Streams

Opinion: Obama Throws SOPA and Keystone Red Meat to Liberals

Thursday, January 19, 2012 - 09:45 AM

President Obama speaks during a news conference in the East Room of the White House. (Alex Wong/Getty)

Maybe you've met President Barack Obama.  He's the guy who is going to be our next president.

After years of disappointment and disillusionment on the left, reactionary resentment on the right, and sinking approval ratings all around, the president has turned a corner.  It helps that the economy ticked up in the last jobs report.  It helps that his rivals are a pack of vultures -- vulture capitalists and otherwise -- who seem to think that the best way to deny Obama a good meal is by picking the meat off their own candidate carrion first. 

The big change is that president learned his own position grew stronger as he stood firm, instead of constantly shifting to find the elusive middle-ground with an intractable Congressional Republican Caucus.  It's not just sticking it to the Tea Party (though I love it when he does); it's sticking to something.  Showing conviction - left, right or center - is serving him well.

Sometimes that infuriates the left, as when he signed the unconstitutional NDAA which allows for the indefinite detention of American citizens.  Through the looking glass, both Ron Paul and Rick Santorum have this one right; while Romney, Gingrich and Obama are in the cadre of the wrong.  However, it further snatched the security issue away from his would-be rivals while showing his willingness to stand against the fury of his own base.

Yesterday, he turned the tables by x-ing the XL Keystone Pipeline.  While pipeline proponents argues this would create American jobs and free us of Middle East oil (you can't claim independence from "foreign oil" since Canada is still a separate country), they have been unapologetic about the environmental devastation it would cause. 

Liberals have fixated on this issue since environmental leader Bill McKibben said that building this pipeline would mean: "Essentially, it's game over for the planet."  Led by CREDO, 350.org and others, protests outside the White House led to a historic level of civil disobedience arrests.  Buoyed by bi-partisan objections (the Republican governor of Nebraska is a vocal critic), the Obama Administration postponed a decision.  Forced by the House GOP, in an act of Congressional game-playing, to rush a decision, the President gave us one: "No."

It's rare for environmentalists to cheer loudly for this president, who overturned his own EPA measures to reduce the impact of climate change.  Liberals have been engaging in increasingly noisy, but still fantastical, scuttlebutt of Secretary Clinton swapping onto the ticket to ensure Obama's popularity with true-blue Dems.  Then a move like this shows loyal Democrats that President is still hanging at the party.

Add to it the administration's carefully-worded objections to SOPA and PIPA, siding him with the liberal netroots - and tech-industry supporters - on the issue of free speech…and you see a president who has decided to re-excite those whose enthusiasm carried him to victory four years ago.

If he continues in this vein, he'll have one more advantage over the Republicans, whose voters are circling unenthusiastically rally around their team of rivals.  Ensuring some spark among those who support him most is a smart move for the president - and a fire he'll stoke in next week's State of the Union.

At the same time, just showing conviction makes him stand out from his likely Republican rival who will need to do a few more back-flips to the center after his pandering in South Carolina.

And in the end, the president - win or lose - knows he took a right stand on the environment.  On energy bills, cap-and-trade, the carbon tax, Congress has stood in the way, and the president has failed to lead.  By taking action in an area controlled by executive power, the President is showing he will act where he can, and that he's learning how to wield power in Washington.  A little late in the game, but at least not "game over."

Tags:

More in:

Comments [7]

listener

"After years of disappointment and disillusionment on the left..... the president has turned a corner"
...just in time for an election year. What a coincidence.

What is to stop him from turning a corner again the day after the election with a "carefully-worded" reversal since his track record is mostly "disappointment and disillusionment". Will four more years be any different?
The "fool me once, shame on you...." rule doesn't seem to have sunk in with Obama supporters who remain love sick and continue holding the torch for "The One" that got away.

Selfish short term humoring of environmentalists will have long tern economic consequences for the nation.
If a pipeline producing fuel which everyone will use was a high speed rail line that nobody will use, it would have already had billions in Federal funds wasted on it.
The prediction of "essentially, it's game over for the planet" will apply more to a 25 trillion dollar debt by 2016 with China as the new economic superpower as the USA embarks on a slow decline.
Game over indeed.

Jan. 21 2012 10:45 AM
Jim Mason from Virginia

Isn't amazing how American citizens feel so comfortable claiming to the world that a communist system, economy, government and lifestyle are preferred over a free republic and capitalist economy.

What these characters want is to take all that they can. They believe the USA is evil and they suffer from class envy. It's just an infatuation because they are unaware of or unwilling to recognize the true evil inherit in a socialist and communist system.

HOw any of these publications can to devote time to these anarchists is not logical.

Jan. 20 2012 03:06 PM
rebekkah from uk

it think sopa is a bad idea its self really damging the econmay to start of also , damging the freedom of speech itself and thats breaking a human right ! as you can see people who wrok for the internet will not stand for this . Also mr Obama is a good man yes hes made a few mistake but look at what he has achived. Now on to sopa its self really sensoring everything what a stupid idea really whos idea was it ?! , you could think about dealing with muderes thugs and thives or your failing eaconmy ! really ok i have voice my idea thank you !!! (rant over for now )

Jan. 20 2012 08:18 AM
monster

seriously, this is getting riduculous. were british but all of this sopa trash will ruin both or our economies. why does obama'a view not matter at all on this. we suffered from not being able to get on wikipedia all day. it will affect us too. so why dont they just stop this trash, and let us get back to our daily lives. then they could go and deal with more inportant things.

Jan. 20 2012 08:14 AM
Kalika

I may be British but Obama is a lot better than our Prime Minister David Cameron!

Jan. 20 2012 08:09 AM
Joey the Bull from Liberal San Francisco

Really? Our next president? I hope not. Of course sheeple like you will gladly give up your rights, your money and your freedom as you drink and spew the cool-aide of the D party. As for the pipeline, once again-the idiots prevail. The jobs, the energy and the gas prices all suffer-and those of you who pleasure yourselves to Michael Moore movies will forever be considered the uninformed, uneducated and unwanted who ruined America. It would be great if we could move all the lefties to Canada. Do you even know the facts and how safe the pipeline would be? How many environmental disasters have resulted from the Alaska pipeline? In the mean time while the left ensures the destruction of America, countries like China and Russia will eat-our-lunch in more ways than you can imagine. Sad sad day that you applaud and support the actions of the treasonous one.

Jan. 19 2012 01:29 PM
Jack Jackson from Central New Jersey

I hope your analysis is correct and that President Obama has tacked out a position from which he can successfully govern. Like any person at the top of a complex and complicated field, Mr. Obama and his advisors (Rahm Emanuel) undersized the degree of voter dissatisfaction and the size of the mandate they had been given. They knew that the level of dissatisfaction with the GOP was an outlier - and their path to re-election was to court the middle.

When he was elected, the left wanted :
-Prosecutions for the predatory lending that added to the housing bubble
-Accountability for the misrepresentations that led us to war in Iraq
-Accountability for the leadership permmitted Abu Ghraib
-A public option for collected health care premiums

The Right wanted him out of office.

The Middle just wanted to find a better job.

The more Obama is resolute and stands firm, the more voters will come to him.

Jan. 19 2012 11:10 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.

Sponsored

About It's A Free Blog

Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of a blog, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.

Supported by

WNYC is supported by the Charles H. Revson Foundation: Because a great city needs an informed and engaged public.  Learn more at revsonfoundation.org.

Authors

Feeds

Supported by