Raymond from Brooklyn voiced a sentiment found in most of the comments: “Obama has betrayed his core constituencies. He should be challenged by a real Democrat in ’12 primaries.”
Some FiveThirtyEight readers, like Harmiclir in New York, N.Y., felt that the tax-cut deal is the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back:
The tax-bill compromise is the latest, and most egregious, in a long line of positions that Obama has taken as president that have surprised many of his earliest and most ardent supporters: continuing Bush-era violations of civil liberties, a ramped up war in Afghanistan where the departure of troops may, if this country is very lucky, start in 2014, stumbling into a health care law while actively taking on the center-left as if it were his enemy, doing nothing significant to repeal “don’t ask, don’t tell” discrimination …and doing none of it with apparent political skill.
Many readers agreed that while liberal dissatisfaction with Mr. Obama may not translate into a willingness to vote against him, diminished enthusiasm for the president could hurt Mr. Obama and his fellow Democrats in other ways. Paul Stamler in St. Louis put this argument succinctly:
Liberals don’t have to vote against Obama for him to lose the election. All they (we) have to do is not show up to ring doorbells, hand out fliers, staff phone banks and drive people to the polls. That could mean a significant setback to Obama’s ground game, as the on-the-fence, reluctant and uninterested voters don’t make it in to vote, and it could be enough to defeat him.
After the anti-Obama anger poured in for awhile, some readers stepped forward to make the argument against casting Mr. Obama overboard. Joseph Telegen from Chapel Hill, N.C., said:
The above comments make me wonder if many of my fellow progressives are much different than the Tea Party when it comes to the obsessive quest for ideological purity. The tax-cut extension was about politics and political reality.
Do you honestly believe that a President McCain would have gotten an even imperfect health care bill that will eventually add 30 million Americans to the ranks of the insured and ended the most egregious insurance actions?
Doclouise also found fault with readers, exasperated with the president, who said that they would either not vote, or vote for a third party candidate in 2012. “You remind me of the people who voted for Ralph Nader because there supposedly was no real difference between Bush and Gore,” Doclouise wrote.
The majority of comments, however, were from disillusioned Obama supporters, and if the FiveThirtyEight comment section is any guide, relations between the president and his base are severely frayed.