He lists Democratic victories in the cromnibus (aside from that keeping the government open thing) then asks
shouldn't someone have been in charge of quietly making the progressive case for this bill? It wouldn't have convinced everyone, but it might have reduced the grumbling within the base a little bit. Why was that not worth doing?In comments I speculate wildly about 11 dimensional chess (remember the good old days of 11 dimensional chess?).
One hypothesis is a grumbling, indeed rebellious, base is useful to the Democrats who deal with the Republicans. It sure seems that Republicans have gotten rather a lot (especially during the debt ceiling crisis negotiations) based on the argument that they need these concessions to fight off the crazy tea partier base.
I have long thought that leftist attacks on Obama, Reid and Hoyer are useful to them. It helps Democratic negotiators to be able to say they have given up all they can and almost too much. A non grumbling base makes this impossible. It helps most Democrats to be attacked from the left on some issues (although most definitely not for being too nice to bankers).
The huge publicity given to Republican victories which the vast majority of ordinary voters (including tea partiers) hate is also useful to Democrats.
Frankly I think a victory which is perceived as a defeat is the best outcome for Obama. It isn't as if he has to worry about being primaried.