President Barack Obama and New Jersey Congressman John Adler were elected to their respective posts in 2008 to the delight of progressive democrats. While there were numerous differences between their elections, the actions of both men have been a disappointment.
Obama replaced an unpopular incompetent president. Adler replaced a very popular and effective retiring long-term congressman. Both men won against moderate Republicans, although starting with his VP selection, Senator McCain has been intoxicated by Crazy Tea.
Both men ran on platforms of change - change from the "me first" attitude espoused by Republicans. Yet, once in power, both men moved to the right to the consternation of their respective bases. If there are any exemplars of the kind of moderate Republicans they defeated (corporatists who promote small, incremental improvements in social programs) then both Obama and Adler fill the bill. But these are not the policies that swept these men into office.
Of course, John Adler faces a re-election challenge this year, while President Obama still has two years to go. Adler's opponent is a know-nothing unqualified celebrity who has memorized the Tea Party talking points that resonate with an electorate influenced by Fox "News" and sound bites. While it's still early to speculate on the GOP presidential nominee, as of now it looks like Obama also will face a corporate-sponsored Tea Party sympathizer. Adler has abandoned his base and is pursuing conservative voters who would normally vote for the Republicans. The danger is that many Liberals and Democrats will sit out this election. This is a danger that is magnified many times if Obama still believes he can work with the intransigent Republicans - Republicans who put defeat of the president's agenda ahead of what's good for the middle class and the nation as a whole.
Could an Adler defeat be a harbinger of what's ahead for Barack Obama? Will anticipated Democratic losses in 2010 validate or repudiate Obama's rightward swing? If enough moderate Democrats Republicans like John Adler lose this year, President Obama will have to work with a John "Hell No We Can't" Boehner House and will be distracted by so many GOP-run congressional investigations that it would make the Clinton impeachment circus seem like a blip. What would it take to re-energize the progressive left that brought both men to power in 2008?