Where Do Obama and Progressives Go From Here: Year-End Report

by: Mike Lux

Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 15:00


So the marriage has been a little rocky here after the first couple of years. There's been some whining and screaming and throwing of plates; there's been some flirting with other suitors. But I still believe there is plenty of time to patch things up. Where does the relationship between Obama and the progressive community go now?

The answer will come down to the following things:

1. The response to hostage taking. The president set himself up with progressives, and the media in general, by using the hostage language. Because the president seemed to concede the fight early, and because of the terms of the deal, the perception among my fellow progressives has been that the Republicans got most of what they wanted on the tax cut fight, that the terms of the deal were set by them rather than the President. In other words, by his very own language, he gave into the hostage takers. Now every time the Republicans threaten a showdown -- on the debt ceiling, on the budget fights, etc -- he is going to look weak if he doesn't stand up to them at least in part.

Compromises will have to made in divided government, but who gets the best of the compromises matters enormously. In 1995, President Clinton managed the compromise dance by having protracted showdowns with the Republicans at multiple key moments -- threatening vetoes, delivering vetoes even when they shut down the government. Even on welfare reform, which he eventually signed, he vetoed the first two versions of the bill the GOP passed, forcing real concessions before he agreed to sign it, which made it look like he was in charge.

Obama has to manage fights with Congress so that it looks like they are making compromises on his terms not the Republicans, which is what Clinton did on the budget fight and welfare reform. If Obama looks weak, if he looks like he is folding to the Republicans' main demands, progressives will rebel in a way that makes the tax cut reaction look like it was a big endorsement. The concession to Republicans on the tax cuts will smart for a while, but it will be forgiven if Obama shows strength and guts and resolve in future showdowns. And maybe he should just get started early: announce now that he will not allow the credit and financial standing of the United States to be held hostage, that he will only accept a clean, no amendment extension of the debt ceiling next year.

2. The response to the deficit commission. If the President decides to embrace all of what the deficit commission chairs proposed, including Social Security and Medicare cuts and an increase in the retirement age, all hell will break loose. Based on the conversations I have had with folks in the progressive community, this will be nothing like the tax cut deal, where progressives were actually quite divided because of the urgency of getting unemployment comp extended.

There is nothing in the deficit commission report progressives like well enough to be able to stomach cuts in Social Security and Medicare, the most core components of progressive movement identity. If Obama does this, it will truly be crossing the Rubicon, going on a bridge too far (and every other cliché imaginable). It would virtually guarantee a well-funded primary; it would provoke attack ads by Democratic base groups; it would generate millions in online contributions to groups and blogs to fight Obama. It would be civil war within the Democratic Party, the big one.

Along with the civil rights legislation of the mid 1960s, Social Security and Medicare are the ultimate achievements of the modern progressive movement, providing senior citizens (and the children who take care of them) a modest safety net as they grow older. Progressives will never sign off on cutting benefits for elderly Americans, most of whom make less than $20,000 a year with their Social Security, or raising the retirement age for working class folks who work long hours at demanding jobs if they are lucky enough to get full time employment at all. There are plenty of policy compromises and rhetorical moves to the center progressives could live with: this ain't one of them.

3. The response to the loss of immigration reform. For the last two years, the Obama administration has cracked down on undocumented immigrants, driving up deportations to record numbers. They have argued to Hispanics and progressives that doing this was the only way to get the political cover needed to pass comprehensive immigration, or more recently the DREAM Act.

With the sad death of the Dream Act last week and a far more anti-immigrant Congress coming to town in January, any hope of legislative progress on immigration is dead. Obama making preemptive concessions without getting Republican support on this and several other issues has become a real sore spot for progressives in general, but doing it on this issue is inflaming arguably the most politically volatile part of Obama's base. Hispanic voters turned out in big enough numbers, and voted strongly enough for Democrats, to save a bunch of western Senate, Governor's, and House seats for the party this time around, and they are going to be badly needed to do the same in 2012 for Obama to have a chance in states like FL, CO, NV, NM, AZ, and OR.

If Obama sticks with the tough-on-deportation political strategy while showing no progress on immigration overall over the next two years, it will irritate the entire progressive community, but it will enrage his Hispanic base most of all.

4. Which side is he on? On the most fundamental economic issues of our time -- jobs and the foreclosure crisis -- progressives along with middle and working class swing voters need to be convinced that the president is on their side. Because of TARP, the revelations about AIG's bonuses and paying back banks like Goldman in full, the administration not putting the big banks into receivership or demanding concessions from banks in return for saving them, because of opposing attempts to break up the banks during financial reform, and most recently, because of not supporting a freeze on foreclosures or other strong accountability measures on banks engaged in foreclosure fraud, progressives and middle class voters feel like the administration hasn't held the banks to account, hasn't been on their side when the banks are running roughshod over homeowners and regular folks.

It feels to a lot of progressives and working class folks like the president has fought hard to save the banks, but not for jobs or to help homeowners being victimized by bankers. Nothing would repair the breach between progressives and the White House more than taking actions on the foreclosure crisis that showed they were clearly, strongly, unequivocally on the side of the middle class instead of the banks on this foreclosure. As I have argued before, it is the great sleeper issue in American politics over the next two years. And in terms of the jobs issue, the president isn't going to have much success getting new jobs measures though Congress, but there is a great deal that the executive branch can do to promote a strong jobs agenda, and in every speech the president needs to be pushing everybody -- his own agencies of government, Congress, the private sector, even the non-profit sector -- to have a single-minded clarity about creating new jobs.

Corporations need to be pushed to spend some of last year's record profits on producing jobs. Banks need to be pushed to invest in and lend money to businesses that want to hire new workers. Non-profits need to be given incentives and grant money to help them hire more people. President Obama needs to be seen as fighting for jobs in every single thing he does, and he needs to be seen as taking a stand on behalf of workers and homeowners against banks that are taking advantage of them, and companies sitting on big profits but not hiring anyone.

Today, the president had a great signing ceremony of the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell". His speech was as strong and fired up as anything I have seen in a while. On that issue, it took a long time to get it done, with lots of frustrations along the way, and both the White House and the LGBT community had a lot of tense crabby times with each other. But through persistence and being aggressive, it got done. The president needs to carry that fire and that spirit forward in working with the broader progressive community. There aren't going to be a lot more clear progressive legislative victories over the next couple of years, but the President has plenty of time to rebuild the singed and broken bridge to the progressive community. He needs to show strength in dealing with the Republicans; he needs to not embrace things that progressives hold most dear; he needs to not move to the right on issues when there is no corresponding concession from the other side; and he needs to make crystal clear whose side he is on. That is not going to be easy with the Republicans running the House, and the David Broder's of DC constantly calling on him to move to some kind of mystical DC center with Republicans who keep moving the goalposts back. But this President still has plenty of opportunity, even in a divided government that will call for some compromise, to show progressives he is on their side in the things that matter the most, and they should be on his.

No president has ever won re-election with an estranged base, because it is a president's base that fights your battles for you, that stands with you and defends you when times get tough and the other side is on the attack, that gives you money and knocks on doors for you and talks neighbors and co-workers into voting for you. Mr. President, you can get your base back and you need to. If you show you are on our side, we will be on yours.

Mike Lux :: Where Do Obama and Progressives Go From Here: Year-End Report

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The relationship is headed for Divorce Court. (4.00 / 10)
We've spent the last two years in marriage counseling, but the bastard won't stop hitting on other women. Nor will he stop the abuse he visits upon us when he is home. In two years, all we have to show for this relationship is DADT Repeal and only at the cost of more Class Warfare, Democratic Style. This just isn't working out and the kids are totally Whigged Out.

If the President decides to embrace all of what the deficit commission chairs proposed, including Social Security and Medicare cuts and an increase in the retirement age, all hell will break loose.

Um, it was HIS commission and he appointed both chairs. Why on earth wouldn't he fully embrace what they spewed forth? He's already got a dozen or so people lined up in the Senate to take this on and the GOP controls the House. How very convenient that election turned out to be for Obama's own agenda, eh?

But don't worry. Hell won't break loose. The Veal Pen will be there to abuse anyone who fails to see how totally reasonable Obama's wishes are. The Party Leadership (including Pelosi) will be good soldiers and will help Obama achieve his goal of making the infirm and the elderly as bloody poor as he can make them. They'll put on a dog and pony show to make it seem like some kind of "battle," but in the end, the result will be predetermined per usual. Then we'll be told to keep giving them money and energy, because the GOP is just so darned much worse. Wash, rinse, repeat... until it doesn't work anymore.

"The Left" refuses to get out of identity politics and into Solidarity mode. For this reason alone, the "left" will fail miserably and Leadership knows this. That's why the Veal Pen exists. It's just Pest Control.

Mike, if you don't understand Obama's agenda by now, I seriously doubt you ever will. That's your right, of course, so I can't fault you for that. But Obama & Co, Inc. are going to destroy the Democratic Party, so I don't understand how you can be OK with that nagging detail. The thought occurs that you were a Democratic activist long before Obama ever entered politics and that just maybe, you might put all that ahead of the fortunes of one person.

"More than any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly." -Woody Allen, My Speech to the Graduates


I may not want divorce court yet, but I want to leave marriage counselling (4.00 / 3)
Maybe not even a real separation.  Just the cold shoulder. There will be lots of other good Democrats who need help in 2012.  

I'm not sitting on my hands, but my feet will be elsewhere.

"Incrementalism isn't a different path to the same place, it could be a different path to a different place"
Stoller


[ Parent ]
They only passed dont as dont tell (4.00 / 4)
because they need more cannon fodder.  It will take much more than that to get me back in the fold.  That means some basic respect for the new deal.  The working class is my number one priority.

My blog  

Don't forget (4.00 / 2)
Don't forget the role played by courts, either.  I'm sure the Pentagon and the government would still be glad to dick around on this issue if people hadn't sued over DADT and got the courts involved.  All of a sudden you had generals pleading with Congress to get this done so they wouldn't have to be forced to do it by judges.  

[ Parent ]
Perhaps you should review the list of accomplishments put together by Rachel Madow (0.00 / 0)
of this President in his first 2 years, which include a boatload of progressive accomplishments, maybe not all as high profile as you would like, but they are there.  It is very funny to me that the narrative on here would make you believe that liberals and progressives are up in arms and abandoning the President.  The polls just don't show this, and not do my discussions with my progressive/liberal friends.  The fact that we could not get everything on our wish list is just silly in today's political environment. You need to remember that, even though Democrats held majorities, there were many Democrats in both the House and Senate that chose at certain times to side with Republicans, making it virtually impossible for the President to get everything he wanted.  If the so-called liberal base decides they want to take their toys and go home in 2012, then they deserve a Republican President and can sit in their play pen in the corner all by themselves for the next 8 years after that.  And don't tell me there is no difference between a President Obama and ANY Republican candidate, because its just not true.  

Funny (4.00 / 3)
"It is very funny to me that the narrative on here would make you believe that liberals and progressives are up in arms and abandoning the President."

Well someone is abandoning him.  Did you see how the mid-term elections turned out?  Not good.  And the last time a party suffered such a hammering in a mid-term, they lost the presidency 2 years later.  

It's all well and good for people to answer their phone and say "I approve of the job he is doing."  But it takes a lot more than that to get re-elected.  And Obama isn't going to get it.


[ Parent ]
No question that lately in this (0.00 / 0)
lame-duck session, O has been racking up some good scores with progressives which might cancel out, for the moment at least, his perceived poor showing on the tax cut deal.  

DADT repeal, START, the good fight for 9-11 responder aid, and one or two other things -- a positive sign of what O could get done when he finally put his shoulder into it, with a little assistance from the clock and calendar.

Would that he had taken timing and his own positive momentum into better account in his first few months wrt a much more robust stimulus bill and HCR, back when he was politically virtually on top of the world.  Even the rather crude and uneducated Lyndon Johnson knew that you strike when the iron is hot -- ideally coming out of a strong election victory -- because after that the oppo increasingly gains the advantage.  


[ Parent ]
Tax (4.00 / 1)
"his perceived poor showing on the tax cut deal"

"Perceived"?  Most working people will see their taxes inch up so millionaires can get a break, and you think his failure is one of perception?

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/...


[ Parent ]
Who said it was merely perception? (0.00 / 0)
There is the negative outcome as you note, but I had in mind an overall political evaluation of the various bills that have been passed lately and are connected to O, and in that assessment perceptions by the public and his liberal base, especially O's ability to negotiate successfully or not, are more relevant as opposed to some of the details of a multi-faceted mixed-bag tax bill.

[ Parent ]
Kinda tedious dealing with the mentally challenged? eh??? (0.00 / 0)
[ Parent ]
No need for that (4.00 / 1)
Now now, there's no reason to question someone's mental competence.  A person can say something foolish--like excusing away tax increases on struggling working people while rich people get generous bonuses with brouhaha like "multi-faceted" and "mixed bag"--without being foolish themselves.  

Trust me:  plenty of hard-core Obama supporters have questioned my own mental strength, so I know it does no good.


[ Parent ]
AAAhhhhhh so sorry (0.00 / 0)
I always forget that on Progressive blogs there is no humor if there is any remote possibility it might be at someone's expense.  Shame on me.  

"Oh. My. God. .... We're doomed." -- Paul Krugman
http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.c...">http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.c...">http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.c...


[ Parent ]
No humor!!! (0.00 / 0)
Well, it's not anyone's fault that sarcasm is hard to detect on the internet.  

Experiences differ, but I've found that most people who call someone "mentally deficient" aren't joking.


[ Parent ]
Is START much of an accomplishment? (4.00 / 1)
It certainly is important and a good thing to get it passed, but wasn't every ratification of the similar treaty 2-3 times previously done with overwhelming support? By overwhelming support I  mean like 90-10 in the Senate. It looks to me like he's skillfully and intentionally making this accomplishment in particular look like more of a landmark than it should be.

[ Parent ]
I haven't been following the issue closely (0.00 / 0)
but thought this was more Dick Lugar's accomplishment than the Administration's.

[ Parent ]
Rachel (4.00 / 2)
"Perhaps you should review the list of accomplishments put together by Rachel Maddow"

Oh, you mean Wall Street reform (that won't change anything and isn't even funded yet), the Affordable Care Act (as if forcing people to buy insurance from horrible companies when they can't even afford the deductibles is progress), the Recovery Act (what recovery?), the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act (unemployment is the worst it's been since the Great Depression but at least those lucky enough to have jobs won't face pay discrimination!), and reorganizing the MMS (boy, that sure worked out well!  just ask the Gulf Coast), and cutting a few unnecessary weapons programs (but still increasing the size of the "defense" budget)?  That list?

Gosh, I wonder why so few people voted for Obama's agenda in 2010?


[ Parent ]
But, we already have a Republican president! (4.00 / 7)
Wish list? We got DADT Repeal and that's it. As for Obama's Wish List, it seems he got everything he wanted and what he didn't get thus far he looks to get next year, when they gut Social Security.

The polls right now are not relevant. Most Americans, for example, don't understand that Obama's Tax Cut "compromise" will cut funding to Social Security. The result of that, then, is that SS shortfalls will have to be made up through the General Fund... which will then make SS a deficit issue. Guess what Obama wants to do with the deficit? Nor do people understand this deal will damage the economy, not help it.

So just wait. This year 29 million Obama voters stayed home, presumably because they're so very happy with this administration and the Democratic Party in general. If that's a formula for success, then by all means, knock yourself out.

The only difference between a GOP President and Obama is one of style. A Thug president doesn't need to lie to his own base about his motivations, no matter how nasty they are--they just serve up some red meat and everything's okay. Obama does, because he knows his policy priorities are the opposite of what his electoral base VOTED FOR.

Bottom line: When it comes to fighting for right-wing policies, Obama fights in the affirmative, against his own party base. When it comes to doing anything that would be consistent with his campaign, he sells out. Not compromise, Sell Out.

But as I've said before, this isn't about Obama per se. He's just he current King Of The National Shitpile and he's quite content to do the bidding of those that made this country a shitpile in the first place. His Republican successor will be nastier, but the actual policies won't be terribly different. Endless war, domestic oppression, domestic economic depression, torture, right-wing coups in Latin America, bad environmental policies and basically letting corporations run the government by proxy, for their own purposes.

Are there differences? Sure. Do they actually matter? NO.

"More than any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly." -Woody Allen, My Speech to the Graduates


[ Parent ]
Actually they do matter (4.00 / 4)
It's even worse if a Democrat is responsible for dismantling Soc. Sec. and Medicare.  I'd rather see a GOP President do it.  Then maybe Democrats would have a reason to fight it.  

"Oh. My. God. .... We're doomed." -- Paul Krugman
http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.c...">http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.c...">http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.c...


[ Parent ]
that's because you don't understand the real impact of all his compromises (4.00 / 7)
They don't begin to balance with the damage they will do in the future...

The tax cuts make the for the draconian cuts to domestic programs and Social Security inevitable. After all the Carfood Commission is his commission.  You may not knw he set it up as a presidential commission after Congress voted it down.  Why wouldn't he endorse the dracoian, anti middle class measures of the commission he su up and whose members he mostly chose?  None

These victories like the health care bill won't control premiums enough that it will be seen by Americans as a succuss...It will not control health care costs enough not ot drag Medicare further under nor help with the international competitiveness of American business.  They are victories in name only.

If Obama had led strongly from the beginning those Democrats  you blame would have gotten in line and passed better stimulus and a better health care bill.

The question is did he want better?  

I think the creation of the Catfood commission proves he didn't.

The idea that you compromise is fine but not when the other side gets things they want that totally undercut your ability to ever get what you want.  

But keep your rosy glasses.....The truth is blinding.

"Incrementalism isn't a different path to the same place, it could be a different path to a different place"
Stoller


[ Parent ]
Great post, Mike, (0.00 / 0)
especially points 1 and 4, and wrt #2 I am still just stunned that a Dem perceived easily to the left of Ben Nelson and Joe Lieberman, and allegedly in the lib tradition of FDR and JFK, seems to be lining up to make a totally unnecessary political blunder of major proportions re cutting SS and Medicare.  If he does so, he'll be shooting himself in the foot far worse than anything Jimmy Carter did in the 70s.

Re your #4, I can't imagine how he could be re-elected with UI around 9% or more and with the housing situation still in a major slump by 2012 -- possibly only a huge nat'l security crisis successfully resolved, combined with the GOP nominating a nut or frivolous nominee, could pull his political chestnuts out of the fire at that point.  And yes, there's always a fair to good chance that the Repubs will help him out on that score.


Mike I applaud your optimism (4.00 / 5)
But I don't share it.

The commission was his creation even after Congress killed their own version.

These bills - DADT, Zadroga, Start - would have passed on their own.  These are bill with moral imperatives.  And the Repubicans would have and have been unable to resist the moral condemnations of being against them.  Unemployment insurance was certainly in that category.  The person who dangled the hostage was Barack Obama. Umployment Insurance would have also passed by itself.

He has done terrible damage for next to no gain.  the tax cut trade a bad deal - on purpose or not.

BUT THAT TRADE WAS SOMPLETELY UNNECESSARY

But what passing these bills proves is that they could be passed. Obama didn't pass DADT on his own for instance, Congress did and he LET THEM.  He didn't pass Zadroga, Congress passed it.  He just got out of the way.  Start he wanted and worked for. It was always going to pass.  The people sponsoring these deals should be grateful he didn't decide to include their bills to get his tax cut deal.

So the trade was completely, totally unnecessary.

These all are morally imperative bills. Enormous political and social pressure has overcome Republican resisitance on these above bills.  The same enormous moral prossure would have overwhelmed them on the issue of the Unemployment Insurance Extension and it would have passed on its own. There was no need to destroy the economic base of the welfare state and Social Security in particular to pass a bill that would have passed by itself...

He wasn't playing 11 dimensional chess and winning. He played checkers and lost. These other bills would have passed no matter.  Remember he undercut both Pelosi and Reid when he treated the fact that the House passed the middle class tax cuts alone as irrelelvant.  He gave Harry Reid nothing to work with.  With these other bills he didn't get in the way.  And if he had let them do what was needed we would had gotten unemployment insurance and even middle class tax cuts. (Which those who read this site know that I felt should all have been allowed to expire)  

"Incrementalism isn't a different path to the same place, it could be a different path to a different place"
Stoller


US morality AWOL (0.00 / 0)
You're talking about morality in a nation where the government
ended aid to the desperately needy in order to use those taxpayer dollars to pay the tax bills of the rich/corporations?
Whose response to the suffering of homelessness isn't outrage at the absence of a social safety net (like the modern nations have), but outrage at the sight of so-untidy-kinda-threatening  poor?

[ Parent ]
Things will become clear soon, I hope (0.00 / 0)
Mike: I love your columns. I waver back and forth between despair and hope and you always express the hope side well in that you acknowledge the problems rather than rationalize them, but you still find ways to be constructive. One of the problems progressives face is avoiding a descent into genuine hopelessness. I spent a lot of time there during the Bush years - I was so thoroughly appalled. It seemed, when Obama was elected, that the nation had learned something and that we would actually be going forward. It hasn't turned out that way -- people will argue endlessly about the whys and why nots but it's a pointless argument. The bottom line is that the euphoria of January 2009 is long, long gone. Our dilemma becomes finding ways to acknowledge real disappointments without becoming numb, dark, angry, self-destructive, and ultimately ineffective.

Obama's saving grace to date has been that he manages to pull just enough off, just often enough, to remain viable. Since he is mostly uncommunicative we're never sure where things are going to land and thus doomsday scenarios get bandied about. Typically, what we actually get is "kinda good, kind bad", but never "the worst". Obama gets strokes for avoiding the worst, we feel some relief for awhile and then the next crisis starts.

I don't think Social Security will play out that way, though, who knows?

My greatest fear there is that whatever he does it will be bad but just barely tolerable so that, while I can't support him anymore, I feel some lingering doubt. I'm really really tired of feeling ambivalent. I would like him to either firmly do the right thing, or firmly screw us, thus freeing me from indecision.

I would like to feel a surge of support for him again, particularly going into 2012. Or I'd like to firmly reject him and be able to wholeheartedly support a challenger.

We've been blackmailed for so long by Democrats -- we've been given the "better than the alternative" choice to the point where it becomes hard to care at all. Emotionally I would rather face definite catastrophe instead of continuous uncertainty and the drip drip drip of things getting slowly but inexorably worse.

Anyway, my hope is that the die will be cast soon and we will truly know where we stand.  


I think it's sad (0.00 / 0)
That you have to be "firmly screwed" to realize you need a better option.  Perhaps when you've lost your job, lost your house, your mom and dad die of starvation after losing their Soc. Sec. and Medicare, and several of your young relatives are killed in Afghanistan you'll lose that indecision!

"Oh. My. God. .... We're doomed." -- Paul Krugman
http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.c...">http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.c...">http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.c...


[ Parent ]
Dying slowly is not preferable (4.00 / 2)
We've been blackmailed for so long by Democrats -- we've been given the "better than the alternative" choice to the point where it becomes hard to care at all. Emotionally I would rather face definite catastrophe instead of continuous uncertainty and the drip drip drip of things getting slowly but inexorably worse.

And this is why, for the first time in my life, I'm considering voting for someone other than a Democrat - at least for president - in 2012.

It's one of those Warsaw ghetto resistance, a choice of how to die, kind of things.

The MSM has tagged Independents the party of swing-voting 'centrism.' If Democrats no longer represent your liberal values, show America there is still a Left by registering for another left-aligned party.


[ Parent ]
So, organize (0.00 / 0)
If we really gave a damn, it seems to me that we would organize a real march on Washington -- a Poor People's/Workers' March (these two groups endlessly intertwine, contrary to what our MSM would have us believe).  Not the sort that requires people to find an extra few hundred dollars for bus fare to Washington, lodging, etc., applying for permits/obtaining permission to exercise our freedoms of assembly and free speech, but the kind that was managed by every generation until now. Just people, knowing that we are ALL on the edge of losing whatever we still have left, knowing our lives actually are at stake, pitching in together for the survival of We the (Ordinary) People.

If we won't/can't even do that, then it's time to shut up and accept what we have allowed.


[ Parent ]
New boss, same as the old one (0.00 / 0)
I don't think it's possible to understand the Obama administration without putting it into the context of modern (post-WWII) history.
We have most significantly seen the toxic impact of Reaganism on today's generation in the "dumbing down of America." This strategy has been powerfully effective in the US -- and has been absolutely essential to turning our democracy into a plutocracy. It was vital to turn the working class against the poor, the middle class against the working class, the rich against the middle class, and this has been accomplished.  It was the ONLY way to prevent an organized public from fighting current political trends.  I have so desperately wanted to believe that Obama represents a new generation with new priorities and goals, but have had to conclude that the only people who would have even a chance at becoming president are those who follow the same corporate agenda. As long as we refuse to organize -- by the tens or hundreds of thousands -- to end current practices, the very last of America's freedoms and wealth will go solely to a handful of the Deserving Rich. Only one thing is required to turn us into a solidly feudal state; a public that refuses to fight back.

[ Parent ]
Mike, you're a great guy (0.00 / 0)
But you have all the symptoms of an abused wife.  I find it hard to believe that someone as smart as you keeps saying this stuff.  

"Oh. My. God. .... We're doomed." -- Paul Krugman
http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.c...">http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.c...">http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.c...


I know (0.00 / 0)
Really, Mike, what would it take for you to give up on Obama?  

[ Parent ]
Mike, old Jewish saying: (4.00 / 1)
"From your mouth to God's ear." We'll see where that gets us.

Save Our Schools! March & National Call to Action, July 28-31, 2011 in Washington, DC: http://www.saveourschoolsmarch...

Mike, I love ya, but (4.00 / 2)
you are wrong about what will happen when Obama sells us out again and works to cut Social Security.

Lots of folk who call themselves liberals and or progressives will cave and find some reason to support Obama.  They will be the same folk who called themselves liberals or progressives and supported the war, voted for it over and over, supported the attack on teachers, and found a way to champion the tax deal.

They bring out the big guns to attack us and call us whiners.

Have I become cynical?  

Educate, Agitate, Organize, Mobilize, Act!


embrace all - try any! (4.00 / 1)
How out of touch can you people in Washington be?   He just gave tax cuts to billionaires, and you think we intend to accept cuts?  Endless money for endless wars, taxcuts for billionaires, Wall Street bailouts and you say "all".   ROFLMAO.   You guys need to climb down out of your ivory towers and get a real job.  Christ, Jon Stewart had to embarass all of them to even do anything about first responders.  Obama my ass.   Jon Stewart for President.


Just got my annual 18% increase in my health insurance premium (4.00 / 1)
Mike, you forgot to mention that Pres. Obama not only dismissed single-payer out of hand, but declared that the public option wasn't important early in the negotiations.  Meanwhile, he was reassuring big Pharma that there wouldn't be imports from Canada and giving the health ins. companies and drug companies a lot of what they wanted (or could work around.)  Right now, I'm paying a monthly $401 premium for a $10,000 deductible with a $3,000 co-pay.  Some health care reform!

It's hard for me not to see Obama as a bait-and-switch candidate (campaigned as a semi-progressive with a lot of progressive views and policy advocacy ---- is governing as a mostly corporatist DLC neoliberal "free" market/"free" trade/er with a bit of Keynesianism thrown in, but not much.)  Remember:  he hired Geithner and Summers immediately upon election, and  he's been very good to Wall St. since then.  Sure, we can pressure him, but he's dismissed us as the "professional left."  Now come on....


silly (4.00 / 1)
I don't believe Obama and Progressives are going anywhere -- at least, not together.  Maybe some country club liberals, but not working-class progressives. Just as it took a Democratic Party president, Clinton, to wipe out the Great Society agenda that was responsible for so much comparative prosperity among the working class, there is concern that another Democratic president, Obama, will be the one to take an ax to the New Deal, which should effectively finish off the middle class. But no complaints -- we're getting what we asked for.

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