THE BLOG
11/03/2010 02:59 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Why the Election Turned Out as it Did

Where did President Obama go wrong?

A new poll shows people want MORE change from the president. These people are right. The president ran a very strong, pro-change campaign. Immediately upon taking office he (and he has now admitted this) began making deals. Bad deals. He began from positions of compromise and then compromised further from there -- like never advancing single payer as an opening position and then "backing down" to a strong public option. He compromised with drug companies; hospital associations and other corporate powers, in the health care debate. He sold out the public option, and then denied doing so; then had Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid do a bizarre charade at the end in order to NOT have the public option. He caved into ConservaDems like Ben Nelson and Blanche Lincoln and only was tough on his base -- the REAL Democrats who got him elected.

Why do the progressive Democrats always have to cave to the ConservaDems?

The House passed bills that the President and all Democrats knew would never pass the Senate -- why force such tough votes (cap and trade, for example) when everyone knew the Senate was the place where legislation went to die?

On financial re-regulation, on the stimulus, the President again compromised. This pattern, of getting half measures while chasing a few "moderate" Republicans, led to a very watered down package of laws. All this from a President who campaigned on "change" but, upon taking office, used the same, old, tired, despised, inside game of political horse trading. This explains the "enthusiasm gap"; the President hurt his own and they punished him (and the political party he heads) by staying home.

What the President should have done was never leave campaign mode. He should have railed against the banks that we bailed out; he should have campaigned to immediately end the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy and raise taxes on them beyond that. He should have demanded bold regulation on the corporate criminals that crashed the economy. He should have demanded an end to the Senate filibuster and the 'one-senator-can-holdup-anything' rule. He should have demanded jobs programs to employ people and the end of corporate tax loopholes to pay for those programs.

He should have introduced a bill per day aimed squarely at corporate tax loopholes and highlighted -- every day if need be -- the outsourcing of jobs and the tax subsidies (corporate welfare) that went into fueling it. He should have made "corporate welfare" an every day phrase in the American lexicon.

Had he run a populist progressive campaign, and demanded "change we can believe in" he would have had huge support from the Democrats (and many independents) and would not have the problems he is having now. Going from a soaring, inspirational campaigner to a dull, ineffective, manager cost him -- and us -- an historic opportunity for real, fundamental change -- an opportunity we will not see again for a long time.

Norm

www.normangoldman.com