I’m not clear on which progressives the author means to identify as supposedly soft on Obama. Many of my friends and I supported him in 2008, but by 2012 were fully aware that all the pretty words he spouted as a candidate before his first term were just that, that he was and is a centrist no better than Hillary Clinton — with a few exceptions. (He did stand firm against torture, tho he wouldn’t prosecute the torturers. And he did a good deal less to war in Syria than the Clintonites demanded.)
Some African-American progressives certainly were too tolerant of him, but I get that. Having a black man as POTUS is a remarkable repudiation of obscene bigotry that I never expected to see in my lifetime. Not that it remotely ended racism, but as an ongoing erosion of the badges of slavery it was pretty damned important.
But yes, Obama’s no progressive. Not on bombing ever more Muslim countries, not on reining in Wall Street, and certainly not given his war on whistleblowers. Under his watch the FBI actively sabotaged the Occupy movement and viciously persecuted and prosecuted good people like Barrett Brown and Aaron Swartz.
Maybe we don’t read the same people, because in my circle people are entirely clear-eyed about who and what Obama turned out to be.