The race for the Democratic nomination is a battle over the legacy of the Obama presidency. Hillary Clinton, completing her transition from rival to heir, lathers herself in that legacy whenever possible. Bernie Sanders offers a skeptical wag of the finger, his every call for revolution suggesting that so much hope has led to little change. “The kind of criticism that we’ve heard from Senator Sanders about our president, I expect from Republicans,” Clinton admonished in a recent debate. “I do not expect [it] from someone running for the Democratic nomination to succeed President Obama.”
Bill Press, a liberal radio and television host, has authored “Buyer’s Remorse,” a distillation of the Obama years that comes down to “yes, but.” Yes, Obama got the stimulus bill through Congress, but it was too small. Yes, he passed the Affordable Care Act, but he punted on the public option. Yes, he signed the Dodd-Frank Act, but he left Wall Street’s power largely intact….
While Press details everything Obama has done to disappoint him, political historian Thomas Frank is more interested in why the president disappoints. It’s not that Obama has abandoned liberalism; it’s that liberalism has abandoned the working class.