People who believe Obama is a far left populist type haven't been paying attention. Obama himself is no lurch to the left. The far left has been quite disappointed as they've unwrapped the gift they received last November. It wasn't what they asked for or, in may cases, what they thought they were getting. But it shouldn't have been a surprise.
The election wasn't so much a lurch to the left as it was a movement away from the right (a different sort of movement conservatism). People didn't want four more years of anything resembling George Bush. Sure, there's been some reversion to the mean, there always is with midterm elections, but the election did ratchet our collective politics to the left. Moving the nation further to the left might might very well be a long, slow process, i.e. the long fight predicted above. And Republicans do manage to make lots of noise when they engage the enemy. But they are struggling to hold on to what they have rather than trying to take new ground. It's the Republicans, not the Democrats, who need to worry about fighting to hold on to their party.
---Mark Thoma, 2/5