Obama has a progressive record, but throughout the campaign he ran on changing the tone and ending the partisan bickering in Washington more so than on implementing progressive change.
David Sirota wrote in his syndicated column this week that Progressives must put pressure on Obama to move to the left and implement progressive policies...
Call your Congressman and Senators and ask them to support the Progressive issue that you care about the most, rather it be the Economic Stimulus Plan, Universal Health Care, repealing NCLB, or to get us out of Iraq.
As former House Republican leader Tom DeLay said, he and his colleagues deliberately started "every policy initiative from as far to the political right" as possible, so as to shift "the center farther to the right." The formula emulated Franklin D. Roosevelt's fabled admonishment to allies: "I agree with you, I want to do it, now make me do it."
With Bush, congressional Republicans knew they had an ideological comrade in the White House. But they also knew he was confined by the (minimally) moderating desire for re-election and the (even more minimally) moderating limits of his national office. So, to reach their goals, conservatives had to compel their presidential friend to do what they wanted - and compel him they did. When Bush's tax cuts and deregulatory schemes hit the Capitol, Republicans inevitably expanded them to fully achieve the right's objectives.
Of course, that triumph was the country's loss, as Republican policies thrust the political center off a conservative precipice and America into an economic freefall. And as we plummet, we are desperately groping for a lifeline.
If we are lucky and we end up snagging one that saves us - a huge if - it will be one that is strong enough to snap the center back from the conservative brink. This super-durable bungee cord must have the force of law, meaning it will be woven by Democratic legislators now exerting as much pressure on President Obama's left as congressional Republicans focused on President Bush's right.