Providence, R.I. — If elections are won partly on the enthusiasm of a candidate’s base, Barack Obama is in trouble. Netroots Nation, the annual left-wing conference for bloggers and activists, held its seventh annual rally here this weekend. The skies were sunny outside, but there was clearly a cloud hanging over attendees inside the cavernous Rhode Island Convention Center.
It wasn’t only last Tuesday’s jarring defeat of public-sector unions in Wisconsin, or President Obama’s refusal to campaign in person against Governor Scott Walker — or unease that the Supreme Court may be only weeks away from sweeping much or all of Obamacare onto the ash heap of history. On Friday, in the middle of the conference, President Obama famously declared that “the private sector is doing fine,” calling into question his campaign’s basic competence in getting out a coherent message.
Advertisement - story continues below
Indeed, enthusiasm for Obama was decidedly absent from this year’s gathering. Administration officials weren’t invited to attend (Valerie Jarrett and others have appeared in the past), and President Obama limited his role to an unpublicized surprise video shown to delegates late on Saturday, when many people had already left. “Change is hard, but we’ve seen that it’s possible, as long as you’re willing to keep up that fight, I’ll be right there with you,” Obama offered. Not exactly a stirring call to arms, and the tepid applause his video garnered can’t have pleased Team Obama.
Van Jones — the former Obama administration “green jobs” czar who was forced to resign from the White House after his radical past was exposed — did his best to follow the Obama video with some fiery rhetoric. “We do not have the right to sit here and feel sorry for ourselves and let these people destroy our country,” he yelled.
But after another burst of obligatory fearmongering about the Tea Party — “When they get power, they use it to decimate us!” — even he calmed down and acknowledged that these were tough times for the Left. He claimed the union recall in Wisconsin had been a “potential national breakthrough” but admitted it had fallen short. The local forces “fought alone,” he said. “Let’s be honest now. We’re all friends here.” At that point, someone in the audience shouted out, “Where was Obama?”
Read More at National Review. By John Fund.