Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Progressive Challenge to Obama

As many progressives are aware, the California Democratic Party Progressive Caucus recently called for a primary challenge to Obama:

I applaud them. And their action brings to mind President Lyndon Johnson's dramatic March 1968 announcement: "I shall not seek, and I will not accept, the nomination of my party for another term as your President."

I'd like to hear something similar from Obama, delivered early enough that a progressive candidate has enough time to wage a winning campaign. It is his only honorable option remaining.

But I don't expect that. Obama either doesn't really understand how badly he screwed up what was, in 2009, a golden opportunity for implementation of a progressive Democratic agenda --- which, it should be noted, would have benefited the poor and middle class of all political stripes --- or else, he does know full well, that failure was in fact intentional, and he needs a second term to finish paying off what he owes the investment banks and corporate sector for their support in 2008, lest their enforcers leave a horse's head in his bed. Or possibly, as I've said before, he still suffers from "battered politician syndrome", and still believes that if he just tries hard enough, he'll be able to get the Republicans to love him. If so, I can only wonder what it would take for him to actually break free of their abuse.

Regardless of the explanation, my support for him evaporated long ago; as a progressive, it was an exercise in delusional masochism for me to keep wishing that he would demonstrate proper leadership. Back in 2008, "hope" and "change" had a very optimistic, very expansive meaning. Now, after more than two-and-a-half years of absurdly bad presidential leadership, my horizons have become much narrower: I just hope I'll be able to find some spare change under my couch cushions.

As for Republican politicians, no matter how many religious rallies they attend, or how frequent and intense their profession of faith, morally they are utterly bankrupt.

The only reasonable course of action left to those who care about this country is to support a progressive primary challenge to Obama, or a third-party general election candidate. That is the only reasonable course of action, but history teaches us that reason is often thwarted, and decency ignored.

When self-evident truths in matters of basic human rights and social justice are ignored, the course of human events becomes predictable --- though not in the way that government might wish it to be. That was the case for the American Revolution, the French Revolution, and many others. In the national political theater that currently passes for government, the unrelenting assault on the poor and the middle class by the wealthy, the corporations, and their Republican political lackeys, and the mismanagement, cowardice, and complicity shown by Democrats, will most certainly have consequences for the future of both our failing, socially-unjust economy and our manipulated (though ostensibly democratic) political structure. The revolution may or may not be televised, but it will not be controllable.


  1. Excellent commentary. For me, the wheels fell off this administration the moment he announced Rahm Emanual would be his chief of staff.

  2. Thanks for the link to the resolution in PDF, and your post on this important subject.

  3. I agree, Fred, the only hope this country has is for a Progressive to challenge Obama in the Primary and win or a Third Party Candidate to run on an anti-corporate platform. I certainly don’t think, as many Progressives do, that we can afford to wait until 2016.

    I made a comment recently on Reality Chex stating that I believe a group like the National Progressive Alliance is doing the right thing. It is getting itself organised so it can hit the ground running if and when a Progressive Candidate steps up to the plate to challenge Obama or runs as a Third Party Candidate. We can expect a lot of blowback against such a person with lots of corporate dollars behind such an action - which is why the Progressives need to be prepared to help. The corporations think they have the election all sewn up with either the Republican or Obama being THEIR candidate. They aren’t going to like the threat of an anti-corporate populist with grassroot support.

    My feeling is Mr. Lesser of Two Evils (Obama) isn't all that "lesser" these days. In fact, he has been far more effective in fostering the horrible corporate and MIC agendas started by Bush than we could have imagined. Mainly, I believe, because it was hard for Democrats to believe there was such a betrayal in their own ranks and at such a high level. I find I have no sympathy for the Prez nor make any excuses for him. He came into this office with a majority in both houses of Congress and a clear mandate for change. He squandered both from the minute he got into office and has worked in favour of the ultra rich and against the Middle Class from the get go.

    It would be great if Obama would step aside.

    There is going to be a big march in Washington D.C. on October 6. It could be a turning point. Let’s hope lots and lots of people attend and take an active role in protesting the pro-corporate role all three branches of our government have assumed.

  4. Fred,

    I read your comments on Reality Chex and find them very thoughtful and thought-provoking. Just wondering if you might consider joining the discussion at Sardonicky, in addition to RC. I think your input would be valuable and welcome by many of us who comment there regularly and you would find many like-minded travellers.