Obama May Face Left-Wing Primary

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Democrats do not forgive defeat very easily. In the week after his “shellacking” in the midterm elections, Democratic approval of Obama’s performance as president dropped from 88 percent to 81 percent in the Zogby Poll, bringing his overall approval down to 43 percent. When a president starts to shed members of his own party, a vicious cycle has set in which can lead to a primary challenge.

Not from Hillary. At least not yet. She is far too cautious and intertwined with the administration to be the first to move against Obama. Just as Bobby Kennedy needed a Eugene McCarthy to test the waters for a primary challenge to Lyndon Johnson in 1968, so Hillary Clinton will look to others to try out Obama’s vulnerability to a liberal challenge. As with Kennedy, if it works, she’ll probably jump in. If it doesn’t, she’ll stay on as secretary of state.

There are three possible contenders who might enter Democratic primaries against Obama: Russ Feingold, Dennis Kucinich and Jerry Brown.

Feingold, newly defeated for Senate from Wisconsin, has always been the body’s most liberal member. The author, with John McCain, of the campaign finance law, he has been consistent in opposing the wars both in Iraq and Afghanistan and has staked out a liberal position far to Obama’s left. As a former senator, he would bring gravitas to the battle, and as a defeated former senator, he doesn’t have a lot to lose.

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  • Chezwick_Mac

    A Left-wing primary challenge to Obama would be beneficial on two fronts…

    1) It would compel him to move to the Left (even if just rhetorically) in order to outflank his opponent, giving the Republicans even more canon fodder than we already have for the general election. Let's remember that in '08, Obama ran on the Left during the primaries, then recast himself as a moderate once he had secured the nomination. No longer a "complete unknown" (to quote Bob Dylan), it'll be much harder for the Prez to duplicate such a transformation this time around.

    2) A bruising nomination fight will force Obama to squander money and time, weakening his prospects for the general election. In recent history, we've seen two sitting Presidents burdened by tough nomination battles who subsequently lost in the general election (Ford in '76, challenged by Reagan and losing to Carter, and Carter in '80, challenged by Kennedy and losing to Reagan).

    So by all means, let's cheer from the sidelines for a Left-wing, Democratic challenger to Obama in the primaries…all the better to insure he's a one-term President.

  • SHmuelHaLevi

    This, what I am about to report in the truth. Near my home is one of the largest High Schools around. About six years ago I volunteered to work there as a security guard since I hold a weapon license and high level military training and I am retired otherwise..
    I became quite involved on the school's every day activities and one of those really called my curiosity. The School due to the large number of students and staff, had some problems keeping functional service facilities so they elected a "va'ad hasherutim" or Service Facilities Committee. I believe that Mr. Soetoro could easily fit into membership and even be the lead there… And that is about all.

  • tanstaafl

    You mean there IS someone more left than our Dear Leader?

  • Jim C.

    I can't believe my eyes! Someone at FPM actually called Obama what he is: a moderate–not a "radical Leftist." A sign of hope for rationality on the Right.

    Of course, it's Dick Morris, who somehow keeps getting jobs prognosticating on politics even when his "predictions" don't turn out.

  • Wesley69

    Obama is on the hot seat. He has assumed the blame for the Democrat disaster of 2008. He will be fighting the new Republican majority in the House. He will need to compromise on some issues like the reauthorization of the Bush Tax Cuts. His continued war in Afghanistan and continued presence of troops in Iraq will further hurt his standing in his party. He will not get Cap & Trade, the Dream Act, Don't Ask Don’t Tell Repealed or Card Check. Seeing the country's mood, Obama needs to move to the Center, but his party would be to the Left of him, with the Extremists shouting for his replacement in 2012. He will have several challenges, but Hillary will wait. It is either now for her or never. She ain't no spring chicken. If Obama is the nominee, it will be after a bitter battle that will split the Democrat Party. Reelection will be extremely difficult for Obama.