Them Whut Brung Him

by digby

Here's a great piece by Micah Sifry about the disconnect between Obama and some members of his base.

The truth is that Obama was never nearly as free of dependence on big money donors as the reporting suggested, nor was his movement as bottom-up or people-centric as his marketing implied. And this is the big story of 2009, if you ask me, the meta-story of what did, and didn't happen, in the first year of Obama's administration. The people who voted for him weren't organized in any kind of new or powerful way, and the special interests--banks, energy companies, health interests, car-makers, the military-industrial complex--sat first at the table and wrote the menu. Myth met reality, and came up wanting.

And even someone as cynical as I was about the race was a little bit surprised at how clumsily the White House has handled the politics. It's felt gratuitous, as if the plan was to repeatedly disappoint the base in order to prove their centrist bonafides. That sort of triangulation may have been necessary at another time, but right now it foolishly has moved the debate to the right when the right was badly discredited. It seems to be a matter of policy preference. And there is probably a price to pay for that.

This is an excellent observation:

Now, there is a new enthusiasm gap, but it's no longer in Obama's favor. That's because you can't order volunteers to do anything--you have to motivate them, and Obama's compromises to almost every powers-that-be are tremendously demotivating.
Maybe that doesn't matter. But I suspect that it's not a great idea when the other side is highly motivated --- a state which anyone who has observed the right for very long could have predicted, Obama's pie-in-the-sky promises to end politics as we know it notwithstanding.

This article is very interesting. The Obama movement always felt like a particular moment in time rather than a long term shift to me. This piece delves into how that's played itself out during this first year.