Nonetheless, I find the topic interesting. Here are Ambinder's explications in italics followed by my commentary.
- "Democrats like and support Obama, as do liberals, but they're willing to be openly critical -- not always, but often enough, some more than others, in different forums."
However much we may like Obama, we think critically about our interaction with any leader. At least we do when we're being grown-ups. I've been criticized, possibly rightly, for being unwilling to jump on the guy about his evident enthusiasm for the uglier features of the imperial Presidency -- universal lawless surveillance, law-free detentions, and subverting privacy protections. He talks a lot better than he acts on LGBT issues too. And then there are the wars (though he never promised differently) ...
But like Obama, experience has made me both determined and practical. I take the attitude: he's what we've got to work on -- and we have work to do. Let's hammer the guy, knowing he's as close to "our guy" as we'll get.
- "Obama hasn't had his 9/11 game-changing moment, which, briefly, united the country around the former president. Perhaps the progressive universe will be less tolerant of internal criticism if some unexpected event intervenes."
- "..the progressive world developed and matured its protest/activist/speak freely orientation through technology, from the bottom up, as party coherence declined and Democratic leaders in Congress were generally seen as feckless."
Governing is hard -- every successful insurgent eventually discovers this. An apparatus built for resistance is likely to keep resisting unless it discovers something more satisfying to do. We're doing what we know best -- pushing on authority. That's a good thing; keeps 'em honest (more or less) however little insiders like it. Like his outright opponents, Obama has to win us over by delivering "change." Otherwise, at a minimum, he'll lose grassroots sentiment that protects his back. Governing would be tough indeed if liberals fall into deep disillusionment. We don't discourage easily -- remember Bush.