President Obama could not have abandoned The Left because he has never identified himself as a strident Liberal or even as a politician with iron clad ideological convictions. His political outlook has been expressed by his language and his actions as pragmatic above all else.
While running in 2008 on the platform plank of repealing The Bush Tax Cuts, Obama has always maintained his faith in the balance of power and accurate reflection of the will of the American people. With this in mind, it should be of no surprise that he digested the results of the 2010 election cycle as a rebuke to his Keynesian approach from 2009 to 2010 of stimulus spending and would-be top side tax increases. Unfortunately for the Americans concerned with the debt and fiscal Liberals alike, Obama's and Congress' time and energy were largely spent passing The Affordable Health Care Act.
Indeed, President Obama abandoned The Left during the debate over The Affordable Care Act more then a year prior when he dropped the call for not only Single Payer but even The Public Option was pushed off the table and ignored as if somehow impossible to implement while carving out the Health Care reform with insurance companies at the table.
Even further back, during his 2008 campaign, Barack Obama expressed repeatedly his commitment to maintaining forces in Afghanistan, noting that he believes that America should not commit itself to "dumb wars".
The typical Liberal dove should have taken this to heart and realized that Obama would never intend to be the next Jimmy Carter nor Ted Kennedy. Furthermore, then-candidate Obama never called for the investigations most in his Liberal base were calling for into Cheney, Rove, Rumsfeld, and others in the Bush Administration over falsified intelligence during the run up to the Iraq Invasion.
Once elected, his cabinet selections should have tipped off Liberals that Obama had abandoned The Left. Arne Duncan at the Department of Education alone told of Obama's desire for effectiveness over ideological compliancy. Duncan had made his impact felt greatest in Illinois where he devised various work around solutions to Unions and tenure in the form of wholesale school shutdown to expanding the Charter School system. Add to Duncan the preservation of Bob Gates in the top Defense spot as well as Ben Bernanke and Timothy Geithner in their positions and the motif of "responsible and pragmatic" overtakes the one of "change you can believe in".
Once the wars were seen to be prosecuted without much interruption from the last administration's tact and the bank bailouts continued with no additional strings set by the Fed nor Executive office, it should have become clear to Liberals everywhere in America that this president is not their champion. This president is a deal maker who triangulates from The Left in weaker terms than Bill Clinton ever did.
One thing is for sure, IF Barack Obama abandoned The Left, he did it far before the tax compromise at the end of last year and even before his campaign began in front of the Illinois state capital where he evoked Abraham Lincoln, perhaps the greatest presidential pragmatist ever.