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"One Nation" Draws Liberals who Back Obama -- but Want More


The Democratic Party may be working to rally its base, but if the "One Nation" rally on the National Mall Saturday was any indication, liberals are still lagging behind conservatives when it comes to enthusiasm over this November's midterm elections.

The "One Nation" rally, organized by more than 400 organizations (including labor unions, environmental groups and progressive faith groups), attracted a large crowd to the Mall, though it was visibly smaller than the conservative "Restoring Honor" rally in late August. The liberal event was not planned as a response to the "Restoring Honor" rally, but the comparisons are being made nevertheless.

Voters at Saturday's liberal rally were certainly not afraid to voice their dissatisfaction with the president, his party, and the current state of the nation. One woman held a sign that read, "Angry Gay Taxpayer." Gay issues seemed to animate many in the crowd, chief among them the lack of a repeal to the military's don't ask, don't tell" policy. Advocates of gay rights say the president should act unilaterally and end the military policy through an executive order.

A group of teenage girls wore shirts that read, "Got Jobs?" They said that "hard" is not the appropriate word to describe a young person's job search -- "impossible," they said, is a better fit.

Overall, however, attendees were relatively happy with what the president has accomplished so far, from health care reform to the stimulus package's investments in "green" jobs. They said they are ready to rally behind Democrats in November.

"The reason unemployment's bad is because we had eight years of Bush," said Andy Harkulich, a United Steelworkers member from Farrell, Pennsylvania. "Everybody said whoever got elected president couldn't get it done in four years, now they're complaining because he ain't got it done it in two years. It's going to take time."

Harkulich said he was primarily concerned with Republicans sending jobs overseas. It's a message Democrats have pressed in recent weeks -- one of the Senate's last votes before leaving Washington to campaign was on a bill to raise taxes on companies that move manufacturing jobs out of the country. Republicans, joined by a few Democrats, filibustered the bill.

There's "no doubt" union members expect more from Demcorats, Harkulich said, such as progress on the Employee Free Choice Act, the controversial measure related to make it easier to form unions. He added, however, that the Democrats' supporters are ready to focus on keeping them in office, for now.

Watch our discussion about the "One Nation" rally on's "Washington Unplugged" below:


Stephanie Condon is a political reporter for You can read more of her posts here. Follow Hotsheet on Facebook and Twitter.
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