Regardless of whether President Barack Obama and Republicans are able to knit together a debt deal, the president will need to have plenty of yarn left over to patch up the rupture within his own party.
Obama’s moves to the right in the negotiations have rent the liberal garment of the Democratic Party, according to The New York Times
Republicans have changed the terms of the debate over the size and role of the federal government, and the president has adopted many of those terms in a quest to appeal to independent voters, the Times reports.
“That has some progressive members of Congress and liberal groups arguing that by not fighting for more stimulus spending, Mr. Obama could be left with an economy still producing so few jobs by Election Day that his re-election could be threatened,” according to the Times. “Besides turning off independents, Mr. Obama risks alienating Democratic voters already disappointed by his escalation of the war in Afghanistan and his failure to close the Guantánamo Bay prison, end the Bush-era tax cuts and enact a government-run health insurance system.”
Liberals will continue to support the president, some analysts say.
“The activist liberal base will support Obama because they’re terrified of the right wing,” Robert L. Borosage, co-director of the liberal group Campaign for America’s Future, told the Times.
But Borosage added, “I believe that the voting base of the Democratic Party — young people, single women, African-Americans, Latinos — are going to be so discouraged by this economy and so dismayed unless the president starts to champion a jobs program and take on the Republican Congress that the ability of labor to turn out its vote, the ability of activists to mobilize that vote, is going to be dramatically reduced.”
Union voices echo the sentiment.
“The president’s proposing cuts to Social Security and Medicare has the potential to sap the energy of the Democratic base — among older voters because of Medicare and Medicaid and younger voters because of the lack of jobs,” Damon A. Silvers, policy director of the AFL-CIO, told the Times. “And second, all these fiscal austerity proposals on the table will make the economy worse.”
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