Progressives Bite Back At ‘Condescending’ Obama, Biden

“I think it is a remarkably condescending message,” said Progressive Congress Action Fund executive director Darcy Burner. "The fact that [Progressives] are frustrated and discouraged has as much to do with the rhetoric coming out of the White House as anything else. And this is the latest example of that.”

Burner also pointed specifically at Obama's broken promise on health care reform's public option: "Here we have a president who over and over again said that a public option was going to be a key part of the health care plan — who then, it turns out, cut a deal to get rid of the public option."

Jim Dean, who heads the progressive group Democracy for America, also lamented the Administration's stance, which he finds more puzzling and misleading than anything else: "I’m not sure who’s being addressed here because I find that progressives — although frustrated — are working on campaigns. I know there’s a narrative out there about the enthusiasm gap, but especially for those who worked for Obama to get elected, I don’t think he’s addressing the right group.”

Burner concluded on this note, "The least he could do is acknowledge that progressives have legitimate concerns. Instead he's condescending. It's not helpful."

Obama and Biden's respective, yet similar, message are indeed "not helpful," because they're turning off an entire voting bloc just as the gap between Republican and Democratic Congressional candidates appears to be shrinking

Image via SEIU's Flickr.


  1. says

    This is absolutely laughable! Progressives whining that the president and vice-president tell them to stop whining. I certainly wish the country was moving in a more progressive direction, but the problem is not and has not been the administration. It’s been unprecedented, conservative obstructionism in the senate! My only “whine” is that the administration has not been hammering away at Republicans in the senate. Or have they? We don’t really know that since corporate America OWNS all the news now, at least on the TeeVee, and certainly doesn’t want that message getting out.

  2. nick says

    Why did progressives think that Obama was an ally? He is not progressive. He never was progressive. Nothing he has done surprises true progressives. We didn’t vote for him in the 1st place. He is a centrist Democrat- at best.
    The Republicans and the medium that passes as journalists have branded him liberal and progressives to fit the RNC=conservative, DNC+progressives. There are no progressives in the Democratic party anymore.

  3. CKNJ says

    I agree with Mike… what I find lacking is the message that Dems need to get out… Make it clear to everyone exactly how the Repubs are being obstructionist and how they are depriving the citizens of operational government.

    You can bet your ass if they roles were reversed, the Repubs would be squealing like stuffed pigs and shouting off the rooftops about how the Dems were doing the citizenry a disservice… I almost NEVER hear any true noise about the fucking Obstructionist Repubs except for a reference here and there of the ‘Party of No’…

    Subtleties are lost on Joe Blogs the average voter, so the message needs to be hammered home, over and over and over. Seeing that happen will also energize the Dem base.

    So, THAT is the challenge!

  4. FunMe says

    I am afraid that guy I campaigned for and spend my time, $$money$$, and vote was wasted.

    It seems we elected a DINO, Democrat in Name Only.

    Or as I read somewhere: we have a DISCO President (Democrat In Skin Color) only. He walks like a Democrat, he talks like a Democrats …
    but he acts like a republiCON!

    Obama and Biden are so stupid to be insulting their VOTING base.

    They succeeded this week in getting EVEN MORE people pissed off at them!

    At the end of the day, they have only to look at the mirror to wonder why they are losing support.

    The days of voting for a politician just because he or she has a “D”, are ovah!

  5. patrick nyc says

    Obama promised to be a ‘fierce’ supporter of our rights, sorry but as bad as the GOP is, at least we know they hate us, indifference from the Dems is much worse.

  6. Tim says

    If what Obama is trying to get across is that voters NEED to stay active and get the right people in through these elections, then he needs to SAY EXACTLY THAT. He seems to be missing the mark on communication. Or maybe he is saying that but the quotes are coming in partial excerpts. Either way, Biden is a big mouth that needs to be tied to a speech writer at all times. Obama needs to talk action and plans instead being vague. I’m a bit disappointed in them overall, but there are moments where a little light seems to shine?

  7. Fenrox says

    Boo-fucking-hoo progressives and FUNME, Did you spend all that time PERSONALLY getting that man elected, Well let me play you some music to accompany your existential pain.


    You guys have NO idea what you want, your ambivalent stumble through life is what gives power to all the terrible elements in society. All it takes for evil to exist is for good people to do nothing blah blah blah.

    Running the country is hard, and you might not like the way its going now. But try this; SHUT THE FUCK UP AND LISTEN TO YOUR OWN WHINING, why do you feel this strongly? Why would you decide that the guy getting attacked in the corner is the guy you should be disappointed in? WHY DO I SOUND LIKE THE TEA PARTY/REPUBLICAN LOSERS?

    Yes be critical, he sold us some crap and sure as hell didn’t deliver, but he still could, he has 4 fucking years people, and FAR MORE IMPORTANT things to tackle other than gay rights!

    Who cares if we get full real rights if our country doesn’t exist 20 years from now because the schools fail? or the dollar collapses? or government is shrunk and we lose our democracy?

    Take him to task, but back the guy you picked, you spineless wastes.

  8. mick says

    I have been convinced for a long time that the system is too broken to be fixed by anyone. I think that it should all fall apart or get blown apart to start something new. I almost voted for McCain in the last election for this very reason, thinking that group would be the catalyst for rapid disintegration, but at the last minute I got all mooshy and hopeful. Never again. Teabaggers in 2012.

  9. says

    I’m curious what Obama/Biden have actually done for the gay community. They picked that nasty homophobe priest to welcome them into the White House and for some reason we weren’t appreciative of that either.
    I’m voting as I always do, but what exactly have these two done for us? I’m not clear.

  10. Joel Levi says

    When Republicans promise their supporters (the so-called base) they fight like hell to do it.

    When Obama and most democrats promise something, they’re crossing their fingers.

  11. TANK says

    Obama marketed himself as a progressive by aligning himself with progressive planks, like a massive healthcare overhaul, environmentally sound policy initiatives, and gay rights. However, his doublespeak also portrayed him as a moderate democrat, who would seek reconciliatory measures with hardline extremists, and dwell in the middle of the aisle. Anyway, he’s proved really ineffective…the climate didn’t call for moderate tactics, and appealing to factions that would not advance your agenda, but all out war. It’s too fuckin’ bad. but when the dems lose the house in november, it will play into his gee whiz, aww shucks I tried, but am totally hamstrung rhetoric, and only serves to benefit his reelection prospects.

  12. says


    ur assuming those claiming to be progressives r, hell that they r even dems instead of log cabinites seeing an opportunity to stir up shit

    anyway; obama and the majority of dems r not progressive,s they r centrist to conservative dems (center right) in the spirit of Clinton. Like rachel maddow said, bill clinton was the best republican president we’ve had……….But they r far better than the alternative = the neanderthals in the gop.

    The true progressive in the election was Dennis kucinich, but all I ever saw here was people either bowing to Hillary or Obama so the bitching now about him not being progressive enough is just BS

    As a progressive i voted for Obama because the true progressive Kucinich (100% support of full rights for all Gays)didn’t make it out of the primaries

    The other real progressive in gov = is (I) Senator Bernie Sanders a self describes democratic socialist who praises and wishes america was more like progressive Europe……….. he caucus with the dems because the alternative = gop would be a disaster

    True progressives will vote for the dems because to not vote is antithetical to the very premise of progressive politics. True progressives would never vote for a gop person nor toss their vote away on a 3rd party when so much is at stake at the moment


    The ideal progressive presidential ticket has always been

    Kucinish/ Sanders

    either or as POTUS and the other as VP

    Till we all can shoot rainbows out of our butts and beer rains down from the clouds, progressives must do the practical thing and support the corporate loving dems over the neanderthal theocratic bitches of the plutocrats (rule by the wealthy)


  13. anon says

    It would have been better to not have spent the last two years helping out the relatively well off UAW and SEIU, and the very well off bankers on Wall St. and worked towards some goals to help the actual poor and unemployed. It’s as if everyone else didn’t count.

  14. JT says

    Imagine you get to work, to work your 8 hour day, are told by your boss that your co worker had screwed up everything in the office, and that you had to fix it, plus attend to your ususal duties. You feel it’ll be hard, but you think you might be able to do it.
    Then, approaching lunch, halfway through your day, your boss comes to you and says “Arent you done yet?”
    You are of course surprised and reply..
    “Well, I have alot to do, I may be able to fix it by the end of the day, but not yet. Ive worked on these things here” (gestures to the stack of items you had accomplished)…thinking its not a unreasonable request since you were hired to work a full day and you have 4 more hours to accomplish the goals set.
    Your boss however, being the ignorant prick he is now showing himself to be says…
    “Well…you should have gotton everything done in the first half of your day because Im impatient, but didnt feel like giving you a timeline other than your usual 8 hour day…so now im going to dock your pay for the rest of your 4 hours!”
    (And this doesnt even take into account that half your coworkers are conspiring to make you fail by messing up everything you try and do so it slows you down.)

    Think about that…and then tell me how you justify all the apathy.

    Sorry progressives, you set yourself up for this. You got yourselves all wrapped up in a “savior” complex with him, and now that he isnt walking on water, you fuss and whine.
    ( I voted for him BTW, and am an Independant)
    Obama made some major mistepps, and im not entirely happy with him. But the rhetoric Im hearing from some on the left is kinda ridiculous. We shouldnt be “lock step” like the GOP drones, but a little solidarity wouldnt kill us. And gays…yeah, he hasnt been out there hanging the rainbow flag from the balcony of the white house, but compared to the last 4 presidents, and whats happened in the last 2 years legally for us…we cant REALLY complain that much. Worry more about what forces are working DIRECTLY against us, please.

  15. says

    Grow up already. There is definitely something to be had with these dickheads and their whining. By ensuring a Repbulican takeover in November, it keeps them in business. Hmmm, does NOM, Catholic Church, Mormon Church or any other their ilk ring a bell?

    Fuck these thumb-sucking asswipes. I for one couldn’t bare for any Bachman/Palins to get to get into power. By the sounds of it, that’s exactly what they want.

  16. Arthur says

    The problem with people – including progressives and gays and republicans – is that we are addicted to happy messages. Nobody wants to know just exactly how screwed up things are because of the fact that we’ve been living beyond our means for at least 40 years now. The economy is not Obama’s fault or W’s fault. Nor was the surplus at the end of Clinton’s gig due to his fiscal expertise – it was due to market conditions and decisions that were made over many years by many people. Obama isn’t perfect by any means but there is no way in hell any one person is going to reverse decades and decades (centuries with the homo hating issue) in 22 goddamn months. Governing is not a reality television show, or a cute posting on Facebook. It takes a lot of time and a lot of work. Politicians are tricksters because we wouldn’t have them any other way. Has anyone heard what’s new with the L. Lohan situation, because I need to know.

  17. says

    Well, here’s a way Obama could have shown he meant what he said (“fierce advocate”) and actually saved time, effort and money: don’t defend DOMA; and don’t appeal the DADT Constitutionality case out of CA. Yet, the Obama Justice Dept spends time and money fighting against judicial achievements that, supposedly, for which Obama stands… or stood. At least Schwarzenegger understood this, and he’s an ‘R’.

  18. bobbyjoe says

    Obama is like a store-owner who tells you that the goods you paid for are going to arrive soon, very soon, but he’s never all that sure when. He puts up elaborate ads about how great those products are going to be when they get here, but they never seem to actually show up. Then, when you finally start politely asking where everything is, he starts to get snippy.

    So you go back home and wait and wait and wait. There’s no sign that this guy is doing anything to get your items, and–oddly enough– much of the time you see him working the counter at the big expensive corporate store down the street and going out to dinner with that store’s boss. Finally he calls you up and tells you ONE of the things you ordered has come in. But when you get there, it’s a cheap knock-off that’s missing half the features he advertised, doesn’t really work and is probably just going to cost you a lot more in repairs. And when you start saying “hey, this isn’t what I ordere-” he interrupts you and starts yelling “well, f**k you, man. I got the thing that was easiest for me to get. Be thankful you got ANYTHING. Start having more realistic expectations, okay, d*psh*t? And, hey, I sort of got you ONE of the things you paid for, huh? And one day you might get at least SOMETHING else, that is, if you’ll stop pestering me all the g*dd*mn time.”

    So when you start to tell people that you’re wondering why you should keep shopping at this guy’s store, they start looking at you like you’re crazy. “But… but… you might at least get SOMETHING at that store,” a friend says, incredulous at your unimaginable betrayal. “That other big corporate store doesn’t have anything you want and they’re pretty evil.” So you say “But I’m not really getting anything I want from that first store-owner, and he’s been torturing people in the backroom, eavesdropping on my conversations, trying to drive my spouse and me apart (even though he keeps sending us bouquets that say “You Two Are Great!”), talking about how he can put out mafia-style “hits” on any of our townspeople anytime he wants to, and starting trouble in neighboring towns that seems pointless and keeps getting people hurt. When I asked him why he just said ‘well, the guy who used to own this store did all those things, too,so I just said ‘what the heck.’ So,” you continue, “…isn’t that evil, as well?”

    And so your friend says “Well, I don’t understand why you’d ever NOT shop at that store. But go ahead and do it, you big traitor! Just know that if you do, you know who’s fault it will be when that store closes and this town is ruined? RUINED, I say!!!” “Uh,” you say, “the shopkeeper who pushed away all his prospective business by lame business practices and a real lack of loyalty?”

    “NO!” screams your friend. “It’s all YOUR fault!!!”

  19. pdaku says

    Obama and Biden have not been perfect, so let’s go back to putting the lunatics in charge again. Why, look at all the progress made toward legalizing same-sex marriage and repealing DADT during the Bush-Cheney years.

    It’s amazing that Republicans can have affairs and children out of wedlock, can visit prostitutes, can lie about their educational or military background, can demonstrate hypocrisy in any number of ways, and yet other Republicans will always rally around them. The Democrats? When a candidate or politician is not 100% perfect, then other Democrats are so quick to become disillusioned.

  20. SKOC211 says

    As Joe Biden keeps saying, “don’t compare me to the almighty, compare me to the alternative.”

    To listen to those on the Right Obama is a socialist Marxist leftist progressive who is destroying the country. To listen to those on the Left Obama is a corporatist conservative who’s basically letting Republicans fuck him in the ass as he gives into all of their demands. The rhetoric from both sides is so absurdly juvenile that it would almost be funny if it weren’t so tragic.

    By all means if you’re okay with a Republican controlled Congress – and it’s the House I’m most worried about because Speaker Pelosi has done a spectacular job and Speaker Boehner is something right out of my nightmares – than by all means don’t vote, stay home, and bitch.

  21. jerry says

    Am I disappointed in the past 2 years ? Yes.
    I wanted Republican blood on the walls of Congress, I wanted a public option, I wanted Bush and Cheyney handed over for war crimes, I want higher taxes on high earners (and yes that includes me)to reduce the deficit. But I’m not getting any of it. Will I continue to vote the straight Democrat ticket ? Absolutely, because it is the only way to make any additional progress and/or to keep what progress we have made on many fronts.
    Maybe I am cynical, maybe just pragmatic, but history shows the longest strides begin with the smallest steps.

  22. Will says

    To Biden and Obama and the spineless Democrats in Congress I say FUCK YOU!

    You guys are like fucking without cumming.

    All the big build up. Health Care, DADT Repeal, ENDA and then nothing like you promised or nothing at all.

    The compromised with the Right on everything knowing full well that that the Right wouldn;t vote for it anyway. And if they didn;t know that and it didn;t become clear to them in the first 6 months then they are just too stupid and don’t deserve to hold office. Wall Street reform a joke, Fiunance Reform watered down and barely of use, Health Care reform NOTHING like what was promised. And now because they screwed up royally they have the nerve to say the vote for us and stop whining.


    If this adminstration would have shown one bit of backbone or they had any balls or played hardball during the past two years I might have considered voting.

    But now fuck em!

  23. Rob G. says

    The President and Vice President are just saying what the majority of Democrats have said over the last year: the “progressives” have been pissing and moaning since they realized on January 21, 2009 that the pony they were expecting wasn’t tied to a tree outside their house.

    If you thought President Obama was running on a progressive, versus a liberal, platform, you did not bother to read the not-so-fine print.

    America is governed from the center. It’s headed back towards center-right. It had swing towards center-left.

    The progressives think that they will send a clear message to the Administration that they won’t be pushed around anymore.

    If you’re the Administration and all you get is pissing and moaning, then you work towards replacing those factions with more traditional voters, particularly through faith-based initiatives.

    The GayTM? Already been replaced.

    If the purpose of the ranting and raving and strident blog posts has been to get a message across at the expense of keeping a majority, then well done.

    But I find it one of the dumbest moves in the annals of American politics.

    But, hey, the bloggers won’t be out of jobs and most of their rights are secure already. Easy for them to fuck over their fellow LGBT folks because they haven’t gotten everything that was promised in 21 months.

    What a bunch of suckers.

  24. says

    oh, give me a fucking break. The President and VP are right!!! Stop acting like some bitches and get out there and VOTE and ADVOCATE for your rights! The GOP is a smear machine of lies, bigotry, and homophobia. People need to seriously realize the alternative. Do you WANT it to be like the Bush years again? That’s where we’re headed.

  25. justin says

    you all are being too harsh on Obama, gay rights are not a priority right now, i’d much rather have a healthy economy..this is not the MOST important issue right now give him a break guys :)

  26. says

    Instead of attacking progressives, who, even if they’re not happy with the way things are going, are the ones who have been fighting in the trenches and continue to fight in them… Obama should be making the case that electing Republicans is a surefire way to grind government to a halt for two years, that they’re anethema to the “change” Obama and this country worked so hard to bring about. The Republicans have made it abundantly clear that they’re obstructionists — this needs to be the message, not shooting the messengers. Progressives will hold their nose and vote in November… it’s the often-apathetic independents who Obama turned out that are not enthused and in danger of being turned off by Obama. The only thing that progressives have been doing is warning the White House that this was/is going to happen, in the hopes that Obama will actually do something to instill hope in them again.

  27. Bobo says

    It’s his arrogance, and hypocrisy that make it hard to take him seriously, and want to vote for him. Instead of addressing that he DID NOT do what he promised…end DADT, end the Iraq war, have real universial healthcare, and close Gitmo. He did none of these things even though it was all within his power, and the majority to get it done; he tells people they are irresponsible, and unamerican for not supporting him. Not to mention continuing the Bush wire taps, torture, (yup rendition is still happening), and claiming in court state secrets when it comes to putting out CIA hits on American citizens without due process.
    I didn’t vote for Obama, voted for Nader, because I saw Obama for the corporate democrat that he was.

  28. Blake says

    I never expected them to accomplish everything they promised the gay part of me. I expected them to accomplish SOMETHING. Or at least try to. They failed utterly. And, despite a call to hold the administration, now call me a whiner. Verbalizing anger is not whining.

    Kiss my ass Obama and Biden. I put some faith in you and you crapped on me. Come back when you’re ready to show me something you delivered other then promises and platitudes.

  29. RB says

    “Obama and Biden are so stupid to be insulting their VOTING base.” Really? They have done nothing but insult the base for two years! We saw promise after promise from Obama on gay rights during the campaign and I knew they were lies. Unfortunately over 90% of us drank the koolaid and believed him. And no, Obama is NOT a centrist, he is a liberal through and through.

    As for Biden, no greater foot in mouth idiot has graced Washington in recent years so why would anyone get upset now?

    I left the republican party but find nothing in the dems that make me want to sign up, especially Obama and Biden! Both parties are broken and Obama is merely a mirror image of Bush. Two polar opposites that failed! Come on 2012!!!

  30. Alex says

    Obama is a slimy liar on LGBT issues, he deserves to get trounced in the election. Remember that when the Dems to publicly blame the gays….just wait.

  31. CKNJ says

    whatever the sentiment about Obama and Biden, as some have said here, the alternative is a helluva lot worse and I for one have NO intention of letting slimy Republicans take over if I have any say in it at all.

    Sure, Obama and Biden are not perfect, yes I have been pissed at some inaction and some of their actions too, but I would not be able to sleep at night if I had, in a fit of pique, allowed the scumsucking leeches of the Republican party take over again. We KNOW Republican policies (that they have stated they want to return to) brought us to where we are in this mess, so how in fuck’s name can anyone be considering putting them back in charge? Get a fucking grip on reality, already!

    As one other poster said: we should get it together and be more cohesive in our support of our values, and not let criminal conservatism take over again!

  32. jakeinlove says

    Personally if I were Obama I would have told them to GROW UP. We haven’t had any type of serious discussion about GLBT issues for DECADES.

    Just because he can’t do it all in 2 years, and I believe he said that that most likely wouldn’t be the case, Progressives have got their panties in a wad. Well grow up! Since so many GLBT people wan to associate the cause with the plight of the black population of this country. Their issues didn’t appear and get resolved in the time span of 2 years. Obama is not a monarchy.

  33. mark says

    Obama is not the guy who tells you he’s HIV positive after convincing you how much fun it would be to bareback.

    He’s subtler than that.

    Obama is the guy who doesn’t give you alot of clear answers, yet protests that if he knew you would be so concerned about your health he would never have been very interested in you in the first place.

    Either way you get stuck with something you don’t want.