightness of our cause. One effective President can accomplish quite a bit, but he or she can't do it alone. We are very good at identifying problems, but proposing solutions would do us much better.