Like Truman, in order to win, Obama must take head-on not only the powerful forces of privilege and greed in this country but also Republicans in Congress that are at least as unpopular as Truman's foil.
We've hated presidents. Screamed challenging questions to them. Protested them virulently. But people in positions of responsibility have always treated the President of the United States with respect. Because they understand that the office represents our country before the world.
Obama is still a figure of singular promise in American politics. To fulfill that promise he has to overcome his own cautious, accommodating temperament, and progressives have to believe it is still possible.
President Obama's National Labor Relations Board is on a job-killing rampage. It's claiming unprecedented powers far beyond what federal law allows. These executive actions paint a picture of what has become an imperial presidency.
It is our job as progressives to fight for more, and our job to complain when we didn't get it. That doesn't make us sanctimonious. We are just doing what we are supposed to do. And Mr. President, you of all people should understand that.
One untruth about the President that has had some currency among liberals this summer is that "Obama is out of touch with the middle class." It is not the middle class, but progressives, who Obama is out of step with.
President Obama is today negotiating for his political life. The pundits claim he is "all-in" on the health care bill, and that its defeat would be the practical end to his presidency. So here's a pop-quiz.