Florida Senator Bill Nelson had this to say on Good Morning America today:
“The president’s instincts are right in the mainstream of America. I think he’s allowed the left wing pull him too much in that direction. But he always comes back into the center.”
This is one of those things that makes me feel like I live not just on a different coast than the Washingtonocracy, but on a different planet. My take on Obama for quite a while has been exactly the opposite of Nelson’s: I think one of his big problems is that he considers it a grave character defect to ever openly throw a bone to the left. Throwing those bones — even smallish, symbolic ones — would have done him an immense amount of good during his first year, but he just couldn’t bring himself to do it. Maybe a firm statement about DADT even if action didn’t come until later. Or a serious effort to claw back the AIG bonuses even if it didn’t work. Or — obviously — full-throated support of the public option even if it eventually got killed by Joe Lieberman. But none of that happened. I’ve come to the conclusion that he’s so hypersensitive to accusations of “pandering to the left” that he’ll do almost anything to avoid them.
But I’m a partisan liberal, so maybe I’m just blind to all the bone throwing he’s done. Feel free to set me straight in comments.