I keep hearing progressives complain because they say Barack Obama is not liberal enough. For example, they say he gave up on single-payer health insurance too easily (I guess he should have wasted all his political capital on single payer like the Clintons did). Or that he should have closed Guantanamo immediately. Or pushed other progressive causes harder.
All I can say is get over it. A new Gallup Poll shows that a slim majority of Americans say that Obama is “too liberal”. In fact, far more Americans think that Obama is too liberal (51%) than think Mitt Romney (33%) or even Rick Santorum (38%) is “too conservative”. Seriously, Santorum wants to outlaw birth control even for married couples and compares gay sex to bestiality and pedophilia, but more Americans think his political views are “about right” (37%) than think the same about Obama’s views (35%).
The fact is, Americans are twice as likely to self-identify as conservative than as liberal. Since Obama was elected, more Americans identify as conservatives than as moderates. And the conservative base is stronger — 20% of Republicans call themselves “very conservative”, while only 10% of Democrats say they are “very liberal”.
One only has to look at the results of the 2010 mid-term election to see that this is true.
Am I upset that we didn’t get single-payer health insurance, or that the Patriot Act got renewed, or that recreational drugs like marijuana are still illegal? You bet I am.
If we want those things to become reality, we can’t just self-righteously blame Obama. We have to fight for those causes. We have to work hard (like conservatives groups have done) to change the opinions of Americans on these issues. Otherwise, we will face more conservative backlashes (like we recently got with birth control).