Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Why Progressives Should Run Against Obama and “Blue Dogs” in the 2012 Democratic Party Primaries

Rabbi Michael Lerner

Rabbi Michael Lerner

Editor, Tikkun Magazine
Huffington Post, December 12, 2010 10:43 PM
While making a deal to protect billionaires from $145 billion in taxes that they might otherwise have used to solve pressing domestic problems or to create over 3 million jobs at $30,000/yr., some Democrats and their advisors pointed out that the progressives who dissented from the deal Obama had worked out with the Republican leadership — and which, despite the non-binding vote in the Democratic caucus on Thursday to oppose the deal, is likely to retain most of its giveaways to the rich — had really no place to go in 2012 but to blindly support Obama, so why take seriously all their huffing and puffing about Obama’s list of betrayals?
Sure, they said, Obama had led peace and justice-oriented liberal and progressive movement people to believe he would end rather than escalate middle east wars, punish rather than ignore those who had lied us into the Iraq war and those who had ordered or carried out torture, end discrimination against gays in the military and elsewhere, secure rather than undermine domestic civil liberties and human rights, fight for rather than duck serious changes in immigration and in environmental protection, and insist on at least a public option in health care and lowered prices for pharmaceuticals. But, hey — those people who paid attention to these details were only a small minority, and they would rally around Obama no matter what, giving him no incentive to listen to them. After all, Obama was just being “realistic” about the limitations of his power.

I wondered why George Bush, who came into office without any electoral mandate, managed to fight for and demand his Right-wing program, while Obama seemed unable to even articulate a coherent worldview and kept falling back onto the formulations and assumptions of the Reagan/Bush years about the wisdom of the marketplace and the need to fight an endless war against terror. Spineless to his core, Obama seemed unable to fight for anything — his style was to concede before a battle, except if it was a battle to put down his own progressive and liberal base.

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