Monday, September 05, 2011

The Rumblings Among Progressives Get Louder: Obama Must Go!

Yes, the rumblings on the Left about dissatisfaction with the president and the need for a primary challenge continue to grow on Prez Zero's approval ratings head south with no end in sight.

Über-Lefty Matt Stoller at Salon
argues that President Obama is wrecking the Democrat party and is headed for a Carter-esque defeat:

Obama has ruined the Democratic Party. The 2010 wipeout was an electoral catastrophe so bad you'd have to go back to 1894 to find comparable losses. From 2008 to 2010, according to Gallup, the fastest growing demographic party label was former Democrat. Obama took over the party in 2008 with 36 percent of Americans considering themselves Democrats. Within just two years, that number had dropped to 31 percent, which tied a 22-year low.{...}

If would be one thing if Obama were failing because he was too close to party orthodoxy. Yet his failures have come precisely because Obama has not listened to Democratic Party voters. He continued idiotic wars, bailed out banks, ignored luminaries like Paul Krugman, and generally did whatever he could to repudiate the New Deal. The Democratic Party should be the party of pay raises and homes, but under Obama it has become the party of pay cuts and foreclosures. Getting rid of Obama as the head of the party is the first step in reverting to form.

So why isn't there a legitimate primary challenger to Obama to make this case? Forty years ago, primaries were instituted in the Democratic Party as a response to party insiders having too much influence over nominations. These reforms were implemented before the prevalence of money in politics was as extreme as it is now. At this point, primary challenges are so expensive that a serious 2012 campaign would ironically require support of party insiders for viability. The party, inflexible as it was in 1968, is perhaps even more rigid today. As a result, no candidate has stepped up to challenge Obama in a primary, even though 32 percent of Democratic voters want one.

This is an institutional crisis for Democrats. The groups that fund and organize the party -- an uneasy alliance of financiers, conservative technology interests, the telecommunications industry, healthcare industries, labor unions, feminists, elite foundations, African-American church networks, academic elites, liberals at groups like MoveOn, the ACLU and the blogosphere -- are frustrated, but not one of them has broken from the pack. In remaining silent, they give their assent to the right-wing policy framework that first George W. Bush, and now Barack Obama, cemented in place. It will be nearly impossible to dislodge such a framework without starting within the Democratic Party itself.

In other words, party inflexibility has a price. If the economy worsens going into the fall, and the president continues as he has to attempt to cut Social Security, Democrats might be facing a Carter-Reagan scenario. Reagan, at first considered a lightweight candidate, ended up winning a landslide victory that devastated the Democratic Party in 1980. Carter wasn't the only loss; many significant liberal senators, such as George McGovern, John Culver and Birch Bayh, fell that year.{...}

If a few of the key constituency groups in the Democratic Party publicly wondered whether Obama should run for reelection, rumblings would start. Some organized constituency groups -- say some components of the AFL-CIO -- would need to announce that their support is up for grabs, based on a clear set of criteria. Given the Obama administration's rampant anti-labor policies, this wouldn't be an unreasonable posture. And then a senior politician, like, say, a Tom Harkin, would need to decide that he would want to encourage robust intra-party debate about the party's future.

Believe it or not, I have to give Stoller credit. What he's talking about is an end to 'triangulation' - most of us would call it lies and deception - and for the Left to honestly present its program to the voters. Of course, that won't happen because if the Left was actually honest about how it felt about America and what it wanted for the country, they would remain at permanent minority fringe status.

Actually Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), that well-known war hero and proponent of seizing private pensions, high taxation and ObamaCare would be a perfect candidate for the Democrats as Stoller envisions them.

There are a great many progressives that agree with Stoller,based on the comments and the Facebook likes. Alas, there are also a few problems.

The Democrats and their supplicants in the media have spent a lot of time and energy demonizing anyone who criticized or opposed President Obama as a racist, and that even included the Clintons. It's going to be almost impossible for any figures of importance within the party to oppose Obama without having that two-edged sword turned right back on them unless they run someone like Maxine Waters or James Clyburn, which would certainly provide an interesting spectacle. I'd certainly be interested in hearing from progressives on potential candidates.

The Democrats also need an almost monolithic black turnout with decent numbers in order to be competitive in the urban districts where their strength is concentrated thanks to years of racial gerrymandering. Taking on President Obama would not only alienate a part of that vote, it might even get a number of black Americans questioning the status quo and thinking about where their best interests and opportunities lie, get them, to paraphrase the words of Rep. Alan West 'off the plantation'.

Another problem, as Stoller alludes to lies with the established power brokers in the party. Take the unions for instance. If the SEIU or Truka's AFL-CIO or the public employee unions put their bankroll behind a challenger to the president, not only are they essentially flushing the millions they've already spent to get Obama elected and buy influence but if their chosen protege' loses, his or her backers are going to face the wrath of a president who has already shown how thin-skinned, nasty and vindictive he can be.

Finally, if there's going to be a serious primary challenge, the new candidate is going to have to convince the party insiders. Barack Obama got the nomination in 2008 because the super delegates were unwilling to lose the black vote,George Soros' money and organizations and the support of the rabid progressives who saw in Candidate Obama all that hopey-changey good stuff. If the super delegates weren't a factor, Hillary Clinton would likely have been the nominee.

For all that, dumping Obama may be the only way to save the Democrats, even if it means losing an election. Stoller at least realizes that, but understands that it might preserve the party's validity so they can fight another day.

All kudos to Matt Stoller for espousing an honest progressive stand in politics. I agree with him on that, even if we probably wouldn't agree on much else.

please helps me write more gooder!

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