Ari Berman has a great editorial in this Sunday’s New York Times:
Boot the Blue Dogs
By ARI BERMAN
Published: October 23, 2010
IN 2008, Barack Obama’s presidential campaign seemed to rewrite all the rules in electoral politics and herald a new progressive era in America. Democrats assembled a huge Congressional majority and, in the euphoria that followed the historic election, were poised to enact sweeping change. However, despite some notable successes the stimulus package, health care reform, tighter rules for the financial industry things have not gone according to plan. Just two years later, Democrats face a bad economy, a skeptical public, a re-energized Republican Party and a coming avalanche of losses in the midterm elections.
What happened? One important explanation is that divisions inside the Democratic coalition, which held together during the 2008 campaign, have come spilling out into the open. Conservative Democrats have opposed key elements of the president’s agenda, while liberal Democrats have howled that their majority is being hijacked by a rogue group of predominantly white men from small rural states. President Obama himself appears caught in the middle, unable to satisfy the many factions inside his party’s big tent.