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More On "The Base" and Obama

Mark Blumenthal's post the other day noting continued strong support for Obama among self-identified "liberal Democrats" attracted a nuanced dissent from OpenLeft's Chris Bowers.

Bowers notes that there's evidence liberal non-Democrats have soured on Obama pretty strongly, and that even among liberal Democrats, levels of support as compared to 2008 voting percentages have dropped more than for any other major voting category.

Blumenthal responds today by arguing that the levels of liberal disaffection from Obama are far too small to constitute a "revolt" by the "base," and also suggests that approval ratings are a misleading barometer when it comes to liberal voters who would never consider pulling the lever for a Republican.

Aside from reporting the substance of this exchange, I would note that its tone represents something of a model for intraprogressive debates. Both Bowers and Blumenthal are respectful of each other's opinion, try to stick to empirical data, and acknowlege this is a continuing subject for legitimate debate, not something on which one side or the other can claim any definitive "win."

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In the 2008 campaign Obama's oratory bespoke a unique common sense in domestic and foreign matters that powered his singular victory. Most of us expected audacious leadership to generate popular momentum able to brush aside the nay-sayers. Since January the president has yielded to the most vacuous groupthink of establishments - Wall Street, Congress, health interests, and the \"Can Do, Sir\" military. His presidency and congressional majorities rest on the Democrats who elected him to have more sense, honesty, intelligence, and courage than those establishments that created or aided the mess America faces. If Obama tosses away that support, he, and the hopes of the voters, are finished. The "base" will never vote for Republicans; we'll just stay home on November 2, 2010.

Having watched LBJ sell the progress of the JFK/LBJ years for the pottage of \"not losing Vietnam to the Communists\", I despair.

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