Tough but necessary words yesterday about the plutocracy-favoring tax-cut deal from MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann. “It is not disloyalty to the Democratic party to tell a Democratic president he is goddamned wrong,” he notes, “[And] it is not disloyalty to remind the President that he was elected by people to whom he had given a clear outline of what he would do for them” and that me may “not only not be re-elected — he may not even be re-nominated.”

Obama, he said, “negotiates down from a position of strength better than any other politician in recent history.”

N.Y. Times columnist Frank Rich offered a similar opinion two days ago when he noted that “a weak Barack Obama has been spiritually kidnapped by Republicans and is now suffering from Stockholm Syndrome which allows him to sympathize with his captors.”

Appearing recently on MSNBC’s “Jansing & Company,” former CBS newsman Dan Rather called this “a political nightmare for Barack Obama as president…politically, within his own party, if this goes through, Barack Obama will be in a position to have his shirttail on fire, his back to the wall, and the bill collector at the door. Which is metaphorically a way of saying he’s almost guaranteed — if this goes through — to have a serious challenge in a Democratic primary for president in 2012.”

“Rather went on to add that ‘the perception of [Obama] is that he won’t fight for anything.” He also noted: ‘Many of the heavy contributors to the Democratic Party are beyond shock about this happening, and are saying to themselves, ‘This guy…has about four to six months to turn the perception of him and the party around or we’ve got to start thinking about somebody else in 2012.'”

A portion of Matt Bai‘s 12.8 Times story about a possible liberal challenge to Obama in the 2012 primaries notes that “three liberal writers made the case for taking on Mr. Obama in 2012. Michael Lerner, longtime editor of Tikkun magazine, argued in The Washington Post that a primary represented a ‘real way to save the Obama presidency’ by forcing Mr. Obama to move leftward. Robert Kuttner, co-founder of The American Prospect and one of the party’s most scathing populist voices, issued a similar call on The Huffington Post, suggesting Iowa as the ideal incubator.

“On the same site, Clarence B. Jones, a one-time confidant of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., suggested that liberals should break with Mr. Obama now, just as Dr. King and others did with Lyndon B. Johnson in 1968. ‘It is not easy to consider challenging the first African-American to be elected president of the United States,’ Mr. Jones wrote. ‘But, regrettably, I believe the time has come to do this.'”