The question whether an Obama-era Democratic party may offer opportunities for labor and left-of-center political interests presumes that Obama's Democratic Party offers potential for significant departure from the rightward tacking we've seen since Bill Clinton's presidency. There is little in anything Obama's said or done to warrant such a presumption.
Disillusionment with Democrats is one of the oldest—and most familiar—sentiments of labor progressives. Sadly, the first twenty-one months of the Obama era haven't done much to alter those feelings. Without question, there has been progress on a number of critical issues—economic stimulus, health care reform, financial reform, key appointments at OSHA and the National Mediation Board (which oversees railway and airline labor relations)—which would have been unimaginable in a Republican presidency.