Because this is apparently the Democratic electoral strategy.
Color me stunned.
You get elected with a mandate for change, and then proceed to make minor, incremental changes that your political opponents use to cast you as a communist, fascist, Kenyan anti-colonial Muslim. Clinton had a more progressive record. Hell, Eisenhower probably had a more progressive record.
You withdraw, expecting blind support from your own side while leaving the debate to your political opponents, because you think if you are nice to them, they will stop acting like lunatics. You think that the American people will turn in disgust from their lunacy without you having to do anything, even though that flies in the face of every historical indication of American culture.
You allow revisions of the last 10 years of history to go unchallenged. Your administration embarasses itself by firing an official because some right-wing yahoo cuts and pastes video clips of her "racist" speech about overcoming racism. Then you allow the Democrats to throw Freedom of Religion under the bus because they are scared to stand for what is right against the onslaught of Republican demagougery. And that's just the politics.
On policy, you step back while the Pelosi/Reid situation in Congress gives us a politically disasterous, confusing and meekly submitted stimulus; a confusing health care plan that removes the majority of real progressive reform; Gitmo remains open, and the plan to actually bring the terrorists to trial has faltered; we double down in Afganistan without really doing what needs to be done to win that conflict; we leave 50,000 troops and a host of defense contractors in Iraq; some of the worst excesses of the drug war and the war on terror continue unabated. Don't Ask, Don't Tell, despite broad support for repeal, remains - even politically gamed to a defense spending bill.
Let me be clear - if I have to defend the Health Care Bill because it was originally a "conservative" idea, there's a reason your supporters aren't up for this go-round in November. Not a single one of your opponents voted for the bill, and yet it was their think tanks that proposed most of it. One of their Presidential candidates from the last go-round made something like this happen in Massachusetts with the help of their new Senator from Massachusetts. That was basically their bill, without disbanding Medicare and Medicaid to pay for it.
That means THEY got THEIR legislation passed while THEY were in the MINORITY and NOT A ONE OF THEM VOTED FOR IT.
Almost every time THEY have complained, this adminstration, with a majority in the House and the Senate, has backtracked. And you wonder why your own voters aren't motivated?
But at least we aren't torturing people for information anymore. Or so we hope. Not that anyone responsible for that repugnant behavior will ever be held accountable, we just chalk that up as another dark episode in America's history of dark episodes. Such is the price we pay for being the diminishing envy of the world.
On taxes, there is no urgency to revise the Bush Tax Plan to some reality-recognizing structure that may stop the government subsidization of the uberwealthy.
Our nation is facing fundamental challenges. Our economy has been unsustainable for nearly a generation now, and you're doing all you can to tinker with those changes so no one gets upset. That kind of consensus building might work when everyone is ready to accept reality and work towards real goals, but it absolutely fails when roughly half the electorate is foaming at the mouth to deny reality - and you entertain their concerns as legitimate while acting like your own supporters are the problem.
And on the Supreme Court you give us Elena Kagan. I sure hope you're right about that one, because I'm still scratching my head.
I'm not even ready to discuss the government reaction to the BP Oil Spill in any rational manner. My only solace in the administration's behavior regarding that situation comes from the deep faith that McCain/Palin would have made decisions far more destructive.
So, congratulations on being the least worst.
Did you actually believe that "Dear Leader/Obama is the Messiah" narrative that right-wing talk radio said about your supporters? Did you think we'd be happy just because you're you and your policies are a little better than Bush?
How does it feel that the majority of the electorate, in 2010, is going to go to the polls to vote directly against the "change" the vast majority voted for in 2008? How does it feel knowing the majority of your supporters will stay home and let the lunatics win the day? Maybe you'll think about that the next time you chose to leave your own supporters with their asses in the wind because you'd rather play ball with a GOP that wants nothing more than your destruction.
And you need to talk to those idiot Democrats in the House and Senate that can't understand the term "majority."
Don't get me wrong. I still support your administration. I knew you would deliver pragmatic reforms that would leave both extremes wanting. I recognize those changes you have made, and they are the Change I Still Believe In. I remain disappointed at the changes you have not made, especially the ones that should have been walks in the park. You've gotten an awful lot done in two years, but a lot of it isn't enough.
Thanks for the credit card thing, too.
You have to learn that there are political consequences to taking votes for granted. Don't worry, this has been a problem with Democrats for as long as I can remember.
You have to learn that there are political consequences to letting the other side control the debate, especially when their talking points have more to do with the Land of Make Believe and Playing Revolution than acknowledging reality. It only works when there are two competing narratives. Lunacy is only exposed when placed next to reality. You won this public debate resoundingly in 2008, so I know you know how.
And never, ever underestimate the majority eroding consequence of running ethically suspect Democrats for Congress.
But ignoring these political consequences by scolding your own supporters after the last two years, and telling us to "quit whining," is as tone-deaf and reality-denying as your most rabid opponents' wet dreams. Maybe when you wake up on that November morning to find your pragmatic, centrist agenda in ashes will you realize that ralling your own side isn't just something to do five weeks before an election.
(Update: Saturday, October 2. Welcome, Levees Not War readers. If I feel this way as a pragmatic, just-left-of-true-center Democratic voter, I can't imagine how y'all liberal Democrats feel.
Though maybe you're feeling better after Obama's Gen44 speech on Thursday night.