Conyers to Obama: I Want You to Be Better

The Democratic congressman supports the president but isn't afraid to express his frustrations.

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Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

In a speech at the National Press Club on Monday, Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, had a list of criticisms about Barack Obama's presidency.

Among the issues he addressed were Obama's overhaul of the U.S. health care system ("We have not gone far enough"), management of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the extension of tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.

Conyers also complained about the failure of Congress to crack down on gun violence following the attempted assassination of Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (but he did praise Obama for writing an op-ed in the Arizona Daily Star that urged the country to do more to curb gun violence, calling it "an excellent first step").

There's absolutely nothing wrong with healthy debate, and Conyers raises some widely held concerns. But as we approach 2012, isn't it about time for Democrats to close ranks and focus on keeping the White House? The policies of the potential GOP alternatives would call for a lot more than just friendly constructive criticism.

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A previous version of this posting incorrectly used a photo of Roland Burris.

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