The tone of President Obama's campaign has increasingly come to resemble what gets yelled through a bullhorn at Occupy Wall Street. Yet his record has many veteran Left-wingers actively disenchanted and potentially even thinking about defecting to an alternative candidate. In what may be the first Domino to fall among the President's base, Leftist academic Cornell West, in an appearance on the news program "Democracy Now," told host Amy Goodman:
Well, I think, on the one hand, large numbers of black people rightly want to protect President Obama against the vicious right-wing attacks, the Fox News-like attacks, the lies about him being socialist, Muslim and so forth. On the other hand, the suffering intensifies. It’s very clear that President Obama caves in over and over and over again. He punts on first down. If you’re in a foxhole with him, you’re in trouble, because he wants to compromise, you want to fight. He doesn’t have the kind of backbone he ought to have. So black folk find themselves in a dilemma: how do we protect him against the right-wing attacks and at the same time keep him accountable, especially when it comes to poor and working people?
Unfortunately, Tim Geithner and his economic team have nothing to do with the legacy of Martin King, have indifference toward poor and working people. He listens to them, hence he’s rightly associated much more with the oligarchs than with poor people. We hope he changes his mind. We hope he gets a progressive economic team, even though, as you know, many of us are exploring other kinds of possibilities in the coming election, given his lukewarmness.
Also on the show was far Left talk show host Tavis Smiley, who had similarly disenchanted remarks about the President:
But to your question, I don’t think the President would be hurt, necessarily—the country certainly would not be hurt—by a primary challenge that would refocus him on what really matters. It would refocus him on what’s happening to too many people in this country. It would refocus him on a more progressive agenda. But having said that, I think if the race were held today, the President still wins. You can’t beat somebody with nobody, and I don’t see who the somebody is that can beat the President. So, Doc and I have had many debates, and I’m sure we’re going to get right back at this debate once we get on the bus again and take off to the next city in just a few minutes on the Poverty Tour.
You can watch both mens' appearances on Democracy Now below:
Many conservatives would react with absolute glee if Obama were to face a primary challenge, despite Smiley's blase response to the idea. After all, the last Democratic President to face a serious primary challenge within his own party was none other than Jimmy Carter.
Arguably more worrisome than Smiley or West, however, is the lukewarm response of filmmaker Michael Moore, who says Obama is making the debate over free trade "difficult," and also says he is "quite disappointed" with Obama:
Given these responses, it might be getting to the point where the question becomes - if Obama can't count on his own back yard, who CAN he count on?