Joan, thank you for a very thoughtful article, as usual. However, I would like to caution you about falling for Obama's rhetoric just because he is a good orator and knows how to talk to people. He is no Martin Luther King Jr. Obama mentions the importance of compromise, but remember the old saying, "there is a fine line between compromise and compromised." Obama crosses that line far too much, as do all "centrists," the Clintons included. As [fellow commenter] Metalgurhal sagely pointed out, "Compromise is not an evil word, although why is it [that] Dems do all the compromising?"
Let me ask you something, if I may. How much do the Republicans compromise with the Democrats when it comes to the policies they believe in the most, e.g., preemptive wars, tax cuts, the continuation of a health care system that is firmly in the grip of private insurers, the constant expansion of power in the executive branch of government, etc.? Now, before you remind me that the Democrats shouldn't always duplicate the behavior patterns of the Republicans, let me remind you that Martin Luther King Jr. never compromised about the issues that were most important to him. He stood up to the status quo about matters that Obama wouldn't even consider doing in his wildest fantasies, and King did this in an era when a man of color who stood up to the system as courageously as he did could be shot (and he was). The worst that happens to Obama when he pisses off the Republicans is that he gets called names, such as "socialist," "soft on terror," etc. Yet he fears these names more than King feared bullets!
A socialist like me understands as much as anyone that major change takes time, and it has to be done in steps, oftentimes small steps. It can't happen overnight. I certainly don't expect a classless and moneyless society to be established overnight, nor do I even expect it to occur within my lifetime. But I will never give up fighting for it because I believe in it. And currently I join with progressives like yourself to try and enact as many beneficial changes for my fellow workers as possible within my lifetime. And I also strongly encourage progressives to never give up the fight simply because things didn't change overnight.
However, despite how big Obama talks about representing change, how many real changes did he give us during his first year in the Oval Office? What he did with health care reform wasn't mere reasonable compromise; it was total capitulation, and he has a lot of nerve to refer to it as garden variety compromise. Moreover, his near-total refusal to reverse all of the harm and dangerous policies that the previous administration enacted, which severely threatens our civil liberties, wasn't a wise issue to compromise with the Republicans on (we should be thankful he actually ended the justification for torture and the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy in the military). Obama should not compromise when it comes to issues that are massively important to the very foundation of what America is supposed to represent, let alone what is best for the labor class who does all the useful work. And he should always care about how his political base feels, since they are the ones who worked so tirelessly to have him elected, not those damn rednecks and swing voters that he worked so hard to appease during his presidential election campaign.
Perhaps a new saying should be introduced, based on one of your comments in the above article: "In order to enact real progressive change, we need real progressive leaders." King was certainly that, but Obama is certainly not.