WASHINGTON -- One of the thorniest progressive groups in the side of the Obama administration is launching a new campaign against the president on Tuesday, this time targeting the president’s vaunted grassroots donor base.
One day before President Obama is slated to outline his blueprint for deficit reduction, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC) put out a preemptive warning shot, of sorts. In an email to its list, the group asks members to withhold money from the Obama re-election campaign should the president endorse cuts to Medicare and Medicaid.
The pledge reads as follows:
"President Obama: If you cut Medicare and Medicaid benefits for me, my parents, my grandparents, or families like mine, don't ask for a penny of my money or an hour of my time in 2012. I'm going to focus on electing bold progressive candidates -- not Democrats who help Republicans make harmful cuts." Click here to sign.
Many people still want to believe in President Obama. But the White House needs to understand that their actions now will have real consequences for 2012. The level of grassroots enthusiasm will be determined by whether the President fights for bold progressive change -- and takes cuts that hurt grandparents, the disabled, and kids firmly off the table.
Progressive angst with the president is hardly unique to the deficit debate. On Tuesday, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) announced that he would oppose the budget deal coordinated by the White House, Senate Democrats and House Republicans, on grounds that the cuts were “Robin Hood in reverse.”
In that respect, the PCCC’s latest campaign fits its institutional niche -- the group has done wonders raising funds, building its email list, and raising its profile off demands that Obama be a more principled Democrat. What stands out about this effort is the targeting of small donors, whose money remains (despite all the high-profile fundraising events) mother’s milk for the Obama campaign.
UPDATE: A Democratic source sends over the following poll data showing that, despite PCCC campaigns and boycotts in the past, the president's standing with progressives remains quite strong. From the most recent Daily Kos/SEIU/PPP poll (March 31-April 3, 2011):
- 86% of Liberals Have a Favorable Opinion of Pres. Obama
- 80% of Liberals Approve of Pres. Obama’s Job Performance
- When Asked Whether Pres. Obama Is Too Liberal, Too Conservative or About Right, 67% of Liberals Said “About Right”
- The most recent CNN/Opinion Research poll (April 9-10, 2011) has this:
- 78% of Liberals Approve of Pres. Obama’s Job Performance