Politico headline: "Left revokes President Obama's liberal card."
The White House says he’s still a proud progressive. And, of course, he’ll always be a socialist to the Republican base. To prominent liberals, though, Obama’s center-left, sure. But he’s no liberal.
FDR had his card revoked so many times he briefly toyed with the idea of creating a new party. He was a liberal, a center-leftist, a socialist, the founder of the modern progressive movement--and profoundly conservative. The right assaulted him as a socialist and the left assailed him as the savior of the capitalist scourge and so he did what any rational president would do: he mixed afternoon martinis and said, "Fuck it." His job transcended labels.
That's the reality for those in the crossfire. For the shooters, though, it's all about tribalistic purity, which, paradoxically, is largely a fiction, and a harmful one at that.
The left has revoked Obama's liberal card? Well who the hell is the left and what's a liberal? Even more enigmatically, what's a "progressive"? A fiery liberal? Then that would be Barack Obama, according to the White House and Obama himself--except when he needs to be a conservative.
Thus one definition of a progressive is a pragmatic liberal and a pragmatic conservative--in short, a pragmatist--except there are other progressives (although their numbers--just as President Eisenhower observed of his far right--are far smaller) who mightily disdain pragmatism as pseudoprogressive compromise (which oddly enough places them in the same uncompromising ideological structures as those "real" conservatives out there, such as Ted Cruz, who in reality is a pseudoconservative).
Nonetheless both progressive tribes claim the pure-and-one-true progressive title. This of course makes for great fun--there's nothing more entertainingly unholy than a puritanical fight among a catty family--even if the brawl is immensely self-wounding.