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Daily Deadline: Why Obama Disappoints Liberals

[with contributions from Matt O’Brien and Darius Tahir]

Liberals are disappointed in President Obama. Oh, they’ll vote for him, if only to keep his eventual Republican opponent out of office. They just won’t be very excited about it. But is that more Obama’s fault? Or theirs? Old friend Jonathan Chait thinks it’s the latter.

Writing at New York magazine, Jon relies heavily on history. Liberals are always disappointed with Democratic presidents, he notes. In fact, going through Democrats of the 20th Century, only FDR himself seems to have pleased his left-wing base. And even FDR had some trouble.

This is a big topic, worth its own post at some later date. But I think Jon makes a pretty persuasive case. Like Jon, I don’t always agree with Obama’s strategic decisions and I don’t always share his governing values. (John Broder’s recent article in the New York Times, on the administration’s decision to abandon new regulations on ozone, was pretty disheartening).  

Even so, Obama has accomplished as much as any president in my lifetime, despite absurdly high political obstacles. And I’m not simply referring to health care reform, although you’d think realizing a goal that has eluded Democrats for so many decades would earn Obama a little more respect on the left.

Like I said, this is a large topic – one I’ll address at greater length in the future. For now, just read Jon’s article if you haven't already. It’s worth the time.

Programming note: I’ve been under the weather, which is why the Daily Deadline has become, uh, sort of weekly. I’m hoping to make it daily again after Thanksgiving. 


Adjust your bookmarks: Matt Yglesias has a new home at Slate. There you will find, among other items, a smart post on the Congressional Budget Office and why, by necessity, CBO must make so many people angry.

Today’s Euroscare: How much would a Eurozone crackup hurt the US? Per the latest stress tests, Ben Bernanke thinks it could mean 13 percent unemployment here. Yikes.
Via the Financial Times.

Playing Romney’s game: You may have heard about the new Romney campaign ad, which takes an Obama quote grossly out of context. Rather than complain about it, Judd Legum and Jeff Spross of ThinkProgress decided to have some fun with it. 

Department of Counterintuitive Solutions: Conor Friedersdorf has a novel idea for reducing graft in campaign finance: Secret money. Basically, he’d prohibit candidates from knowing the identity of their donors. If candidates don’t know who their donors are, they’ll have a harder time rewarding them with political favors.

Back when I was a kid…: Old-timers talk about the “lost art” of this and that—the lost art of the midrange jump shot, for example. But have you heard them talk about the “lost art of the pickpocket”?

Now that’s soaking the rich. Paul Krugman sends us to a paper by Peter Diamond and Emmanuel Saez that suggests the optimal tax rate on the highest incomes ould be around 70 percent. 

Expensive Perk: Zak Stone of GOOD magazine declares the era of cheap coffee over.  

Reader comment of the day: From “amayi,” responding to my item on the need for policy makers to focus on the affordability and quality of child care:

Why is this so challenging for politicians to talk about? Is it that we like to pretend it's still the 1950s and that most women can or still do stay home? What keeps us from [tackling] the environment where most little kids spend most of their waking hours seriously?

Video of the Day: For Obama and his disappointed liberal friends, it's Green Day.