Peter Wallsten does some good reporting in a piece for the Washington Post called “President Obama bristles when he is the target of activist tactics he once used.” Wallsten analyzes Obama’s reponses to two constituencies that expected great things from him: gay activists and Hispanic immigration activists.
The former group, which reportedly includes one-sixth of his major bundlers, has seen some of its key expectations met. “Don’t ask, don’t tell” has been overturned and the president has “evolved” on gay marriage. As for Hispanic activists, all they have to show for the Obama presidency is 1 million deportations (by their count).
The lesson appears to be: if you want Obama to act on his principles, show him the money.
The scenes of Obama with irate Hispanic immigration activists make for painful reading, as Obama explains — sometimes patiently; sometimes not — that he just can’t deliver for them. He tells the activists that he’s not the king. He tells them that as someone who has experienced discrimination he feels their pain.
He gives them bear hugs. He gives them access. But when they use that access to complain, he’s “testy” and “sarcastic.”
He knows that he cannot offer this group change and that his attempts to offer them hope are less and less convincing. He dislikes knowing this and hates being reminded of it.
No wonder these activists find him “pissy.”