Obama’s liberal base ‘disengaged’ – USAToday (3/10/10):
“The energized base which transformed the nation and elected our first black president (is) now disengaged,” Democratic political strategist Donna Brazile says. “If this was September, I would hit the panic button.”
Still, signs of trouble for the Democratic majority in Congress are springing up in:
Virginia, where a host of liberal groups are rallying supporters and students to protest the upcoming University of Virginia appearance of former Bush administration top Justice Department official John Yoo.
Yoo, who wrote the legal memos authorizing the use of controversial interrogation techniques against terror suspects, is scheduled to speak at the school in Charlottesville on March 19. He will be greeted by protesters, from groups such as Veterans for Peace and the National Accountability Network, who are angry that the Obama administration has declined to prosecute him for the so-called “torture memos.”
Organizer David Swanson calls the administration’s positions on protecting state secrets and war crimes “a disaster.”
The American Civil Liberties Union concurs. The group recently warned the White House not to reverse its decision to try terror suspects in civilian courts.
If Obama has suspects tried before military commissions “he will betray his campaign promise to restore the rule of law, demonstrate that his principles are up for grabs and lose all credibility with Americans who care about justice and the rule of law,” ACLU Director Anthony Romero says.
• Georgia and South Carolina, where the environmental group Friends of the Earth (FOE) this month ran TV ads denouncing the Obama administration’s decision to approve $55 billion in private industry loan guarantees for what would be the first nuclear reactors built in the United States in three decades.
The group also was alarmed when Obama talked in his State of the Union Address about investing in “clean coal” and opening new offshore oil drilling, spokesman Nick Berning says.
FOE’s political arm endorsed candidate Obama but “we’ve been disappointed so far with President Obama,” Berning says.
• Arkansas, where liberal groups are backing Lt. Gov. Bill Halter in a primary challenge to two-term incumbent Democratic Sen. Blanche Lincoln, who is backed by Obama.
In three days earlier this month, the liberal group MoveOn.org raised $1 million for Halter, in average donations of $30. He also nabbed the endorsement of the Arkansas AFL-CIO. “This overwhelming response to Bill Halter’s candidacy shows the depth of voters’ anger towards corporate politicians,” MoveOn Director Justin Ruben says.
A chief complaint against Lincoln: She opposed including a government-run health care program, known as the public option, in legislation that passed the Senate in December.
She’s unapologetic. “I don’t answer to my party,” she says in TV ads now airing in the state. “I answer to Arkansas.”