Revolt Of the Base
Rumbles Of Thunder?
- Why the Tax Deal Confirms the Republican Worldview--CommonDreams.org
Apart from its extraordinary cost and regressive tilt, the tax deal negotiated between the President and the Republicans has another fatal flaw. It confirms the Republican worldview.
- Obama's Tax Cut Debacle: When Compromise is the Enemy of the Good--CommonDreams.org
I think we need a new aphorism or analogy to counter the old saying, Dont let the perfect be the enemy of the good. This is the principle that President Obama has once again offered up, this time after disastrously caving in to the Republicans. .
- What Makes Bernie Speak?--CommonDreams.org
For Bernie, who has served in Congress for 20 years, it was a continuation of essentially the same speech hes been giving since he first emerged as a Vermont third party candidate in 1971. . .
Crashing Our Party?
Obama should be used to taking fire from the right. Corporations, the CEOs and their mouthpieces like Beck and Limbaugh have been directly, or indirectly through their Tea Party footsoldiers, hounding Obama since he won the Democratic nomination. What he may not be used to is dealing with the rumbles of thunder from the Democratic base.
But what did he expect when he announced a compromise to let tax breaks for those who are likley responsible for the econmic mess we're in, and who are likley bankrolling much of his opposition? The argument is that the GOP, in a typical act of obstruction, held the unemployed and underemployed hostage, until their funders got what they wanted. Obama could have easily gone into a sort of campaign mode and explained how this was a case of the powerful holding the people hostage; that the same forces that have opposed so much of his agenda are at it again.
Instead, he turned his criticism on the party's progressive base, the same people who did so much of the ground work for him both in 2008, and to get his health insurance reform passed. Is it perhaps time to consider a progressive challenge in 2012?
For one there would be a need for a candidate. The 2010 elections may have helped to provide two possible progressive standardbearers; former Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold or former Florida Representative Alan Grayson. Both have solid name recognition and strong progressive records. They could likely both rally and motivate the base, and hopefully get Obama back to basics a bit more.
There are two major concerns with this though. One is a threat to party unity. I think this tax cuts debate shows that the rift between the Democrats progressive base and it's corporate wing may not have ever actually healed. Opposition to Bush and McCain may have been the only thing truly keeping the party together. But with the GOP becoming the party of Beck, Limbuagh and Palin, the Democrats may still look more appealing to those undecided.
A second concern is money. What strain would a primary challenge put on Democrats coffers? Likley the progressive challenger would adopt more of a 'netroots'-based approach to fundraising, but some funds would still have to come from the DNC. I saw this happen with Joe Sestak's campaign, where after the primarym he found himself short of funds.
There's one other issue as well. What effect would this have on Obama, would he get the message and return to more populist themes? Would he find himself in a sense running as a moderate republican against whatever far-right voice Beck and Limbaugh anoint as the GOP standardbearer? Someone on another forum invoked Hubert Humphrey, who withstood a progressive challenge and lost to Nixon. Of course, Nixon, would probably not be palatable to those who are drinking that corporate tea.
Progressives feel that they've been left out, yet again. Perhaps it's time to remind Obama who got him where he is. Maybe a progressive challenge is the best way.