There was always a bit of hoping against hope on my part that Democrats would pull off the impossible and retain the United States Senate. After all, there has been an abundance of tangible wins to light upon when thinking of what has been called the “Age of Obama”: despite the sickening intransigence of the Right, this country now has an unemployment rate of under six percent for the first time in over six years. Oil prices have fallen dramatically of late, now sitting under $80 per barrel, which has translated into gas prices sitting well below three dollars a gallon.
After a slow, buggy start, the Affordable Care Act is finally doing the work of saving millions of Americans money in health insurance. In terms of environmental policy, this President has been the guarantor of the legacy of Theodore Roosevelt, as New York’s Jonathan Chait wrote:
The second way to measure Obama’s climate-change record is: What has he done? He has done quite a bit, probably far more than you think, and not all of it advertised as climate legislation, or advertised as much of anything at all. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was many things—primarily, a desperate bid to shove money into enough Americans’ pockets to prevent another Great Depression—but one of them was a major piece of environmental reform. The law contained upwards of $90 billion in subsidies for green energy, which had a catalyzing effect on burgeoning industries. American wind-power generation has doubled, and solar power has increased more than six times over. As Time magazine’s Michael Grunwald detailed in his book The New New Deal, the new law suddenly transformed the Department of Energy, previously a sclerotic backwater charged mainly with overseeing the nuclear-weapons cache, into a massive new engine of cutting-edge environmental science.
With this record, one would argue the country should be proud to stand side-by-side with the very effective Executive Barack Obama has been thus far. Voters would finally see this Nation, dragged for years through the failings of George W. Bush’s presidency, as having turned a corner, and that great things were about to happen, so long as the successful political party were allowed to stay in power.
But alas, that did not happen.
And how could it? It can’t be by accident that U.S. News and World Report reported decreases in voter turnout in all but twelve states, or that only thirteen percent of voters were under the age of 30. For all the talk of the Right suppressing voter turnout with draconian voter ID laws, what did one think was going to happen when the Left did plenty of its own voter suppression by turning on a President that was not absolutely adherent to everything on their own esoteric policy “wishlists”? Did no one remember the lessons of “progressives” like Markos Moulitsas and others who told liberals to stay home back in 2010?
Of course not.
Because we as liberals love to repeat our own mistakes.
Let’s just be real with ourselves. Since Barack Obama’s name was spoken into the realm of possibility to be our 44th Executive, all this base has wished for was this President to be a “Magic Negro” that would fix everything, without them ever lifting a finger. From the Black “Progressives” who wanted Obama to be Stokely Carmichael in matters of race, to the Occupy crowd that has all but demanded every investment banker’s head on a pike to parade up the Canyon of Heroes, this base saw what only what they wanted to see, and turned on this President when he governed as the very skilled, pragmatic centrist he is.
At bottom, there is nothing that would please a base completely ignorant of civics and the inner workings of politics, then caterwaul incessantly about Barack Obama not living up to their individual ideals. Nothing will ever be enough a base made up of disruption-addicted college professors and pundits out for self-confirming “Conversations” on Melissa Harris-Perry that gloat about staying home as the harder work of building a Legislative branch capable of the change they want to see goes undone year after year.
No, as Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) demonstrated Election Night, it would seem they would rather Obama go it completely alone, or else we all become Republicans.
We have lost our way.
And in so doing, the Right could not have asked for a better friend to advance their agenda than liberal purism.
So yes, fellow liberals, let’s keep neglecting our duties at the ballot box for the sake of ideological purity. Because it’ll be a lot of fun consistently electing Democratic presidents that can’t get anything done with a conservative lawmaking body.