The POTUS once again recorded a video greeting to be played at Netroots Nation on Thursday night. And while he had other events on Thursday and Friday, the President’s schedule on Saturday only included a trip to the links, per the White House press pool. It’s clear that Obama wasn’t exactly making it a high priority to keep his progressive base happy.
But since the President’s video appearance at the keynote on Thursday was met with some boos, it’s no surprise that he made other weekend arrangements.
The video wasn’t played until after 8 p.m. on the West Coast, meaning many people attending the conference in person had already found other activities — like watching the NBA Finals Game 7 at nearby bars — and those on the East Coast were likely asleep. The President was also the opener for Sandra Fluke, with Netroots favorite Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) being given the honor, via video address, of opening for the actual keynote speaker, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.). Netroots wasn’t making Obama a priority either.
And it wasn’t just during Thursday night’s keynote that the President was shunned.
It was evident throughout the entire conference that Obama wasn’t the most popular political figure among the progressive attendees. When Organizing for Action — Obama’s old campaign group turned nonprofit — held a roundtable, those in attendance called out the organization for its close relationship with the President. Then when House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) tried to defend the Obama administration for charging Edward Snowden with espionage, the audience reacted with loud boos.
During the panel entitled “The California Comeback: How Progressives Stopped California’s Decline,” one of the questioners asked how they should deal with progressives — like Gov. Jerry Brown (D-Calif.) and President Obama — who abandon the ideals of the movement once they are elected. And on Saturday night, as the conference wrapped up, speaker Sally Kohn lambasted the President for repackaging conservative ideas and presenting them as progressive.
Looking at the past few months for the Obama administration, however, even progressives have plenty of reasons to be unhappy with Obama. The White House has been plagued by scandals, from the AP phone records probe and the Benghazi talking points to the IRS targeting and the NSA surveillance programs. Americans are outraged and the media has suddenly grown teeth, putting the administration in an uncomfortably bright spotlight.
But even before the scandals, things weren’t looking good for the POTUS.
Obama has failed to produce policy successes in his second term. Harsher gun legislation was shot down, student loan interest rates are still set to increase on July 1 and climate change hasn’t received the attention Obama promised it would. And while the President might still get immigration reform passed, that certainly haven’t been a walk in the park either — and there’s a long way to go on that front.
So as progressives look for 2014 midterm election success, it’s no wonder that they’re trying to distance themselves from Obama and his unpopular administration.