It appears that some liberal Democrats are so incensed by President Obama’s unreasonably centrist tendencies and willingness to compromise with Republicans that there is talk of Obama facing a primary challenge before the 2012 election.
It’s no wonder that so many in the liberal base are falling out of love with the president. So much so that there is even faint talk of an insurrection if Obama doesn’t straighten up and fly left. Recently, during an appearance on a cable TV show, Washington Post columnist Gene Robinson discussed the political costs for Obama if the public option is dropped from the health care bill. They included the possibility of a primary challenge in the 2012 presidential election. Said Robinson, “You don’t want to see the progressive caucus in a foul mood.”
A interesting question is whether the Obama re-election team would consider a primary challenge from the left a bad thing. If you were trying to get a relatively liberal president re-elected, a wild eyed progressive challenger playing up how crazily centrist and bipartisan your guy was might actually be an asset.
The only scenario in which this might be negative is if the president is so weak in 2012 that a primary challenger actually has a chance of winning the nomination. In that case President Obama might be forced to publicly tack left in order to win the primary, which might be the thing that costs him the general election.