Obama’s Critics

They're not all Republicans

• June 18, 2014 5:00 am


Look no further than the Democratic Party for some of President Obama's most vocal detractors these days.

Democrats from within his own administration and those in or trying to reach Congress have issued public criticisms of Obama, whose approval rating continues to flounder, on a variety of issues.

The rollout of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's new book "Hard Choices" revealed stark disagreements with Obama on forcing Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak to step down and his decision not to arm moderate Syrian rebels, both arguments Clinton lost to him.

Syria, where Obama infamously set a "red line" before claiming he never did on chemical weapons usage by the Assad regime, has been a constant thorn. Obama's former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta ripped the president last year for doing damage to U.S. credibility.

"When the President of the United States draws a red line, the credibility of this country is dependent on him backing up his word," Panetta said. "When we draw a line and we give our word, damn it, we back it up."

Former U.S. Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford said he resigned his post earlier this year because of the administration's persistent failure to address root causes of the conflict.

"I was no longer in a position where I felt I could defend the American policy," Ford said.

Then there's Obamacare, which was called a potential "train wreck" by Sen. Max Baucus (D., Mont.). Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D., W.V.) said the law's sheer size and scope was "beyond comprehension," and not in a good way. Rep. Bruce Braley (D., Iowa), running for his state's open U.S. Senate seat, conceded it could have a negative effect on his campaign.

Also, Democrats like Kentucky Senate hopeful Alison Lundergan Grimes, Rep. Nick Rahall (D., W.V.) and embattled Sen. Mary Landrieu (D., La.) have attacked the president's new Environmental Protection Agency emission standards and their negative impact on coal.

Grimes said she would fight Obama's "attack on Kentucky's coal industry." Rahall said the Obama administration had displayed a "disregard for the livelihoods of our coal miners and thousands of families throughout West Virginia," and Landrieu ripped "unelected bureaucrats" in the EPA who didn't have the authority to set energy policy.

After yet another White House delay on deciding whether to approve the Keystone Pipeline in April, Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D., N.D.) issued a statement slamming Obama. "It's absolutely ridiculous," she wrote, "that this well over five-year-long process is continuing for an undetermined amount of time."

Also, the much-maligned secret trade the White House made of five Taliban commanders for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl without consulting Congress infuriated usual liberal ally Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.).

"I strongly believe that we should have been consulted, that the law should have been followed, and I very much regret that was not the case," she told reporters.

[H/T Douglas Schoen]