They are trying to be hopeful, but the Democratic Party’s most passionate voters are struggling to hide their frustration with President Barack Obama.
Republicans attack the president as a big-government liberal. Many liberals meeting Thursday at Netroots Nation — it describes the annual convention as “a giant family reunion for the left” — argue instead that Obama hasn’t fought hard enough for progressive priorities on taxes, health care and the economy.
Even more problematic for the president: With the election just five months away, some are threatening not to donate money or time or even vote in November for the man who overwhelmingly ignited their passions and captured their imaginations four years ago.
Among the 2,700 people gathered on the first day of this three-day convention, more than a dozen liberals interviewed here indicated some level of frustration with the president, despite widespread praise for his recent decision to support gay marriage and ongoing push to scale back military action in the Middle East.
Most plan on voting for Obama, and their gripes are not unlike what the White House has heard for much of the president’s term. But these left-leaning backers’ varying levels of enthusiasm could spell trouble for a president whose 2008 victory was fueled by a massive network of grass-roots volunteers and small-dollar donors. Polls show the president locked in a tight race that’s likely to be decided in several swing states where he scored narrow victories four years ago. Places such as Ohio, Florida and Virginia are expected to be especially competitive.