I missed the president’s press conference yesterday wherein he showed his frustration with the left for their lack of appreciation for all he’s done for them, and I missed the live broadcast of Keith Olbermann’s Special Comment wherein he answered back.
I’m not dismissing the anger that a number of people on the left are feeling over the compromise the president got for the tax cuts; they feel as if they’re the ones who got him elected in the first place, and this is the thanks they get? A tax deal that preserves the Bush tax cuts and snarkery from the president? Gee, thanks a bushel, Mr. President.
It’s pretty clear what’s going on here: triangulation. He is showing that he’s independent from the left and can challenge the right, leaving him to say that he is the only one who is working to get things done. It worked for Bill Clinton. But he also runs the risk of being the only one on his side when it comes to getting things done because he’s not made any new allies; certainly the Republicans and the right wing aren’t going to come to his aid; they will still hate him no matter what. And doing his share of hippie-punching won’t endear him to the righties, either. (Stephen Colbert covers that angle.)
In a way this round has done one thing that might work for Mr. Obama. Now that he’s pissed off his base and never had the right to begin with, he can go ahead and do as he wants without worrying about either of them. The only problem with that is that it may be hard for him to find a lot of people who are left to work with.
No one said this would be easy.