this is a well-written, comprehensive, insightful article. i felt i had a good grasp of our true prospects after reading it. when you’re down far enough, many things you would previously not even have entertained are up from where you’re at
Progressives urged to leave the Democratic Party
The failure of President Obama and the Democrats to check the fiscally irresponsible and socially heartless behavior of House Republicans in the Debt Ceiling debacle, followed by Standard and Poor’s erroneous but financially devastating downgrading of the U.S. credit rating, has put the Democratic Party in its most precarious position in years. Even before the “deal” was struck last week, and certainly in its immediate wake, articles and declarations appeared in both mainstream and alternative media denouncing Obama and the Democrats as having failed poor and working people, as well as the Party’s progressive base. The question now: Will third parties take advantage of the potential exodous of tens of thousands of Democrats from their party, activists and citizens in search of a movement that truly represents their interests, as well as the economic interests of the majority of humanity?
Popular writer and radio commentator Jim Hightower was particularly critical of Obama in a Facebook note Hightower posted this morning:
In his big battle over the debt ceiling, Barack Obama waved his white hankie of surrender, allowing the loopiest of the tea party extremists in the Republican House to slash some $1 trillion from national programs that ordinary Americans count on. Obama’s bad deal also puts Social Security and Medicare at risk, while promising to make our depressed economy (and even the deficit) worse. And he cravenly conceded to the demand by GOP/tea party extremists that tax-dodging corporations, hedge-fund profiteers and the richest 1 percent of our nation’s plutocratic elite keep every dime of their subsidies, tax breaks and other federal giveaways. Not to worry, though, for Obama now says that stage two of the deficit reduction process will be better. The pampered and privileged few, he insists, will also have to “chip in,” and that he’ll be “fighting for” fundamental principles of fairness. But we’ve all seen again and again that this guy “fights” by backing up and begging for compromise. He talks tough about fighting for fairness “next time.” When will next time be now? I know a bit about fighting, having been a small guy growing up in a small Texas town where confrontations often popped up. I learned early on that you should never hit a man with glasses; you should hit him with something much heavier. The heavy “something” that Obama has at his disposal is the fact that the American people are overwhelmingly on his side in this fight. Rather than playing budgetary patty-cake with Republicans in the backrooms of Washington, negotiating over how much of FDR’s New Deal to throw out the window, he needs to FDR-up, get out of Washington, and rally the majority to go after the greedheads and screwballs with a bold program to get America moving again – moving upward and moving together.
John Atcheson added:
The pieces are in place for the Plutocrats final victory … an industry friendly Supreme Court; a Democratic Party that is either in collusion with the plutocrats, or so cowardly as to be neutered; a press that reports outlandish lies and objective facts as if they were equivalent; and a public that is dazed and confused and convinced the government is their enemy.
The satirical newspaper The Onion chimed in, attributing to Obama the statement that the “Debt Ceiling Deal Required Tough Concessions By Both Democrats And Democrats Alike.” In the meantime, The Greens and other progressive parties are welcoming disaffected Democrats (and Republicans) with open arms. San Francisco Green Party activist Jack Wagner suggests that Greens should mobilize and host meetings “in every major U.S. city.” A new Facebook group, “Declare Your Independence from the Democrats!” already has 1,210 members and is growing quickly. Although the group is mainly facilitating internal debates about exactly where to go (debates featuring longtime third party activists as well as freshly disaffected Democrats), the quick growth of the group suggests that more than a few people are taking a good, hard look at alternative politics. Many of the group’s members appear to be entertaining socialist-oriented ideas, a trend which has been slowly but steadily growing in recent weeks.
Third and finally, in response to Democrats’ fear that defecting progressives will guarantee a sweep for the GOP in 2012, we might read the words of Alexander Cockburn at Counterpunch, who speculates, with good reason, I think, that a McCain victory in 2008 would have been better for progressive politics than the disappointing Obama presidency has been:
Indeed, the best outcome for the left in 2008 would have been a victory for McCain, Obama’s Republican opponent. McCain! But, you wail, he would have plunged America into new wars, kept Guantanamo open, launched an onslaught on entitlements, surrendered to Wall Street and the banks…
McCain would have tried all these things, but maybe he would have quailed amid a storm of public protest. Under W. Bush’s two terms the spirit of opposition throve; the antiwar movement flourished; the labor movement was active; blacks militant. Amid a brilliant campaign mounted by the AFL-CIO, Bush’s hopes to gut social programs were dead within months of the start of his second term in 2004. But since 2008 a Democratic president has neutralized all these constituencies.
The many progressives now contemplating walking away from the Democratic Party no longer wish to remain neutralized.