President Barack Obama’s lecture to his supporters to snap out of their lethargy is getting a frosty reception from some on the left side of the Democratic coalition.
In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, Obama made a point to argue — “with intensity and passion, repeatedly stabbing the air with his finger” according to the magazine — that his followers in 2008 must not stay home this year.
“It is inexcusable for any Democrat or progressive right now to stand on the sidelines in this midterm election,” Obama said.
Whatever complaints they might have about climate change or other issues, Obama said, it is “just irresponsible” that some Democrats and progressives were lacking enthusiasm for the election.
“If people now want to take their ball and go home that tells me folks weren’t serious in the first place,” he said. “If you’re serious, now’s exactly the time that people have to step up.”
“I think it is a remarkably condescending message,” said Darcy Burner, the executive director of ProgressCongress.org and the Progressive Congress Action Fund.
Progressives, she said, continue to be deeply involved in policy and in politics and are not at all lethargic or disengaged.
“The fact that they are frustrated and discouraged has as much to do with the rhetoric coming out of the White House as anything else,” she said. “And this is the latest example of that.”
Of course, Obama is one of many Democrats chiding voters for their perceived apathy. Vice President Joe Biden recently told liberals “to stop whining and get out there and look at the alternatives. This president has done an incredible job. He’s kept his promises.”
Sen. John Kerry didn’t stop at the Democrats’ base, saying, “We have an electorate that doesn’t always pay that much attention to what’s going on so people are influenced by a simple slogan rather than the facts or the truth or what’s happening.”
A simple slogan, huh? Like maybe “Hope” or “Change”?