Disappointed supporters realize there’s little difference between him and Romney
I could say about Mitt Romney, I think he’s a real gentleman. I think he’s been very successful. I think he’s really smart. And I don’t agree with everything that he believes, but I agree with a lot of it. And I think that he’d probably make a good president.” These words, from an interview last month with CNN, came from Ted Turner, the man who founded CNN, married Jane Fonda, pledged a $1-billion gift to UN causes and was one of Barack Obama’s biggest donors in support of his run for president in 2008.
“The Obama administration is a bit exhausted. It’s not all that strong,” stated billionaire financier George Soros in an interview at Davos, in explaining why he didn’t see much difference between an Obama and a Romney presidency. Like Turner, Soros was one of Obama’s earliest and biggest backers. Now he admits to being “a bit disappointed” in the man he worked so hard to help make president.
“I think Romney has shown in the past — in his previous years as a moderate or progressive — that he was fairly competent as a governor and also running the Olympics,” former president Jimmy Carter told MSNBC, in explaining “I would be comfortable” with Romney as president. Carter has publicly criticized Obama for failing to lead.
None of these icons of the Democratic left are enthused with Romney, but neither do they fear where he might take the country, as they would have feared a social conservative such as Rick Santorum. Not fearing Romney, and having lost their passion, if not respect, for Obama, many of these liberals and others are putting their hopes for change elsewhere. Instead of supporting the Obama campaign, for example, Soros plans to spend $100-million building a grass roots “infrastructure” through funding for environmental, abortion rights and civil rights groups, along with community organizing and voter registration that would mobilize Democratic turnout at all levels.
The disenchantment with Obama is understandable. After sweeping to victory four years ago with an immense mandate for change, with a super-majority in Congress that would have trumped any Republican opposition, Obama failed to repeal the Bush tax cuts, failed to close the Guantanamo Bay Detention Center, failed to counter global warming through a cap and trade system, failed to introduce comprehensive immigration reform, failed to support unions through card-check, failed to bar lobbyists from the White House, failed to deliver on virtually all of his hot-button promises to virtually all of the groups that comprise the Democratic base.
Where Obama did keep important promises, such as in last year’s decision to allow gays to serve openly in the military, the kept promise often and inexplicably came only after additional frustrating years of concerted lobbying, and with a taint — that Obama acted out of calculated political opportunism. According to a CBS-New York Times poll taken last month after Obama declared his support of same-sex marriage, 67% stated that Obama acted on this issue “mostly for political reasons,” while only 24% gave him credit for acting out of conviction.
Where some on the left express disappointment at Obama’s failure to live up to his promise, others jarringly go so far as to voice contempt. After the Romney campaign condemned an Obama re-election ad that questioned whether Romney would have killed Osama bin Laden, Huffington Post editor in chief Arianna Huffington said, “I agree with the Romney campaign,” calling the Obama campaign ad “one of the most despicable things you can do.” Feminists also express disgust at the White House’s macho culture. “This place would be in court for a hostile workplace because it actually fit all of the classic legal requirements for a genuinely hostile workplace to women,” stated Anita Dunn, former White House communications director. “I felt like a piece of meat,” said Christina Romer, former head of the Council of Economic Advisers.
In another telling example of Obama’s fall from grace with the radical left, last month’s NATO/G8 demonstrators targeted Obama’s Chicago headquarters to express their displeasure. But most startling of all was the Democratic establishment’s repudiation of Obama’s attack on Romney’s role in Bain Capital, which was, until this repudiation, a dominant aspect of the Obama campaign. “It’s nauseating to the American public,” Cory Booker, Newark’s mayor and a rising Democratic star, said on NBC’s Meet the Press. “Enough is enough. Stop attacking private equity.” When Obama pushed back against Booker, top Democrats backed Booker and Bain, not Obama.
“Bain Capital was a very successful business. They got a good return for their investors. That is what they were supposed to do,” said Senator Mark Warner of Virginia. “The issue isn’t about Bain,” said Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick. “I don’t think we ought to get in a position where we say this is bad work. This is good work,” said former president Bill Clinton, adding that Romney, “a man who’s been governor and had a sterling business career, crosses the qualification threshold” to be president. Steny Hoyer, Diane Feinstein and other prominent Democrats also lined up with Booker and Bain.
Obama has also burned bridges with public-service unions, until this month among his staunchest supporters. Then Obama declined to campaign for his fellow Democrats in a recall election in Wisconsin, even though this was a make-or-break election for unions, out of fear his reputation would suffer if the Democrats lost. Democrats did lose the election, public-sector unions in Wisconsin massively lost members — in the case of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, more than half — and Obama, now seen as a fair-weather friend, lost the respect of unions coast to coast. “AFL-CIO pulling funds from Obama campaign,” stated U.S. News & World Report, in “the latest sign that the largest federation of unions in the country could be becoming increasingly disillusioned with President Obama.” According to a recent Gallup Poll, union support for Obama has dropped 10 points since his 2008 campaign.
That leaves one last leftist community to discuss, one that in some ways counts for more than unions: Jews. As Jews go, so go Obama’s re-election chances, and the signs are that Jews, too, are abandoning Obama.