But even if we granted that Obama is the most progressive domestic policy president since FDR, Professor Dyson is demonstrably wrong when he replies to Ford's critique by saying, in effect, no one better could get elected on the issues you mention. On the national security and civil liberties, candidate Barack Obama was better, running far to President Obama's left, and he got elected!
"I'm saying that with Romney in the White House, even Dr. Dyson and others, many others, would join in the resistance to austerity, the resistance to war. Apparently, they cannot muster the energy to do that under a Democratic president, under the first black president. It's their behavior that does in fact facilitate these austerity assaults and these war--this warmongering, because they don't resist it, and they accept it as something that is a fait accompli, that is an inevitability."
By celebrating President Obama's domestic record, table-pounding about his killing of Osama bin Laden, and ignoring huge aspects of his tenure, look what's forgotten: the innocents killed by his policies abroad, the American citizens who were extra-judicially assassinated, the reckless precedent for secret killing, the warrantless spying, the ethnic profiling, the drone war, the violation of the war powers resolution, the war on whistleblowers, and the war on drugs, for starters.
Apologies for all of the quoting; but over the past few years, I've grown increasingly uncomfortable both with the President's worst policies and with the left's lack of criticism over it.
It seems like all of this should be on the table for this election, but the Republicans have nominated such an incredibly awful ticket that progressives probably feel that offering any reason to not re-elect the President would be irresponsible.
But that doesn't really explain the last three years when the election wasn't necessarily on the table.