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Et tu lefties? Obama takes flak from his liberal 'friends'

They supported him during the presidential campaign, but liberals are beginning to criticize Obama on everything from Afghanistan to the economy to climate change.

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• The 5 million-member liberal group MoveOn.org threatens primary election challenges to “any Democratic senator who blocks an up-or-down vote on healthcare reform with a public option.” That could complicate things for Obama on a wide range of issues if he loses the bare filibuster-proof Senate majority next year.

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• Global warming activist Bill McKibben says Obama has “punted on the hard questions around climate,” and he accuses Obama of an “unwillingness to lead.” Meanwhile, charges McKibben in a Mother Jones essay, there has been “the endless spinning of his climate negotiators … fibbing about the science.”

• At the left-leaning web site Truthout.org, regular columnist Tom Engelhardt writes what he calls “The Afghan Speech Obama Should Give (but Won't).” Here, he fantasizes Obama telling the American people: “I have decided to send no more troops to Afghanistan. Beyond that, I believe it is in the national interest of the American people that this war, like the Iraq War, be drawn down.”

Meanwhile, the typically tart-tongued Chris Matthews, host of MSNBC’s “Hardball” accuses Obama of “dithering” on Afghanistan -- a play on former vice president Dick Cheney’s recent charge.

"Is he just too darned intellectual?” Matthews asks. “Too much the egghead? Why did he bow to that Japanese emperor? Why did he pick Tim Geithner to be his economic front-man? Why all this dithering over Afghanistan? And who thought it was a wonderful idea to bring the killers of 9/11 to New York City, the media capital of the world, so they could tell their story?"

Nobody ever said being president was easy, or that your campaign friends -- many of them activists with agendas of their own -- would always be your buddies. Which brings to mind something attributed to Harry Truman: “If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.”

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