Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), a stalwart of the House’s progressive wing and the self-proclaimed Dean of the Congressional Black Caucus, told reporters Monday that President Obama should be thanking his lucky stars the Republicans can’t seem to rustle up someone credible to take him on.
Pointing to the numerous ways Obama has disappointed his wing of the Democratic party since taking office, Conyers suggested Obama might have a hard time of it in 2012 if the Republicans came up with someone suitable.“I’m sure he realized what he was getting into,” Conyers said of Obama, reflecting on his term in office. “He tried to close Guantanamo, he was against tax cuts for the wealthy — we keep having a longer and longer list of things that he wanted to do, wished he could do more about and of course is having a big problem.”
Conyers also lamented the White House talk of increased offshore oil drilling and general discussions of the environment.” In general, he criticized Obama for “all these concessions with the people that are going to oppose him.”
“The only thing that saves him, of course, is that there doesn’t seem to be anybody to run against him next year,” Conyers said before launching into a bit of free-association on the potential 2012 GOP field so far:
You could count Sarah Palin, my favorite undisclosed candidate. Or Michele Bachmann. Newt Gingrich has been reinvented for the third time. And Romney…
He didn’t finish the thought about Romney.
“It’s not the greatest list to choose from as we go into the next election,” Conyers concluded.
Conyers had plenty praise for Obama, too, lauding the president’s weekend op-ed about gun control in the Arizona Daily Star and promising to appropriate the phrase “Obamacare” from Republicans who have used it to define all that they detest in the health care reform law of last year.
Conyers spoke to reporters at the National Press Club in Washington Monday. Asked by a reporter about his harsh words for the president, Conyers said he still stands with Obama. But mostly because he has no other choice.
“The alternative is unthinkable,” he said. “I just want to make him a better president. I was doing this before he was.”
“Of course I support him,” Conyers concluded. “I just want him to do more.”