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Marion On April - 4 - 2011

So the President’s running for re-election. That should come as no surprise to anyone. Most Presidents aspire to a second term. Only natural, and we, as Democrats, should be pleased. Whatever you say, he’s accomplished a lot – more than his previous two Democratic predecessors.

So that’s that then. We should all rest happy in our beds. After all, we have a candidate, ready and waiting for whatever political personage the other side thinks to throw at us.

Only we’re not, are we? Come on, hands up, all you people, allegedly from the Left, who are wishin’ and hopin’ and thinkin’ and prayin’ for a great white hope to rise up from the ashes and primary the President.  Do I hear the Pumas wailing in the wilderness for Hillary to change her mind? How about Alan Grayson? He’s sending out duns for contributions, with the flyer “Elect Alan Grayson” attached – only he doesn’t say for what position he wants election. Do I hear Dennis Kucinich, preaching his interpretation of the Constitution to read that the President needs impeachment?

I was born two years into Eisenhower’s first term. I barely remember Kennedy’s election. I cast my first vote as an 18 year-old for George McGovern in his landslide defeat of 1972, during my first year at college.  I can honestly say that at no time during my adult life can I ever remember a Republican party in such abject disarray and without any cohesive direction or guiding principle other than to undo maliciously any and all previous work accomplished by the Democratic Party, and this President in particular, since the Obama Administration inherited the shitstorm left in the wake of George W Bush and his merry men.

Immediately after the 2008 election, the media, who purport to know these things better than we, pronounced the Republican party dead in the water and rotting. Less than a year later, however, that selfsame media were all over the phenomenon that was the Tea Party like the proverbial bad rash. We know now, even with the debacle that occurred in November 2010, that was all an illusion. They, the media, and their corporate masters wanted us to believe in the power of the populist movement on the Right, even whilst some amongst them were exposing the real corporate roots of the monster, and we swallowed it like a bloated trout swallows bait.

The Tea Party is and was as strong as the media made them. Fox hired their poster girl, Palin, but various and sundry so-called Leftwing pundits, even those who retreat behind a comedian’s mask, constantly gave this willfully ignorant woman more airtime than she deserved, never ceasing to cite her, almost on a daily basis. They leant credence to her shallowness and made her a force to be feared.

Certain areas of the Democratic party, instead of fighting back against the Tea Party and their rhetoric, all of which was based on Big Lie propaganda and the relentless promotion of it, sought to vent ceaseless criticism in the direction of the President, himself, remorselessly for the entire first two years of his tenure. At first, this exercise was piously explained as an effort to show the lock-step Right that the Left was free to criticize their leaders, when they deserved it; that this criticism was intended to be constructive and was entirely for the purpose of guidance. We were “holding his feet to the fire,” making him perform to our specifications. How many times did we hear this explanation?

We heard it so many times that we were unaware that we were actually criticizing absolutely everything the President did or didn’t do, parsing every word he uttered and then screaming every word we demanded that he say, but didn’t. Nothing he did was enough to the point that we got confused about what it actually was he was trying to do, and we confused ourselves to such a point that many of us ended up believing and still believe that he’s accomplished nothing. It’s so ridiculous that many on the Left are so graceless that they’d rather choke than admit when significant achievements are actually attained by the President in the way he sought to attain them.

It’s not the President’s fault that he addresses us as adults and expects us to respond in kind, when the majority of this country are spoiled children dependent upon instant gratification. Change you can believe in is often slow, almost imperceptible change, to the point that such change becomes the norm before anyone originally opposed to it realises anything is different. Slow change means lasting change.

So two years were wasted rounding on the President whilst a fringe element that actually embarrassed normal Republicans ran rampant. They were handed power in 2010, and now a lot of people – possibly many who voted for them – are experiencing buyers’ remorse. Just look at events unfolding in Wisconsin, Michigan and Indiana if you want proof.

Now, the Democrats are being handed what any sane person would recognise as a sure-fire victory in 2012 – a second term for the President, a chance to strengthen the majority in the Senate and to recapture the House.

Not only are the Republicans fielding a veritable ship of fools hoping to vye for the GOP nomination in 2012, they’re actually falling apart at the seams in the House they won last November.

At the moment, the potential Presidential candidate the GOP might offer the people could come from the likes of Sarah Palin, mistress of syntactical malapropism and eternal mean girl; Michele Bachman, history and geography revisionist, who would have us believe that the Founding Fathers didn’t rest until they’d eliminated slavery and that the first shot fired in our quest for independence occured in New Hampshire and not Massachusetts; Mike Huckabee, the “aw shucks” parson, who’d force us all at gunpoint to digest an intellectual diet administered by a sinister Dominionist faux history professor; Mitt Romney, commonly known as “Flipper,” but not as cute or clever; Newt Gingrich, trailing three wives and numerous ethics violations; Rick Santorum, homophobe; Herman Cain, living proof that a black man can aspire to the KKK; and Donald Trump, born-again birthe, corporationmeister and reality television star.

Did I forget anyone? Oh, yes! Tim Pawlenty, or rather PeeWee Herman pretending to be Tim Pawlenty, who panders to the Tea Party by introducing himself as “Tea-Paw.”

Pretty damned sickly, and in a normal world, the current President could easily beat anyone of that motley crew with a modicum of support from his party; but I seriously doubt he has such support – certainly from very few currently in residence on Capitol Hill and definitely not from a particular tranche of his own party.

Too many elected Democrats in both Houses have been too quick to demand that the President interpose himself directly in the job they’re elected to do – legislate. Like everyone else, they’re looking for a weird combination of Mr Goodbar crossed with Big Daddy. And the supporters keep on holding those Presidential feet to the proverbial fire.

We’re less than a week away from the first government shut-down since 1995. Most of us remember that. It left egg on the face of Newt Gingrich and proved, once more, that Bill Clinton really, really was the Comeback Kid.  But Bill Clinton’s not in the White House. We’ve got a President whom his own alleged supporters are too ready to blame for everything that goes wrong, aided and abetted by a shallow and deliberately misinforming media. More importantly, we’ve got a weak and timid Speaker, nursing a drinking problem that’s no real secret and desperately trying to perform responsibly whilst pandering to the fringe minority of his party which is proving to be the tail wagging the dog. If there’s a government shut-down, as much as some of us realise that the fault lies squarely with the intransigence of the Republicans, our media masters, with a little help from various and sundry elected Democrats and a lot of complaining from many of the Progressive base, will only make the GOP’s whine about the shut-down being all the fault of the Democrats a perceived truth.

The events of last week should have been an epiphany for the Left, but it wasn’t. On the one hand, we had Eric Cantor, the second-ranking Republican in the House of Representatives, introduce a bill that not only had a snowball’s chance in hell of passing, but also was blatantly unconstitutuional, as it purported to make legislation passed only in the House become the undisputed law of the land. When Cantor announced to an assembled press corps on Wednesday, his intent to introduce this legislation, not one member of the media covering Capitol Hill shouted out in protest against the total constitutional ignorance of such an act. More importantly, Cantor’s Speaker, John Boehner, stood silently in the background, to the right of Cantor, and expressed no surprise, no disbelief and no consternation at such a wantonly disgraceful act.

Indeed, the only media person who pursued this affront vociferously was Lawrence O’Donnell, who had formerly worked as a Congressional aide, and who obviously knew more about the real Constitution than anyone currently working in the media and certainly any elected official on Capitol Hill. When the bill was introduced on the floor of the House on Friday – appropriately April Fool’s Day – fourteen Republicans recognised it for the non-entity that it was, and voted against it, including such wingnuts as Ron Paul and Louis Gomert, the Gomer Pyle of government.

And speaking of the Pauls, Rand Paul was causing quite a stir, rivalling Dennis Kucinich, in darting to and fro, telling all and sundry about the illegality of the President’s participation in the Libyan no-fly zone initiative. Once again, O’Donnell stepped into the fray, the only media voice reminding people, again and again, that Rand had voted unanimously, along with the other 99 members of the Senate, on March 1st, on Senate Resolution 85, which called for the installation of an no-fly zone, for humanitarian reasons, over Libya. The Resolution was sponsored by such liberal lions as Chuck Schumer and Bernie Sanders. Rand Paul not only voted for this resolution, when an MSNBC producer actually rang his office to query this, she was met by a very young and very adolescent receptionist, being audibly coached in a blatant lie by a senior staffer, trying to justify the Senator’s support for this resolution as something that really didn’t count at all.

Instead of focusing on these totally dishonest and irresponsibly acts by the Republican party last week, instead of bringing them to the forefront in defiance of the media, the Progressive Left still nitpick, criticize and second-guess the President’s every move. It’s now come to the sorry situation that, if they don’t have a media stick with which to beat him about the head, they go about making stuff up. It seems they’ve learned well from Arianna Huffington, as much as they try to distance themselves from the ratfucker that she is. Some – at least one, blogging on the Daily Kos – have taken a leaf from Huffington’s Jayson Blair Journalist of the Year, Sam Stein, and created a potential situation from nothing more than the rantings of one Glenn Beck, who seems to be targeting Presidential advisor, Samantha Power, in a new witchunt.

In a blog posted on Daily Kos on Sunday entitled, “Obama, Don’t You ******* Fire Samantha Power!”, this person ranted and railed against the fact that, on the strength of Beck’s latest obsession, the President might even be thinking about sacking Power, when nothing in the media, not even by Stein, had emerged even speculating about this. And this came in the wake of yet another blogger demanding that Elizabeth Warren mount a primary campaign against the President.

I was weaned on the Democratic Party, by parents born with the Democratic gene as part of their DNA make-up. I seriously don’t know now, which is worse – the Tea Party blindly allowing themselves to guided to perdition by the Koch brothers, or the Progressive Left, espousing a hatred of all things Obama that would rival that of the Teabaggers. We really cannot see the forest for the trees.

If, for some reason, the White House is lost in 2012 – and that reason would most likely be a primary challenge – then the country really is lost. The scorpion is an insect which kills itself by repeatedly stinging itself to death with its tail, and that’s the sort of political suicide being effected by the Democratic party, especially when we continuously miss the lemons being thrown at us by the Republicans at our own expense. If the dark side regain the bully pulpit in 2012, we won’t see a Democratic party in power for a generation, and we’ll be increasingly demonised by corporatists and dominionists, whose intent is to create a theocratic nation of ignorant and undereducated serfs.

But ne’mind … we can always blame Obama.

61 Responses so far.

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  1. BlueStateMan says:

    There are many things that I am at odds with regarding President Obamas policies.. especially his stances on energy. But those who feel that thirty years of lousy monetary policy can be turned around in the blink of an eye need to take a second look.

    Reagan started this betrayal of the middle class with his dogmatic adherence to Neoconservative ideology, the Federal Reserve governors tipping the normal balance in favor of “capital” over “labor”, the “financial sector’ over the ”productive economy”. Jobs were sent overseas as the use of slave labor would forever render the concept of a “living wage” moot, & with that, our middle class was decimated.

    Clinton blew it as well when he endorsed NAFTA & his staggering cowardice in not vetoing the abolition of “Glass -- Steagall”.

    “W” pounded the last nail in the coffin, not creating a single net job in his entire putrid tenure as President..

    It took FDR nearly eight years to mitigate what was ostensibly the same inherited mess, & he didn’t have the most intractable opposition in history that President Obama must deal with.

    Nor did he inherit two ill conceived & illegal wars.

    Things are turning around, albeit not as fast as anyone would like it to, but the damage is at least slowing.

    We can’t move forward until we stop moving backward, which takes TIME.

    Anyone who thinks that the same GOP that created this breathtaking clusterfuck gives a goodgodamn about the working stiff, they’re delusional, and if they think that they will create a single US job, I’ll be looking for them the next time I volunteer at the soup-kitchen.

  2. henlopen says:

    “A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.”



  3. PocketWatch says:

    This quote from West Wing sums it up for me:

    “Because I’m tired of working for candidates who make me think that I should be embarrassed to believe what I believe, Sam!

    I’m tired of getting them elected! We all need some therapy, because somebody came along and said, “‘Liberal’ means soft on crime, soft on drugs, soft on Communism, soft on defense, and we’re gonna tax you back to the Stone Age because people shouldn’t have to go to work if they don’t want to!”

    And instead of saying, “Well, excuse me, you right-wing, reactionary, xenophobic, homophobic, anti-education, anti-choice, pro-gun, Leave It To Beaver trip back to the Fifties…!”, we cowered in the corner, and said, “Please. Don’t. Hurt. Me.”

    I firmly believe that this is what happened to “liberals” a long time ago.

    • KillgoreTrout says:

      And progressives? I said, not too long ago, that I am not really in favor of a distinction between liberals and progressives. I feel it creates another unnecessary division amongst those of us who really want the same thing. A good example of this is the reported dissatisfaction with Obama that many progressives express. They feel that they were lied to and cheated by Obama, but that feeling is their own fault. They didn’t pay close enough attention to what Obama was saying during his campaign. I never saw Obama as being a progressive. I saw him more as a centrist, with a political platform not too unlike Hillary’s.
      I don’t think we have ever had very many genuine liberal leaders in Congress and definitely none that I would call progressive, considering the argument that progressives want more done than liberals.

      • BlueStateMan says:

        For me, the difference between the two is this… “Liberalism” is a philosophy of life.. the way we look at ourselves, each other and our place in the world.

        “Progressivism” is a POLITICAL movement that takes Liberal values (not to mention some GENUINE Conservative ones… individual civil liberties, etc) and directs them through a means in which we can produce societal change. A “MECHANISM” (as opposed to a “machine”) in which our voices can be palpably focused towards governance.

        It is possible to be a Progressive without considering yourself a Liberal (Teddy Roosevelt’s domestic policies and Eisenhower both come to mind).. but it is highly unlikely that you can call yourself Liberal without being a Progressive as well.

    • chasethis says:

      PW--Why?! Oh, why? Why do they cower in corners? Drives me nuts. To paraphrase Anthony Weiner, one of my favorite non-cowerers, “Democrats will bring a library book to a knife fight.”

      • audadvnc says:

        CT -- Why, oh why, do you still believe the Democrats are on your side? Democrats are merely the “nice cop” face of the corrupt, cannibalistic US Establishment. Tim Geithner and his bosses plan to cut your throat and eat you up, no matter which way you vote.

        I’ll quote from a commenter on a YouTube video that analysed that bogus Obama re-election ad;

        “The Obama story was the best, it was a progressive story with systematic changes Amerika needed. Obama has NOT delivered, who the hell is gonna believe his story THIS TIME? Not a chance.”

        Present company excluded, of course…

      • PocketWatch says:

        chase -- That’s an easy one…. lefties are conditioned to see all sides of issues. They tend to respect another POV. So, when someone says “you want to tax us back to the Stone Age,” the tendency is to argue the point and to listen to that idea and at least consider it.

        To someone that has no other POV, and will not allow one to enter their brain, that is a weakness and an opportunity. It creates the APPEARANCE of weakness, of uncertainty. And as we know, many people WANT strong, certain leaders, not someone that thinks things over. That makes ’em nervous.

        So, lefties pause and reflect while they get their throats cut by the RW.

        • chasethis says:

          PW--Of course, you’re right. The question was more fist-shaking rhetorical. I’ve studied (briefly) the real, hard-wired differences between conservative/liberal minds. It’s fascinating, but also a little discouraging to know that they just can’t help themselves. For that matter, neither can we--not that we’d want to.

          • PocketWatch says:

            chase -- I can get behind the fist-shaking angst… As a socialist, you can just imagine MY frustration with just about everyone outside of Bernie Sanders.

    • kesmarn says:

      One of the most frustrating things to me, PW, is the fact that the RW has goals, strategies and tactics that are so completely dishonorable and immoral. Which makes it hard to battle against them without resorting to “fighting dirty,” and in the process, “becoming the thing you hate.”

      Fighting entire wars that are financed “off the books,” looking the other way while Wall Street goes completely unregulated and un-scrutinized for years, giving green lights to people who grossly pollute, straight up lying, rigging elections, outing CIA agents, warrantless spying, all of these are things we’d like to consider not to be in our playbook.

      Can we win this battle with decency, integrity, belief in the rule of law, hard work and a sense of honor?

      • PocketWatch says:

        kes -- I’m of two minds on this.

        On the one hand, I’d like to bitch slap these assholes all over the country, and for as long as possible, and to fry their asses in boiling skunk juice at every turn. I’d love to just turn loose every lie, dirty trick, prevarication, and plain bad assedness on them. I really would.

        On the other hand, I don’t think it would work in the long run. Progressives and liberals don’t have to be saints, but if they descend into the depths that the neocon RW has, then the argument that “they are all the same” becomes true. Maybe they ARE all the same, but I don’t believe it.

        So, we struggle. What model is PROVEN to work takes time and planning and effort. Elect school boards that are socialists. Elect DA’s that are Progressives. Elect mayors and state reps that are Green. These are the back-benchers that in 30 years will be our national leaders. That’s what the RW did, and it worked.

        Not sexy, but that’s the only way.

  4. KQuark says:

    Now we hear the dog whistle rants about how Obama caved on Gitmo trials and kicked the base in the teeth according to the Maddows of the world. I have to laugh anytime I hear the left is the base of the Democratic Party. What real support did the base give Obama and Holder on Gitmo at the time I heard **crickets** from the base because they were mad at him for one thing or another. Seriously I read most of the editorials and listened to the pundits at the time and most of the noise was against the president closing Gitmo and trying detainees in the US. Like I said it’s a failure for Obama but that does not leave me with any allusions to why the president failed. Not only the GOP but the whole Senate voted 90-6 to prevent the president from closing Gitmo.

    Now where are the recriminations directed at the Congress? Hmmmmm…I thought so. “Base” my arse.

    • bito says:

      KQ, one correction. Pudnuts. 😉

    • Sabreen60 says:

      You know, I NEVER hear any comments from the so-called professional left regarding that Senate vote. All I hear is that Obama did not close Gitmo. They are disingenuous and it irks me to no end.

      • KQuark says:

        I saw Holder’s press briefings and he was visibly angry at congress over blocking US trials. This is the last thing he wanted to do but his hands were tied. If the president really had a base like Republican presidents have the progressive base would have pressed congress mercilessly. But that didn’t happen.

        Again where is all the outrage directed at congress? **crickets**

  5. Sabreen60 says:

    Marion, it’s as if you have read my mind. However, you have written this article far better than I ever could

    I hope it’s ok, I posted it on my facebook page. If not, I will remove it.

  6. funksands says:

    Great post Marion. If half of the energy spent teeth-gnashing was instead directed toward getting liberals appointed to judgeships, county commissioner, school boards, and mayors as was spent on lobbying into the void, we’d already be well on our way to seeding a more-liberal future.

    Instead, we use our national figures as avatar, which can only lead to frustration, regret and disappointment.

    Ultra-righties figured this out 30 years ago. We can learn something from them.

  7. majii says:


    This post is fabulous! I also cast my first vote for McGovern in my freshman year of college. What the PL and the frustrati are doing to President Obama is the same thing they did to President Carter when he ran for re-election in 1980. If they were as smart as they wish they were, they’d go back and discover the cost to America because Carter wasn’t re-elected.

    • chasethis says:

      Majii--Seems like so many of the folks who want to see Obama “primaried” were not around to learn the lesson of 1980. (It was the only time I think I ever cussed a Kennedy and I didn’t like doing it.)

      • escribacat says:

        Chase & Majii, I was one of those ready to toss Carter out and got a nasty shock (8 years of Reagan). It was a lesson I will never forget and never repeat.

  8. KillgoreTrout says:

    marion, I have said many times before that those self professed progressives did not pay attention to Obama during his campaign to the extent that they should have. They got all starry eyed by the promise of hope. After 8 years of bush/cheney, they were so desperate for even a glimmer of hope (who can blame them) that they failed to see that Obama was more centrist than progressive.
    In the last 2 years or so, I have had a problem with the distinction between progressives and old school liberals. Is liberalism not progressive enough by it’s self? I prefer the designation of liberal. It seems to me that too many progressives are not as in touch with the real workings of Washington as old school liberals are. Possibly because many of those that call themselves progressive are young people. Nothing wrong with dreamers, where would the world be without dreamers? But we can’t just dream without a basic knowledge of reality.
    I for one would really like to see Obama in a second term. I think he was a little naive going into the presidency, but he is a quick learner. A very intelligent man with a sense of measured calm that is rarely seen these days. At least in politics.
    I also believe that we should always hold our leader’s feet to the fire, no matter who they may be, but there is a difference between holding a person’s feet close to the fire and actually burning their feet IN the fire.

    • KQuark says:

      That has always been my biggest complaint about Obama. He thought it would be easy to close Gitmo, so did I for the record, but it was far from simple.

      • KillgoreTrout says:

        I really don’t know what should be done about Gitmo, KQ. I know we could easily house these detainees in maximum security prisons here in the States, but then what? So many of them are being held without a trial, or even charges filed against them. To me, this is the greater wrong.
        I would think, that some genius in DC or the Supreme Court would have solved this problem by now.
        Are these detainees prisoners of war? Not really, because no war has been declared. It is a pretty screwed up situation.

  9. Khirad says:

    For Rand:


    7) urges the United Nations Security Council to take such further action as may be necessary to protect civilians in Libya from attack, including the possible imposition of a no-fly zone over Libyan territory;

    Well, I feel stupid. Not even I knew about this. His people were correct in that it wasn’t exactly a real vote, but I’m sure someone could have objected to it before hand, that this was pretty pro forma. I’m still not buying Rand’s line. He just got caught being a Senator and not an ideological firebrand, that’s all.

    (Also, they’re arachnids, scorpions are. They get touchy about that distinction before I smash them with the heel of my shoe.)

    • chasethis says:

      Khirad--What about this vote makes it not exactly a real vote? Call for unanimous consent is s.o.p. and any Senator can object and call the vote. Right?

      • Khirad says:

        Oh it was real, but that’s what the Rand people are saying, that he couldn’t have rushed down there in his cape like a hero to object on the floor -- that he had no idea what was in this, (they actually deny no-fly part was in there or that it was only hypothetical).

        I just meant that unanimous consent isn’t usually what we think of when we think of voting in the Senate.

        • bito says:

          Khirad, a unanimous consent vote does NOT even come to the floor without a agreement by both leaderships. If there is a single senator objecting, the vote is either not brought to a vote by leadership or they are on the floor to object.
          For a view from a Rand Paul supporter:
          Rand Paul is full of it on this one. He knew, or should have known, and did not object. The only concession I can give him that was it was a resolution and not a bill.

          • Khirad says:

            Hey, I’m ignorant of this procedure stuff.

            But like I said, that’s kinda how I figured it worked.

            And yes, I think my point would have been better stated as pointing out it was a non-binding resolution, not a bill.

            I’m really not sticking up for Rand on this, btw. Just to make that clear--I was just a little confused on this.

            I think what really happened was that he was caught and smoked out between being Senatorial and trying to explain that to his most ardent supporters.

            And they’re claiming Menendez snuck that part I highlighted in?

            That’s the best they can do?

            And to still claim this wasn’t brought before Congress?

            Okay, I realize that would be a separate deal, but they’ve spoken on this (in the Senate, at least). Given their aye to it, and so they need to STFU in some respects to harping on the decision. Their cry of foul and “moral outrage” is certainly compromised.

            • Khirad says:

              Today I was watching a bit of C-Span from Canberra. Apparently they have their own Kochroach infestation Down Under, as I gathered when debating carbon legislation.


            • bito says:

              Oh, Khirad, I agree with you, he got caught and is attempting to snooker his backers. ( I watch waaay to much C-Span. 😆 )

            • Marion says:

              All this is now done by e-mail, where it was formerly done by phone. If one Senator objects, it goes to the floor of the Senate for debate and a roll-call vote. Rand voted with the other 99. It could be that he was ignorant of the procedure and wasn’t aware of what the resolution stated or meant and just couldn’t be bothered with a debate. In that case, he’s bloody ignorant and shouldn’t be occupying a Senate seat.

              Or it could be that he’s lying through his teeth. Which is totally unethical and not worthy of a Senator either.

              In each case, Rand Paul sucks.

      • majii says:

        Right, chasethis. If Rand had objected, the resolution would have proceeded to the floor of the Senate for debate. The majority of the bills in the Senate are passed using unanimous consent. After hearing about what RP is doing, I spent some time researching Resolution 85 and unanimous consent last night. Rand Paul is to blame if he didn’t know what he gave his consent to. It’s fairly easy to see that the vote on Senate Resolution 85 couldn’t have been called unanimous had R. Paul objected. He’s either incompetent or clueless. I know he’s a ophthalmologist, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he belongs in Congress. I think he gave his consent, was asked about it, decided it wouldn’t look good to his constituents in KY that he’d agreed to anything President Obama and the democrats wanted, then decided to engage in a bit of CYA behavior.

        • Khirad says:

          You know who else is an ophthalmologist?

          Bashar al-Assad.

          Yes, this is how I figured it worked.

          Let’s just say this procedure is used for non-controversial things.

          Uncontroversial, that is, until it can be used as an issue to bludgeon Obama with.

        • chasethis says:

          majii--“He’s either incompetent or clueless.” I think maybe both PLUS he’s lying to his uninformed constituency when he could be coming clean and owning up to his naivete, or mistake or whatever he thinks his vote was. The phone call to his office shown on Lawrence O’Donnell the other night was hilarious and kinda sad. Poor little Kathy.

  10. agrippa says:

    Obama is a responsible adult; he expects that same maturity from others. Sad to say, he will be disappointed. That is why he was elected: to be a statesman, a responsible adult.

    I think that what is necessary is pretty clear: organize. Recruit good, competent and honest progressives to run for office. get them nominated; get them elected. At the end of the day, that is what Obama expects progressives to do. And, he is correct to expect just that. The issue is: will that be done? That issue is in doubt.

    When it comes to it, it is not about politics. It is about governing. Governing is about seeing real problems; seeing real solutions; and, taking real and effective measures toward implementing those solutions. The political class -- professional politicians and the commentariat are doing politics. The political class is not governing.

    If nothing is done, the country faces years of stagnation; no prosperity; no depression. We face years of “blah on steroids”.

    • Marion says:

      Sorry, but Progressive politicians often do not run well in certain parts of the country, and this is the problem the Democrats are facing when Progressives get high-assed about purity tests. A Democrat is a Democrat. We’ve always been a big tent. Indiana is a pretty conservative state, and Evan Bayh left, giving a Republican a seat. There are SIX Southern Democrats in the Senate -- Landrieu, Pryor, Bill Nelson, Kay Hagen, James Webb and Mark Warner. Nelson is up for re-election in 2012, and Webb isn’t running. Moderate Democrats run well in the South, but many of the Progressives are writing the South off. Shouldn’t be that way.

      • bito says:

        Marion, whoa! “Progressive politicians often do not run well in certain parts of the country” does not stop them from running. Will they lose? Probably. are they involved and promote their message? Yes. WE have watched the religious right and the right for many years start with their runs on school boards to state legislatures for years. If you don’t compete you can’t win.

        Evan Bayh is a very poor example. He won on his father’s legacy and betrayed both him and the Democratic party in Indiana.

        I know that “moderate D’s can/do get elected in different districts, I have one, but Evan was a sellout. He screwed the the party, took the money and beat feet, something his father would have never done.

      • KillgoreTrout says:

        marion, I agree completely. I am curious to know how the tea party is viewed in the south. I know that the TPers are big on anti-government rhetoric. Is that an attitude that is more prevalent in the South?

  11. SequimBob2 says:

    Marion: A beautifully articulate post. You touched on a something I hope you will expand upon … “That sort of messianic snobbery is part and parcel of why white working class people moved away from the Dems – …”

    What are some of the ‘other’ parts and parcels that play into this?

    The GOP appears to be doing a better job of messaging than the Dems. Or is it that Dems and Independents rejecting the Dem message — or do they feel little in common with the messengers?

    If indeed the great middle is guilty of voting against their own self interest, as they are often accused, is it that they do not recognize their self interest? (I struggle with this idea.) Or are they rejecting Dem culture more than message and platforms? Do you get the sense that there is a nothing-in-common attitude — or worse, loathing towards Dems coming from the working class?

    I understand why the GOP does what it does. I disagree, but I understand. I can even understand why some on the Left are disappointed and / or disengaged.

    But I don’t understand how so many voters appear to buying into or accepting the we-need-to-cut Social-Security-to-pay-for-tax-cuts message at a time when we are spending incredible amounts of treasure for off-shore wars.

    Frankly, I feel as if I’m missing something fundamental about what’s going on out in the political marketplace.

    Your thoughts welcome.

  12. KQuark says:

    Another choice article Marion.

    I’m a blue collar Dem even though technically I was the first in my family to break out of the blue collar world. The only party that has done or will do anything for the causes I’m interested in are the Dems. The fact is like you said Obama and the Dems in congress have delivered more for the working class than any other group has since LBJ with the ACA alone. Being a realist I also know who has resisted any change at every step and no it’s not the Dems or even most conservadems, it’s the GOP who made their recent platform just to stop any progress or worse now reverse any progress that has been made.

    In a fight you need to have some discernment to where people stand. You have people who are “with you”, “against you” and “persuadable” (which can be totally sympathetic and agree in principle or are just apt to change their minds when given a reason to do so”. 99% of the GOP are in the “against you” category with every issue or policy I believe in for sure. 99% of the Dems are in the “with you” category on most issues and even though too many Dems are in the “persuadable” category on many issues that’s far better than being “against you”.

    Still the bottom line is what have the Dems done for me lately and considering they have an American Taliban to deal with they have accomplished a whole lot.

    • bito says:

      KQ, while being in agreement with much you stated and a believer in cause and effect, the daily changes in the stock market does not effect the the daily sale of liver sausage.
      We can say the Dems “abandoned” the working class, but did the working class do the same to the Dems?
      For years I worked on party politics, but for years I was occupied with organized labor, Union issues, and say the abandonment of them to the Dems. They quit working and began infighting.
      The Teamsters came out for Reagan, the Police and Firefighters voted Republican. The AFL-CIO became calcified, some trades left both the AFL-CIO and any affiliation to the building trades and most definitely forgot/ignored the Democratic Party. They became ” What have you done for me lately? and Where is mine?” Workers enjoyed the benefits of the Union struggles and forgot the struggle. They quit supporting the party, and donations, and the Unions. Where was the party expected to turn to for the money to run campaigns?
      Don’t get me wrong, I had many a ‘spirited debate’ with fellow precinct committee people about the DLC and Clinton, but that is where the party went because of the money. I disagreed with the direction, but I had to agree with the need for donations.
      Workers had left the party.
      I have never left the Democratic Party and am in total agreement with you. As much as I may gripe about them, I do know that the other party is 99% against workers rights.

      • KQuark says:

        I get your point completely and that did happen with allot of the middle class, especially white men with the advent of identity politics which Reagan and his handlers perfected.

        In fact much of what you stated has created the shaky base Dems stand on now which is an amalgamation of the old base (blue class workers) and the new base (college educated elite).

        But I think you can safely say if you lose the blue collar base you end up with the Reagan landslides where if you lose part of the elitist base you can still win nationwide elections like Clinton did.

        The other fact is the elite base has moved far far left on national security because of W. They would be calling what FDR, Truman and JFK did on national security issues war crimes now.

      • kesmarn says:

        b’ito, brilliantly said.

        That is exactly what happened in this area. People who worked in the auto industry, made good money and had good benefits forgot where it all came from. Especially in households where there were two auto workers in the marriage. They could afford two new cars, a boat, snowmobiles, a very nice house. They didn’t feel “working class” any more.

        And they felt that they had gotten it all “through my own efforts.” Well, nobody can deny that these people work hard, but so do motel maids and the guys at the oil change place. And they make $8/hr. The difference was the union, whether they admitted that or not. They “forgot the struggle” as you say. Or worse yet, they never learned about it. It was as though their wages and benefits had existed from the dawn of the industrial era without anyone ever having had to put his butt on the line.

        The richer they got, the more Republican they voted, whether it made sense or not. For whatever reason, they identified with the wealthy.

        In this last election a fair number of union policemen , municipal workers and fire fighters voted Republican because of vague intimations that the Repubs, with their proposed spending cuts, wouldn’t coddle deadbeats, and would go after the “parasites of society.” Little did they realize that when the Repubs were talking “parasites,” they meant them.

        They were stunned and infuriated when the new Governor initiated his slash and burn policies aimed at unions, and was arrogant enough — when they screamed in protest — to say: “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet!”

        This is one demographic that — I truly hope — will not be fooled again. At least that’s what they’re saying as of now.

        • bito says:

          k’es, I don’t pretend to know the “chicken/egg” question, but you are so right. We have discussedand been disgusted with children who parents Union wages and bene’s clothed, fed, paid for the schooling and provided them HC and turn around and vote Republican and say “Unions were needed at one time, but they are a thing of the past….” They may be going after Union rights today, but tomorrow it is all workers rights. Some bloody Lutheran fellow said something about that a few years ago. “First they came for ____ but I was not one of them____”
          I saw it my local Unions when it came time to donate to our Legislative PACS and they did not donate, I also saw the same people ask me why I didn’t do more to stop a bill harming workers. Who quit whom?

          “Bargain collectively or beg separately.”

          • kesmarn says:

            Speaking of famous Lutherans, I was appalled to hear (in the vid that Cher posted: Thom Hartmann on the Koch brothers) that the figure Charles Koch most identifies with is that of Martin Luther!


            Can we say delusional? And grossly misinformed?

            Try Joe Stalin, Mr. Koch.

            (And many apologies for going O/T! 😳 )

            • kesmarn says:

              The Kochs are Pudnuts.

            • bito says:

              k’es, another reason to ‘slap’ them. I think he was against ‘corporate structure.’)
              (yes, sorry about O/T, hope the Admin doesn’t get mad)

  13. chasethis says:

    Wowser, Marion! You hit so many nails on the head, you’ve almost got the remodeling project finished.

    We are the same age. As a high-school, then college student activist, my first presidential campaign involvement and subsequent vote was for McGovern (still one of my heroes). The ’72 campaign was a tough slog in OKLAHOMA, of all places. With my yellow dog parents completely supportive of my dewy-eyed idealism, three friends and I organized a student activist group at our high school. My folks and a few other like-minded parents allowed us to meet at their houses week after week to discuss what our purpose would be and how to achieve it. We began with issues and actions that we thought would get us the best press--the Earth Day “Ditch Your Car and Walk to School Day,” the clean-up of the duck pond at our local zoo (day-break enthusiasm boosted by cases of Boones Farm Strawberry wine, the mere thought of which triggers a gag response to this day), promoting a real “Give A Damn” attitude about our education. (Lobbying to get bad teachers fired proved to be not so popular with school administrators.)

    Within a few months, our Students for Active Concern grew to include hundreds of students and expanded to other high schools. Some TEACHERS joined our cause and helped us focus our agenda, lending us pot-smoking hippies some much needed credibility. We began asking local politicians and representatives to address our concerns at our meetings. Guess what? THEY DID!

    It didn’t hurt that my mother was a newspaper reporter and was always looking for a story. When one happened in her living room, she was eager to cover it--many times to my abject embarrassment.

    Bottom line, it was the most exciting time of my life. We were DOING SOMETHING that had an impact. We were acting en masse, with concensus of our peers and the courage of conviction that seems now to be the near exclusive realm of youth. Perhaps it always was.

    Years have passed. Children, career, cross country relocations, now a couple of grandbabies. Not much time or stomach for activism in the spaces between.

    I did not actively campaign for Obama in 2008. Oh sure, we proselytized on the patio, donated here and there, made certain we and our kids voted. It seems we by and large let America’s youth do the heavy lifting in ’08.

    Not this time. We’ve seen what sitting on our collective hands and asses has wrought and it is ugly. Very ugly. And I don’t blame Obama. I blame us.

    Inspired by the grown-ups in Wisconsin, as well as the outrageously courageous young revolutionaries in the Middle East and Africa, I feel it’s time for us old activists to once again rise up and take a stand.

    I’m itching for a fight. 2012? Bring it on!

  14. choicelady says:

    Marion -- brilliant as always! I fear you are entirely correct in assessing what the so-called “progressives” want: the Great White Hope. If they can’t have Superfly, then they don’t want a measured, thoughtful, analytical and strategic Black president at all.

    Bill Clinton accomplished almost nothing while in office. He’s capable of great personal charm, but his legislative record was not just dismal but responsible for much of the disaster we face today. Why does he get a pass on that while Obama’s accomplishments are thrown away? He always said democracy depended on us -- and too many pontificated but did almost nothing to get where we needed to be.

    America is a centrist nation with progressive tendencies. Always has been. The rise of real progressive action is coming from ordinary working people, as it always has. It is NOT being led by the pontificators who want senseless showmanship such as Obama “being on the lines” with public employees, rather than applauding a real president who pushes programs and laws that benefit us all. WE need to be on the lines -- not the president. We never asked that of any president, until now.

    The people who assert that “we” should take over and make America progressive fail to muster the numbers. We are NOT a progressive nation but a gradualist one that tries to balance every need. The progressive ideals should always be goals for which we strive, but if we don’t honor the worried center who don’t understand what those changes will accomplish -- how they will be helped instead of harmed -- and help them ease toward those positions, then we are merely arrogant elitists just as they claim.

    Obama understands that fear of change. Back when Affirmative Action first began, it was a very sensible program. I wrote the policy statement on Affirmative Action for a state college campus, so I had to bone up on it. It was brilliant -- an inclusionary program that reached out to everyone to give them equal chances to be hired, promoted, paid well. But knee-jerk liberals quickly got cold feet about it and turned it into a preferential hiring program being absolutely unwilling to honor the principles of equality. They feared standing by the principles -- it was so much easier just to fulfill quotas.

    Factually white people were not seriously harmed by that because the percentage of minority people available for positions was very small, but it was the so-called progressives who sneered at equality. One white “progressive” woman announced in a meeting on health care that she did “not care at all about white males” = and this on the heels of a statewide strike by supermarket employees whose benefits were being cut. That included a lot of white males whose health care support was being drastically undermined. That sort of messianic snobbery is part and parcel of why white working class people moved away from the Dems -- and will do so again if all they are offered are pipe dreams, poorly explained programs, fear-generating alternatives that make them worried again about their stability and future.

    Obama’s steadfast commitment to the middle class does appeal to working families since that’s where they are and wish to be. Protecting the future for them has been his strongest theme, his greatest accomplishment. And yet all we hear is how he’s just a “Republican” or that he is in bed with Wall Street (it was Bush who bailed them out, but we forget that) or whatever because Obama understands how fearful working people are that change means they will lose, not gain, more.

    Progressives threw blue collar workers under the bus. They sneer at white ethnic people who celebrate their Polish or Italian or Hungarian heritage, deciding that ONLY people of color matter instead of seeing ALL people as worthy. That contributed substantially to the white ethnic backlash -- there was almost no presence of community organizers or politicians working on economic issues that benefited ALL working people -- until Obama became president. Unions were in the forefront of these issues, but Clinton abetted the demise of same with NAFTA and laws that encouraged offshoring and plant shutdowns. Obama is ending what Clinton only promised in the way of tax subsidies for dumping US industry. Obama is funding manufacturing and small business hiring with strategic tax benefits. He is helping lower income people across the boards obtain health benefits that will make free clinics in horse stables unnecessary. People are beginning to see those benefits, use what is already in process, and build toward a comprehensive system.

    And all anyone in the so-called “progressive” wing can say is that he ‘failed’ to get single payer that nobody understands and for which there were insufficient congressional votes. They dismiss manufacturing because it’s ‘dirty’ and does not benefit their class of people. They continue to throw not just Obama but core Dem constituencies into the gutter then sneer at those who cannot stand the party. Well, sorry -- what did you THINK was going to happen?

    I like Alan Grayson -- his chutzpah appeals to me a lot. I love Kucinich for his unrelenting loyalty to blue collar people. I admire Feingold for his commitment to ethical campaigns. But alone or together, they are functioning with blinders on -- they do NOT understand America and the things that drive voters.

    Obama was elected NOT to be a progressive but to be a statesman. Most of his supporters, not all but the majority, believe in his capacity to accomplish basic things that make their lives better. Not an ideologue but a measured and thoughtful leader is what they wanted and what they got.

    If progressives turn their backs on him in 2012 because they are “too good” to vote for someone far, far better than Clinton (Bill and certainly Hillary)for whom they DID vote, and if we tumble back into the Dark Ages, then we will not see the restoration of democracy in decades.

    The Right is poised for taking over in ways that will alter our judicial system, our Constitution, our social welfare programs -- all for the worse. If progressives won’t vote for a mod Dem for the House or Senate, then we can watch deterioration of our economy, our budget support for those in need, our entitlements. They also are poised to take over the entirety of the “Seven Mountains” of our society. If you think media control is bad now -- just wait. The embedded INEQUALITY in which the Right believes will shut out even moderate liberals from FCC licenses, finance, and free speech in the public square. McCarthyism will rule again. That IS their goal.

    Time for progressives to grow up. Politics is not for juveniles. Too much is on the line for ideological purity to trump rational politics.

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