I don't know Drew Westen, an Emory U. prof. who writes for Huffington Post, but I agree with Norma Bates that his scathing putdown of President Obama -- on leadership, his alienation of voters on the left and in the middle, his failure to deliver, his sellout to pro-lifers and insurance companies, etc. -- is a primal scream. Westen turns the channel when Obama comes on the TV to unlimber another pretty speech, just like he turned off George W. Bush years ago. Not good.
What's costing the president and courting danger for Democrats in 2010 isn't a question of left or right, because the president has accomplished the remarkable feat of both demoralizing the base and completely turning off voters in the center. If this were an ideological issue, that would not be the case. He would be holding either the middle or the left, not losing both.
What's costing the president are three things: a laissez faire style of leadership that appears weak and removed to everyday Americans, a failure to articulate and defend any coherent ideological position on virtually anything, and a widespread perception that he cares more about special interests like bank, credit card, oil and coal, and health and pharmaceutical companies than he does about the people they are shafting.
The problem is not that his record is being distorted. It's that all three have more than a grain of truth. And I say this not as one of those pesky "leftists." I say this as someone who has spent much of the last three years studying what moves voters in the middle, the Undecideds who will hear whichever side speaks to them with moral clarity.
I feel the same pain.