Why is has President Obama has been such a big disappointment for progressives? He inspired us with lofty rhetoric and grandiose promises of hope and change during his 2008 presidential campaign. But when it came time to deliver, the campaign Obama disappeared. Instead, we discovered a president more inclined to move to the center, compromise with Republicans, make nice with opponents who openly despise him, become the great conciliator, and push aside his liberal base. What happened?
Cornel West described President Obama’s weakness quite succinctly:
I’ll put it this way, brother: You’ve got to be a thermostat rather than a thermometer. A thermostat shapes the climate of opinion; a thermometer just reflects it. If you’re just going to reflect it and run by the polls, then you’re not going to be a transformative president. Lincoln was a thermostat. Johnson and F.D.R., too.