Friday, June 24, 2011

Professional Left and Right Meet (with their own): "Revving up the bases"

The Economist (UK):
Auditions down south and tactical debates up north, as activists on both sides plot a course for the coming election---A DEMOCRAT sits in the Oval Office, preparing to run for re-election. Barack Obama is a formidable campaigner and fund-raiser. In 2008 his campaign raised a record $745m; this time his haul may exceed $1 billion. Gearing up to oppose him are a squabbling bunch of Republicans, united in relative obscurity save for the front-runner, Mitt Romney. By rights the left-leaning Netroots Nation gathering should have been jubilant, and the Republican Leadership Conference (RLC) doleful and panicky.

But that would overlook the left’s capacity to rain on its own parade. Despite the big Democratic reforms of the past few years, the left—or at least the roughly 2,400 lefty bloggers who attended Netroots Nation—often sees the Obama administration as hesitant and incrementalist. Joan McCarter, who moderated a panel called “What to Do When the President is Just Not That Into You” (the title comes from a popular romance/self-help book), said that Mr Obama has been “not necessarily as progressive as we hoped he would be”.

But progressives may also have been more docile than Mr Obama had reason to expect, and a running question at the conference was whether activists should defend or put pressure on the president. Recommending pressure was Dan Choi, a former army linguist who was discharged in 2010 after coming out as gay. He had become the country’s most prominent advocate for a repeal of the military “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, and that same year was arrested after handcuffing himself to the White House fence. “We were drama queens, and we were damn proud of it, and our message was, ‘We’re going to get crazier’,” Mr Choi explained. The policy was repealed some months later, although the repeal has not yet been implemented. MORE...
Howie P.S.: Matt Duss says he is the blogger "thinking about waffles" in the photo above. Additional research suggests he is the one in the middle.

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