'Progressives' Use Talk Radio, Blogs To Express Obama Concerns
Beginning To Feel Burned By Obama, Lefties Fight Back
Feeling burned both by the incoming president's cabinet choices and his selection of Pastor Rick Warren to deliver the inaugural invocation, angry Barack Obama supporters are beginning to fight back.
Using talk radio and the blogosphere, a group of disaffected Barack-backers affiliated with The Phoenix, a chain of politically "progressive" alternative newsweeklies based in Boston, Providence and Portland have created Take Back Barack, a site critical of his moves.
Considering how vehemently these publications supported the former Illinois senator, this represents an abrupt turn of events coming rather soon after November's election.
Already, Take Back Barack's contributors have done radio interviews, including a scheduled appearance on the syndicated Phil Hendrie Show early Saturday morning.
In addition to the Warren flap, the site has outlined particular grievances with Obama over his cabinet picks:
--Dem Hilda Solis for SecLabor. She's a strong pro-labor person, who is being touted as pro-union, though her remarks upon her appointment had almost nothing to say about unions. Sure, she said she would "work to strengthen" them, but the examples she gave - and her major policy accomplishment in California of increasing the minimum wage - were very much non-union in nature. (That is, while they help union workers, they advance the interests of non-union workers at the same time.)
--GOPer Ray LaHood for SecTransportation. He's an anti-abortion guy - though that's perhaps less important in a transportation official than one in, say, public health. His record on oil and transportation are mixed. He supported the auto bailout last week, and voted to end the moratorium on offshore drilling. But he also voted to make OPEC illegal, and opposed oil and gas subsidies for exploration.
--Dem Karen Mills (a Mainer!) to head the Small Business Administration. She's been touted as "a venture-capital expert," though what her firm does is anything but clear. Also uncertain is how she'll be able to handle the SBA's chief task - loaning money to businesses, and offering loan guarantees, in this credit market. And what she'll do to help the millions of Americans who run "microbusinesses" remains to be seen. (Disclosure: I'm an NASE member.)
--Dem Ron Kirk as US trade representative. Another Clintonite and former DC lobbyist, Kirk is a Southerner (of sorts - he's from Texas) who has supported NAFTA but opposed the "Fast Track" system. How much clout he will wield appears to be in question - a previous candidate for the job declined it because he feared trade would be too low a priority for Obama. (Interestingly, Kirk was a finalist to be SecTrans, so maybe this is a second-choice situation for him, too.)
And here, they complain that some conservatives have taunted them with "I told you so" messages.
Meanwhile, talk titan Rush Limbaugh believes the left has little to worry about going forward. As he explained the Warren controversy, that was outlined on Thursday's show:
RUSH: So, Rick Warren is going to do the prayer at The Messiah's inauguration, and of course gay groups are livid, I mean they're climbing the walls because Rick Warren was for Prop 8, he's opposed to gay marriage. Gay groups feel totally let down by Barack Obama. Again, I want to caution all of you extreme leftist groups like militant leftist gays and all of you that are worried about Obama's cabinet, like Bob Gates over at the Pentagon is going to stay on, Ray LaHood, a Republican from Illinois, has been named transportation secretary. You guys just calm down.
This is a brilliant political stroke by Obama. He knows that he embarrassed himself profoundly on the pro-life question with Rick Warren. This is an attempt by Obama, just as Clinton did it, to make it look like he is not what he is. He is not the radical extremist that we know he is.
This is all just public relations right now. This is all just for show. You leftists are going to be happier than you know. It's like the education secretary, this Arne Duncan, the guy that ran the Chicago schools. I said yesterday, he's a figurehead. Everybody that has the guts to understand this knows full well that William Ayers is going to be discussing education policy with Barack Obama, and Arne Duncan is up there as a figurehead.
There's a story out today that basically says that Arne Duncan has even got ties to the Annenberg Challenge, which is where Obama and William Ayers did their education work. You're going to get what you want. You're going to get a massive stimulus package; you're going to get massive growth of government. Would you just stop complaining. It is unbecoming of you leftists to be so panicked here. Just pay attention to the substance and forget the PR. You're going to be cool.
After infiltrating an Ayers speech in November, your Radio Equalizer couldn't agree more. The very nature of the event, held in DC, struck yours truly as odd: it was set up to introduce Obama's supporters to the radical terrorist's early childhood education philosophies. If he isn't expected to have a role in shaping Barack's policies, then what was the point?
Nonetheless, considering that he has yet to take office, it's surprisingly early for Obama supporters to be having second thoughts. But given the vague nature of his campaign, disappointment was inevitable.
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