‘Professional left’ says Obama’s needling strategy to get voters out won’t work

High-profile liberals say President Obama’s attempts to badger Democrats into voting will not work this November.

Jane Hamsher, founder of the blog, told The Hill in an e-mail Friday that the strategy being employed by the White House as polls show a Republican landslide looming is the wrong way to go.

{mosads}“Hectoring your supporters doesn’t work, and it never has,” Hamsher said. “And anyone with as much campaign experience as Obama and [Vice President] Biden knows that, which is why you never saw them do it in their own races.”

Obama and Biden have in recent weeks repeatedly pressed the voters who propelled them into office in 2008 to get off the sidelines, with Biden going as far as to jokingly, but repeatedly, insult those voters at his rallies.

But members of the “professional left,” a term coined by Robert Gibbs in an interview with The Hill, said Obama and Biden’s admonitions to Democrats to “stop whining” will not turn the tide in favor of Democrats.

The professional left has been critical of Obama throughout his administration, accusing the president of moving to the middle and ceding on key issues near and dear to Democratic causes such as the public health insurance option in the healthcare debate.

That steady drumbeat of criticism led Gibbs to vent his frustration to The Hill last August.

Obama has since acknowledged the frustration being voiced by liberal commentators on TV on a nightly basis, but he has challenged Democrats not to let that frustration keep them at home on Election Day.

“They say that there is an ‘enthusiasm gap,’ and that the same Republicans and the same policies that left our economy in a shambles and the middle class struggling year after year — that those folks might all ride back into power,” Obama told a rally in Washington earlier this month. “That’s the conventional wisdom in Washington.”

But Obama, in an interview with Rolling Stone, has also made clear he is frustrated with Democrats’ criticisms that his administration has not done enough.

“It is inexcusable for any Democrat or progressive right now to stand on the sidelines in this midterm election,” Obama said in the interview.

He added: “The idea that we’ve got a lack of enthusiasm in the Democratic base, that people are sitting on their hands complaining, is just irresponsible. Everybody out there has to be thinking about what’s at stake in this election.”

But liberals say it is too late for Obama to cajole voters into fighting for him when they say he has not done enough to fight for them and their ideals.

Adam Green, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, said Obama has only himself to blame for disillusioned voters who provided the winning surge in 2008.

“The 20-year-old kid who voted for Barack Obama and then saw this White House cut backroom deals with special interests instead of truly fighting for big change like the public option doesn’t need a public shaming,” Green said.

“He needs to see Democrats acknowledge that the Rahm Emanuel strategy of pre-emptively caving before a fight is a failure — and that if he trusts Democrats with his vote again, he will be electing a fighting Democratic Party.”

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