Delegates have almost no criticism of Obama, even fewer agenda items

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Timothy P. Carney

CHARLOTTE – Even when pressed, the party faithful have almost no criticisms of Barack Obama’s first term. They also don’t have very many demands on his second term.

I interviewed a couple dozen Democratic delegates from around the country, and the harshest substantive criticism came from South Carolina delegate Vic Rawl who called Obama “maybe a little bit neocon” on foreign policy, drone use, and keeping open Guantanamo Bay.

“The only criticism I can come up with is of the other side,” Michigan delegate Dorothy Johnson told me. “I can’t criticize him.”

That was the norm: when I asked delegates for criticism, they either had none, or, like Vernon Sykes of Ohio said, “he tried to work with them too much,” meaning Republicans in Congress.

“Obstruction” was one of the words the delegates uttered most often, saying Obama did everything he could, given Republican intransigence. “He gets his hand slapped,” when he reaches across the aisle said Eddie McDonald, Michigan delegate.

There was also very little in the way of a second-term agenda from the delegates. A couple said expansion of Obamacare to include a public option or even move to single-payer.

“I’m just hoping that he’ll have a congress that’s less obstructionist,” Shannon Schroeder, Minnesota delegate told me.

All Wanda Williams, New York delegate, wants from Obama is to “keep doing what he’s doing,” and that was the standard reaction, sometimes with variation.

“He’s accomplished so much in the first term, I just want him to keep on doing what he’s doing,” said Gloria McGee.

“Continue on the path we’re going,” Sykes said. “Continue his excellent record,” said Greg Rabb of western New York.

Rawl said “stay the course.”

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