So. In response to a Politico piece in which the authors and White House whine about the left wing blogosphere not being happy with all of Obama's "wins" and not caring about potential losses in 2010, Kevin Drum writes:
Here's the good news: this record of progressive accomplishment officially makes Obama the most successful domestic Democratic president of the last 40 years. And here's the bad news: this shoddy collection of centrist, watered down, corporatist sellout legislation was all it took to make Obama the most successful domestic Democratic president of the last 40 years. Take your pick.
Here's the thing. What matters is whether policy works. It does not matter if what Obama did was more left wing than anything that's been done in a while (though in absolute terms I would argue it mostly wasn't left wing, the health care plan, for example, was essentially a Republican plan from the 90s), what matters is if it was left wing enough (big enough stimulus, smart enough health care plan) to improve people's lives enough that they noticed.
It wasn't, and that's all that matters. Policies such as the stimulus were not done well enough, and everyone from Nobel prize winners with good predictive records like Stiglitz and and Krugman, down to nobodies like me, predicted it at the time. The President hired the wrong people to give him advice, didn't even do as much as many of them wanted, and now we all pay the price.
Sometimes half doesn't work. Half-assed rarely does. All Obama's half assed "left wing" policies have done is discredit the left for another generation. Combined with the ability of the media, Republicans and hysterical Tea Baggers unable to use a dictionary to define him as a "socialist" this means that Obama's policies are seen as left wing, and left wing policies are seen to have failed.
I don't want Obama doing anything I agree with, because he will screw it up and discredit it. In this respect he is like Bush. He is poison because he is incompetent at policy.
As for the original Politico post, the hysterical ranting at the peanut gallery the authors clearly don't even read, says more about them and the White House than it does about the left wing blogosphere they try to blame for Democrats own failures.