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By CNN's Wolf Blitzer
(CNN) - Have you noticed how many liberals lately have been piling on President Barack Obama? Their criticism has been harsh and intense. They mostly focus on his supposed willingness to make concessions to conservative Republicans. They charge that he lets himself be bullied because it’s part of his nonconfrontational nature.
I remember hearing similar criticism in 1995 and 1996 when President Bill Clinton was hammered for making deals with House Speaker Newt Gingrich and other Republicans. Clinton, for example, agreed to major welfare reform, which infuriated many of his liberal base. He was accused of selling out long-standing Democratic Party principles.
It later became clear that Clinton - and it may be the case with Obama as well - was engaged in “triangulation,” a political strategy where he would position himself as a moderate centrist. He was reaching out to independent voters who were not blindly aligned with core Democrats or Republicans.
It was a strategy, by the way, that helped Clinton win re-election in 1996 against Republican nominee Bob Dole.
Clinton’s aides used to say they were happy when liberals criticized him. They thought that would position him well with moderate and independent voters who, of course, are critical in carrying Ohio, Florida and other major swing states in the Electoral College.
All of which raises the question now: Do Obama political aides secretly welcome the criticism from the left? I’ve been checking around, and the short answer - at least for now - is no. Unlike those Clinton aides in the ‘90s, they don’t like the criticism. But I suspect that could change as we get closer to November 2012.