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Obama and the Progressive Paradox

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Posted on Sep 29, 2010

By E.J. Dionne, Jr.

A couple of hours before President Barack Obama offered a boffo revival of his 2008 campaign persona during a boisterous rally at the University of Wisconsin, Sen. Bernie Sanders was analyzing why the president was in a political pickle in the first place.

Sanders, the independent from Vermont who caucuses with the Democrats, speaks warmly of Obama. But unlike the man in the White House, Sanders actually is a socialist and believes devoutly in grass-roots, class-based politics.

And it is his faith in the power of a progressive movement organized around a clear set of commitments that lies at the heart of Sanders’ critique of where the president went wrong.

“Think back to two years ago,” Sanders said during an interview in the only Senate office decorated with a medallion of Eugene V. Debs, the legendary American Socialist leader. “There were rallies involving 80,000 to 100,000. Obama was running the best campaign I’ve seen in my lifetime—and I’m pretty critical.”

“Why are we where we are today?” he continues. “The most serious mistake the president made was not, in a sense, continuing the thrust of his campaign, and forgetting all he accomplished.”

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Sanders does not discount what Obama and congressional Democrats achieved through the economic stimulus, health care and financial reform. But he argues that by replacing a mobilizing approach and clear progressive goals with an insider strategy aimed at compromising with a few moderate Republican senators, Obama deactivated his own enthusiasts. These are the very people the president was trying to motivate in Madison.

“While Obama and the Democrats have a large number of achievements, it was not enough,” said Sanders. “We needed to be bolder.” 

Yet Sanders will do all he can to help Democrats win this fall, and therein lies the paradox for progressives. It’s true that many on the left are frustrated with White House calls for them to buck up and grow up. Jane Hamsher, who blogs at Firedoglake, sees the administration’s taunts as setting up the left as a “fall guy” if Democrats lose.

But progressives keenly understand how much their aspirations would be set back if an increasingly right-wing Republican Party wins one or both houses this fall.

That’s why liberal blogs are already rallying behind scores of Democratic candidates. It’s why “the enthusiasm gap” about this year’s election is slowly closing. It’s why labor and civil rights groups have organized their One Nation Working Together march this Saturday. (And, yes, it’s another sign of Fox News’ continuing ability to set the mainstream media agenda that you have heard far less about this rally than you did about Glenn Beck’s.)

And it’s why the polls have begun to show signs of a modest Democratic revival. Buried in the eighth paragraph of a Wednesday Wall Street Journal story on its survey with NBC News was this fact: When likely voters were asked which party they wanted to control Congress, Republicans led Democrats by three points, but that was down from a nine-point GOP lead just a month ago. Could the plates beneath this election be shifting?

Obama’s trip to Madison was therefore more than a journey down memory lane. It reflected the White House’s realization that Sanders is right that there is no substitute for a president making a coherent argument, taking on opponents who are eviscerating him daily, and acknowledging his dependence on those who brought him to office. “I need you fired up!” he declared in a stump line that could not have been more accurate. “You can’t lose heart!”

The president was not reluctant to draw class lines or ideological distinctions. He cast Republican support for a $700 billion tax reduction for the wealthy against the cuts it could force in Head Start and student loans. He criticized his opponents’ “blind faith in the market” and the idea of letting “corporations play by their own rules.”

Thus the irony: A president who largely disdained a mobilizing strategy for his first year and a half in office has returned to his community-organizer roots to try to salvage an election. Here’s the further irony: He has a real chance of pulling it off, which leads to a question. If Obama succeeds, will he continue to keep his supporters engaged and “fired up,” as Sanders suggests he should? Or will he go back to an insider strategy that helped bring him to the brink of this precipice?

E.J. Dionne’s e-mail address is ejdionne(at)washpost.com.
   
© 2010, Washington Post Writers Group


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By M L Baker, October 4, 2010 at 10:20 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This isn’t about firing up the democratic base. This is about firing up the American people. Our government has been taken over by international corporations and corrupted by politicans and lobbyist willing to prostitute themselves for the almighty dollar. These liars and cheats are motivated by profit and greed and they have been using are hard earned tax dollars to enrich themselves.  All resistant groups, including the tea party, will organize and come together when Barack Obama tells them the truth. Truth has power of its own.

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By call me roy, October 3, 2010 at 9:32 pm Link to this comment

Obama Top 10 Failures of ObamaCare After Six Months
by Emily Miller / 09/22/2010
President Obama today is proudly touting the success of the biggest disaster of his presidency: ObamaCare.
The trillion-dollar, government takeover of our health care officially kicks in tomorrow, but it has already had a destructive impact on our economy and health care system.
Obama’s crowing about his health care debacle shows how totally out of touch he is with the American people. Polls show that 56 percent of likely voters believe that ObamaCare is bad for the United States and 71 percent think the health care law will hurt the economy.
The facts speak for themselves, here are the top ten failures of ObamaCare after only six months:
1. Premiums Have Gone Up: Obama promised that families will pay less for their healthcare premiums under his plan. Quite the opposite has happened. Insurance companies are making double-digit rate increases to consumer premiums in anticipation of the cost of new mandates by ObamaCare. The estimated premiums rate increase for consumers is between 1% and 9%, a direct impact from the new regulations.
2. You Can’t Keep Your Current Plan And Doctor: Businesses will be forced to change their employees’ healthcare plans in order to meet the new regulations. An estimated 69% of businesses will be forced to change their plans, forcing countless millions of Americans to change plans and doctors.
3. National Budget Deficit Is Worse: Sixty-one percent (61%) of all voters nationwide say the healthcare law will increase the federal deficit.
4. More Children Are Uninsured: Anthem Blue Cross, Aetna Inc. and other insurance agencies are dropping child-only policies, citing huge, unexpected costs from ObamaCare. An estimated half a million children in the United States will be affected by the policies.
5. Small Business Taxes Increased: Small businesses—the engine of the U.S. economy—are suffering from increased tax filing regulations and anticipated healthcare mandates. Over 40 million small businesses will be required to file new tax reports for health care. The tax credit for the regulations only covers one-tenth of these business’s losses.
6. Small Businesses Health Care Burden Increased: Almost half of all smaller employers are anticipating “significant increases in healthcare costs in the short term.” These business owners are likely to cut back on hiring and expansion because they fear a new healthcare burden.
7. More Government Spending: The Congressional Budget Office has already adjusted the cost for ObamaCare since it passed, adding another $115 billion to the taxpayer’s tab. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has adjusted upwards its cost prediction since the bill took effect from 6.1% per year to 6.3%. By 2019, U.S. spending on health care will reach $4.6 trillion.
8. Senior Citizens Suffer from Medicare Cuts: The Medicare Advantage program which covers nearly a quarter of seniors will cut plans from $3-$5,000 per beneficiary. Doctors are refusing to take seniors because Medicare only covers part of their bills.
9. Minorities Get Worse Health Care: ObamaCare forces 16 million Americans into Medicaid, a poorly performing welfare program. The President considers moving Hispanic and blacks into Medicaid an improvement in their healthcare. No one else does.
10. Democrats Losing Elections: Current polls show that 61% of likely voters want the bill repealed and the Tea Party movement has demonstrated America’s anger toward ObamaCare. The primaries this summer have shown that Americans are voting for members of congress who will repeal Obamacare.
At the White House Rose Garden bill signing six months ago, Vice President Joe Biden told the President that Obamacare is a “big f—-ing deal.” Biden was correct. ObamaCare is a big f—ing deal; it is the death-knell of this liberal presidency.

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By call me roy, October 3, 2010 at 9:24 pm Link to this comment

The liberals are asking us to give Obama time. We agree, and think 25 to life would be appropriate.
- Leno

Q: Have you heard about McDonald’s’ new Obama Value Meal?
A: Order anything you like and the guy behind you has to pay for it.
– O’Brien

Q: What does Barack Obama call lunch with a convicted felon?
A: A fund raiser.
– Leno

Q: What’s the difference between Obama’s cabinet and a penitentiary?
A: One is filled with tax evaders, blackmailers and threats to society. The other is for housing prisoners.
– Letterman

Q: If Nancy Pelosi and Obama were on a boat in the middle of the ocean and it started to sink, who would be saved?
A: America !
– Fallon

Q: What’s the difference between Obama and his dog, Bo?
A: Bo has papers.
– Kimmel

Q: What was the most positive result of the “Cash for clunkers” program?
A: It took 95% of the Obama bumper stickers off the road.
- Letterman

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By call me roy, October 3, 2010 at 9:20 pm Link to this comment

By grace of his pal Bill Ayers, Obama’s only pre-Presidential executive experience was gained when he was anointed as Chairman of the Annenberg Challenge. From that lofty perch Obama doled out a total of $160,000,000, ostensibly to improve Chicago schools, but largely targeted towards leftist ‘community organizer’ groups. Those megabucks did nothing for academic performance, but certainly beefed up the politics of those activist organizations. So perhaps he did supervise a few check-writers and secretaries.
Voters were not “thinking.” They were feeling. They allowed themselves to be swept up in a cult of celebrity that combined pop culture shallowness with romantic political mythic themes from JFK and RFK days and beyond. They fainted and got leg thrills. They felt virtuous, enlightened and redeemed. They were so very proud of themselves. They allowed the propaganda machine disguised as news media to herd them like sheep and manipulate them like the gullible children they were. And they voted for a construct.
It will not be enough to look back and wonder, what were we thinking? To preserve the republic, it will be necessary for the Obama gullible to examine what it is about them that leads them to make such gross misjudgments of character and competence. It would have made as much sense to vote for Tinkerbell.
Lord knows, the entire political class is frighteningly corrupt, incompetent or both. But Obama is a standout, even by contemporary political standards. He was never more than a pure mirage, a cartoon character. But he got elected. If voters don’t wake up and grow up, and see the enormous immaturity that led them to elect this preposterous figure, we will continue to have more of the same.

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Tesla's avatar

By Tesla, October 3, 2010 at 2:42 pm Link to this comment

FiftyGigs appears to be another of the apologist
trolls that lurk around these forums. No one in their
right mind would equate the democrats with
liberalism.

Americans have begun to awaken to the game and how it
is played and who always wins. Just as the dems were
unable to move their agenda forward after the 2006
elections under the Bush administration, the pubs
won’t be able to force their will on Obama to any
real extend. It is 2012 when the real reckoning will
come. By then the economy will be so bad and the
occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan will be
untenable. Returning veterans are already killing
themselves and family members in epidemic
proportions. Their mental and physical health has
methodically been wrecked by chemicals, radiation and
abusive working conditions leaving hundreds of
thousands of broken people for our society to deal
with.

The gross incompetence that appears to be hallmark of
those running American business and government could
not go on forever without an eventual correction. We
have handed all control of our institutions over to
the experts and professionals and it has brought us
to our knees as a society.

This mid-term election will windup disappointing the
republicans as much as the democrats I’m afraid
because I believe it is what America has become that
is being rejected.

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By Tesla, October 3, 2010 at 12:53 pm Link to this comment

I agree with Big B. The Dems need a real spanking so we
can finally get their attention. They didn’t play
hardball when they were a minority party and definitely
aren’t playing hardball as the majority party so when
will they actually develop some self esteem and
courage?

That’s right, never!

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By ssg13565, October 3, 2010 at 5:38 am Link to this comment

When is truthdig going to get rid of that annoying drop down that seems to appear at the most inopportune moments?

I forgot what else I intended to post here.

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By johncp, October 2, 2010 at 11:57 pm Link to this comment

Interesting.  Samson, who sent us a post with figures indicating that American voters are actually progressive.  Majorities of them favor a progressive position, but the “Democrats,” by which I assume he means the democrat party big shots, “...are bought-off liars who do what corporate America wants.”  I’m a Hillary supporter, simply because I know that we’ll probably never get what we want, but only what the corporatists want us to get.  I looked at the democrat line-up for the 2008 election, and it was obvious the Hillary was the best of those that had any chance of becoming president.  Sure enough my choice was vindicated when it became obvious that corporate America was overwhelmingly on Obama’s side, and insured his victory by buying off enough of the delegates, because they knew that even with their overwhelming support given Obama in the media networks, and the powerful support they could give him in a thousand ways outside of media, they had no assurance that Obama would win the “popular vote.”  They were right, in view of the fact that Hillary maintained a 25 point lead throughout almost the entirety of her campaign against the other dem candidates with the American voters.  Why did the voters prefer her? 
Could it be that, in spite of the vileness of the hatred against her on these chat rooms, the voters had a distinctly more progressive view of her politics, when compared to McCain’s or even Obama’s.  The routine attack against Hillary is, that she’s a Wall Street stooge.  But we all know that all politicians that reach high office in this country, are Wall St. stooges.  You’ll get all the stock anti-Hillary bullshit in response to this post, but I continue to ask you why it is that corporate America were so distinctly against Hillary and so pro-Obama?  The Hillary haters will never answer this question straightforwardly, because they don’t have an answer.  The people wanted Hillary, the corporations wanted Obama.  These fools won’t give you a straight answer, they’ll just tell you that Hillary is evil.

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By ocjim, October 2, 2010 at 9:55 pm Link to this comment

As Bernie says, Obama abandoned real reform going practically right-wing.

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By Salome, October 2, 2010 at 7:31 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The mistake Obama made was squandering the momentum of his first year when more than half the country would have followed him over a cliff if he had suggested it.  Instead, he used that precious time to run after Republican butts ( a senseless exercise as any drunk on the corner could have told him, see results).
When I’m feeling charitable about this I theorize that Obama made nice-nice with the Republicans in an attempt to keep his pledge to change the tone in Washington.  Not only was the attempt fruitless, but now with Republicans whining that they were shut out of the decision making process, Obama doesn’t even get credit for the attempts he went out of his way to make because the press doesn’t remind the public of his bipartisan overtures.
Obama’s mistake was one of priorities:  He should have pushed a progressive agenda first, and sought reconciliation with the Republicans second.  The classic “nice” guy mistake, always, initially, giving people the chance to do the right thing. In a capitalist society, all that does is give the greedy lead time to invent ways to go around, over, or under whatever regulations/restrictions they see coming, e.g., banks/mortgages, insurance companies/insurance rates, credit card companies/interest rates, ad nauseaum.
ehindstimerequested

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By LMontheRoad, October 2, 2010 at 11:51 am Link to this comment

There’s quite a bit of conjecture here about how the Dems will perform - the One Nation March is a great indicator of the energy coming back..

Watch the One Nation march live right now at Free Speech TV: DISH 9415, DIRECTV 348, or online at http://www.livestream.com/freespeechtv.

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By raykeith7, October 1, 2010 at 11:09 am Link to this comment

Obamas platform of renewable energy’s & then refusing to install solar cells on the white-house, has cost him votes he can never again count on. 
Get ready for our next war in Somalia as soon as we can repeal ‘don’t ask’ to get more body’s on the ground.
America is hiring if you can kill on orders.

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By ssg13565, October 1, 2010 at 10:38 am Link to this comment

What do you do with a poll whose results seem to contradict everything else you have seen published?  A poll whose authors are anonymous.  A poll where the people asked are not classified.  A poll where the size of the sample is not specified.  A poll where the questions as presented to the audience are not spelled out.

If people really believed what this poll purports, how do you explain George Bush?

I am not saying the poll is wrong. I am not saying anyone is lying? I am saying that a poll whose results seem contradictory to all public indications of the majority’s sentiment, need a deeper look at how those results were obtained.  After following the link to the article, I don’t see those deeper answers.

Yes, I just skimmed it, so maybe I missed those deeper answers.  Can anybody mention a few of those answers to the questions I raised?

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By Samson, October 1, 2010 at 10:17 am Link to this comment

And for those who want to use the ‘blame-the-Republicans and the filibuster’ spin line….

Obama would be popular if he had tried to do the items in these poll numbers, and failed.

In fact, that’s the trap Obama should have set for the Republicans.  Obama should have been very aggressive in pushing this sort of popular agenda, and then let the Republicans oppose it and block it.

Given these poll numbers, that would have set up a huge Democrat win in 2010.  Given Obama’s high tide of approval for his 2008 message of change, this was the obvious political strategy.

That Obama instead chose the politically unpopular route of being Bush III, well, that says an awful lot about Obama and today’s Democrats and why they need to lose this election.

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By Samson, October 1, 2010 at 10:05 am Link to this comment

If Obama was following the agenda in these poll numbers (see below), then Obama would be massively popular and cruising to a mid-term election win.

Obama is unpopular and in trouble because he’s continued the Bush-era policies that people wanted ‘change’ from.  Obama is unpopular because he has not done what is in these pollnumbers.

That’s the political truth, no matter how the liars with the Democrat spin machine want to spin it.

If Obama had ended the wars and brought the troops home, the Obama would be popular today.

If Obama hadn’t followed Herbert Hoover’s economic recovery plan, then Obama would be popular today.

Tell Obama and the Democrats that they are on the wrong track in the only way a professional politician understands.  DO NOT VOTE DEMOCRAT.

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By Samson, October 1, 2010 at 9:58 am Link to this comment

ssg is lying to you.

The American public is already far to the left of the right-wing, pro-war, pro-corporation Democrats.

America is progressive.  But the Democrats are bought-off liars who do what corporate America wants.

from http://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/purple-america/our-own-agenda-economy#economy
67% Favor public works projects to create jobs.
55% Favor expanding unemployment benefits.
73% Say corporations don’t pay a fair share of taxes.
76% Support tax cuts for lower- and middle-income people.
71% Say unions help their members; 53% say unions help the economy in general.
80% Support increasing the federal minimum wage.
59% Favor guaranteeing two weeks or more of paid vacation.
75% Want to limit rate increases on adjustable-rate mortgages.
64% Are not confident that life for our children’s generation will be better than it has been for us.
65% Believe same-sex couples should be allowed to marry or form civil unions.
70% Support restoring habeas corpus rights for detainees at Guantanamo.
58% Believe a court warrant should be required to listen to the telephone calls of people in the U.S.
59% Would like the next president to do more to protect civil liberties.
68% Believe the president should not act alone to fight terrorism without the checks and balances of the courts or Congress.
79% Favor mandatory controls on greenhouse gas emissions.
76% Believe that oil is running out
and a major effort is needed to replace it.
90% Favor higher auto fuel efficiency standards.
75% Favor clean electricity, even with higher rates.
72% Support more funding for mass transit.
73%  Believe our health care system is in crisis or has “major problems.”
64%  Believe the government should provide national health insurance coverage for all Americans, even if it would raise taxes.
55% Favor one health insurance program covering all Americans, administered by the government, and paid for by taxpayers.
69% Believe the government should make it easier to buy prescription drugs from other countries.
81% Oppose torture and support following the Geneva Conventions.
76% Say the U.S. should not play the role of global police.
79% Say the U.N. should be strengthened.
73% Favor abolishing nuclear weapons, with verification. 80% favor banning weapons in space.
85% Say that the U.S. should not initiate military action without support from allies.
63% Want U.S. forces home from Iraq within a year.
47% Favor using diplomacy with Iran. 7% favor military action.
57% Say going to war in Iraq was the wrong decision.
67% Believe we should use diplomatic and economic means to fight terrorism, rather than the military.
86% Say big companies have too much power.
74% Favor voluntary public financing of campaigns.
66% Believe intentional acts are likely to cause significant voting machines errors.
80% Say ex-felons should have their voting rights restored.
65% Believe attacking social problems is a better cure for crime than more law enforcement.
87% Support rehabilitation rather than a “punishment-only” system.
81% Say job training is “very important” for reintegrating people leaving prison. 79% say drug treatment is very important.
56% Believe NAFTA should be renegotiated.
64% Believe that on the whole, immigration is good for the country.
80% Favor allowing undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. to stay and apply for citizenship if they have a job and pay back taxes.

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By Samson, October 1, 2010 at 9:54 am Link to this comment

More diversions.

Obama took $750 million from corporate America to run that ‘best campaign’ that Sanders has ever seen.

He used that money to lie to the American people and create the fake ‘rock-star’ image that promised change.

But, those millions of corporate dollars that paid for all of that always meant we were never going to get change.

Obama was always going to do what the money wanted.  Obama was never going to stiff those who funded with 2008 campaign with $750 million.  Obama was always corporate America’s candidate.

Meanwhile, the Republicans were broke in 2008. McCain was on public financing.  Isn’t it obvious that Bush’s money just moved to back Obama? 

And, isn’t it equally obvious that Bush’s money did not move to back Obama because they wanted change from the Bush policies that they’d been paying for?

The popular side of Obama was always a fake. It was always a con.

So, now we see Sanders up there saying that he wishes the con had been real and that the hundreds of millions of dollars of corporate money in Obama’s accounts hadn’t been real.

Gee, that’s nice.

Do not vote for the candidate with money.  That’s an easy lesson to learn. Why does that seem so difficult?  Do not vote for the candidate with money.

Oh, and, by the way, don’t blame me.  I followed this rule in 2008.  Don’t blame me, I voted for McKinney.

Send a message.  Defeat the Democrats in 2010.  Just rare back and kick the Democrats in the balls as hard as we can as voters. Do not vote Democrat.  Its time to inflict some pain on the Democrats. Maybe they’ll learn a lesson. Probably they won’t.

But, its time for progressives to stop being woozies and to turn around and kick the Democrats in the balls as hard as we can. Hurt the Democrats in 2010. DO NOT VOTE DEMOCRAT.

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By ssg13565, October 1, 2010 at 7:58 am Link to this comment

Have you seen the Whitehouse White Board?

http://www.whitehouse.gov/whiteboard

This is the type of thing they should have been doing since day one of the administration.

The job of all in the administration is not only to administer.  Part of the job is also to sell the program.

Christina Roemer may have been good as an adviser, but she was not so good as a saleswoman. 

Goolsbee and Roemer were both professors.  However, some professors are better than others at teaching students.

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By ProgressiveChange, October 1, 2010 at 7:21 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Voters haven’t been reminded of the GOP Congressional Penitentiary Fraternity, which added so many members in the Bush Era. There was so much criminal and conflict-of-interest activity that the DNC et. al. Democratic organizations fail to remind voters of ... one wonders what the hell their strategy might be.

On the other hand, some of us are tired of voting for the lesser of two frauds ... and would actually like a change of pace—- the oppportunity to vote for Character peppered with Integrity and blessed with Backbone. Unfortunately, relatviely few Democrats manifest these virtues. Rhetoric cannot completely obliterate memories of the cowardice Dems manifested in so-called ‘healthcare reform’ and the anemic regulation of those responsible for sending America’s middle-class to hell or impoverishment.

President Obama appears to be clueless of the chilling impact centrist and spineless policy compromises had on Progressives’ support. If he did, Rahm would have been a goner long before Mayor Daley decided to retire ... and God-willing, Rahm’s poliical life will end with a loss in Chicago. Chicago needs another deal-maker in City Hall like it needs another Deep Dish Pizza.

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By oldog, October 1, 2010 at 6:44 am Link to this comment

All these ‘polls’ claiming to reflect the minds of
the voters are ludicrous. People change their ‘vote’
with sentence structure, syntax, time of day, sex of
pollster, you name it. Much of the anger at the
Democrats will evaporate in the polling booth, or
sadly, be driven by the headlines on FOX News the day
before.

The truth is: Nobody knows!

Sorry (not really), 24/7 news/celebrity/pundit
wannabies/con artists on a feeding frenzy. These last
six months of (Guaranteed ONLY +/- 2.637456%
error!!!) is all figments of your fevered, delusions
of relevance, advertising driven imaginations.

The only poll that has any meaning will be taken in
the voting booth. And more than likely, that will
just determine which &%^$#@!$#&*3’s will vote
whatever way their future lucrative lobbying industry
employer wants, while they are “a servant of the
people”.

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By ssg13565, October 1, 2010 at 6:25 am Link to this comment

The mistake that progressives are making is in thinking that progressives won the congress either in 2006 or in 2008.

The Democrats won, but not all Democrats are progressive as everyone well knows.

The progressives need to set their expectations based on what actually happened.

The Republicans have done a good job of selling their idea of deregulation.  They have spent years selling the idea before they got a chance to put it into play.

The progressives have not sold their agenda to a significant portion of the electorate.  It is wrong to imagine that you can push your agenda through Congress if you have not first sold it to the majority of voters.  Lacking the successful sales pitch, it becomes easy for the opposition to ridicule progressives for trying to ram something down the throats of the electorate.

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By Mardy, October 1, 2010 at 5:26 am Link to this comment

Thank you, FiftyGigs!  A loan voice of sanity in this
sea of dreamers (excepting Inherit the Wind).  The
unrealistic is the enemy of the possible.  It’s
possible to get out there and defeat the Republicans
at every level.  Hold your noses if you must but vote
Democrat and vanquish the Republicans.  Forget your
future third party.  The future is NOW.  With
Republicans back in power the already long time
before any viable third party could arise will be
stretched to infinity.  There IS a difference between
the two main parties and it’s enormous.  Vote, vote,
vote the Republicans out!

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By Mg8, September 30, 2010 at 8:55 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

All this stuff coming out of the White House is more jive turkey crap. Does anyone else feel like a ho being bitch-slapped by her pimp? I say let ‘em fail and watch Republicans try to do anything. It will be a tragi-comedy of the first order, and then perhaps people will get fired up for third party candidates. This has to get worse before it gets better, as painful as that is to contemplate. Dems will do exactly what they are now if they retain Congress, that much should be clear. There’s no light at the end of this tunnel.

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By gerard, September 30, 2010 at 4:57 pm Link to this comment

Dionne’s question:  ” Could the plates beneath this election be shifting?” raises some interesting ideas:
Does he mean that Democrats and Republicans are the techtonic plates governing elections in the U.S.?
If so, that’s plainly wrong.  It’s money that is the one and only techtonic plate governing present elections.
  If you don’t raise big money, you don’t get elected, no matter what party.  If you don’t do what money tells you to after you are elected, you won’t be elected again, Democrat or Republican. This has been increasingly true for years now. But it need not always be so.
  The reason the U.S. can’t mount a “viable” Third Party is that wealthy people won’t give it enough money. Or attention. Or care. Wealthy people are only interested in preserving the present system, and both Repubs and Dems know it, as do Greens and others.
  Until this fact is acknowledged and somehow changed, politics as usual will rule.  Changed?  How?
Campaign finance refore, then organizing a Progressive Party from the grassroots up.  A long hard slog.
  Some of the incipient creative forces are beginning to come to the surface—unemployment, loss of homes, dissatisfactions with lack of adequate health care, education, social services, huge debt, money and lives wasted on foreign wars.  The present “system” is patently unsustainable, and neither Repubs nor Dems have control over it. Essentially at this point, they are fighting over a sack of rotten apples and they don’t even want to know what’s in the sack.
  We may be close to a golden opportunity for an articulate socially conscious, politically astute leader to step up out of the grassroots someplace and show people what can be done.  Hope for the best, because in any case we are at a serious turning point here, and the quality of leadership is crucial. The vacuum is all too evident.
  What would be your essential qualifications in following such a leader?  What plans and ideas would you go for? What plans and ideas would you refuse to go for?  And in the meantime, what can you do to preserve the techtonic plates that uphold democracy?

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By samosamo, September 30, 2010 at 3:20 pm Link to this comment

****************


““But progressives keenly understand how much
their aspirations would be set back if an
increasingly right-wing Republican Party wins one
or both houses this fall.”“
***************

Wow, is that a hot one. All those progressives or
what have you, haven’t by accident, played the
same role o has since he was elected and that
means when the progressives ‘supposedly’ won
both senate and house in 2006 and since then
(4years if you aren’t counting) has squandered
what the insidious repubs would have got done
before the next election if they had that control.

There in lies a rub, whatever the progressives try
to do takes an agonizingly long time to
accomplish, IF THEY ACCOMPLISH ANYTHING, but
the repubs ‘git her done at the speed of light’
comparatively not to matter how insidious that
that gets done. Thus it goes, control of both
houses and little accomplished and little gained.
What a waste of sperm sitting in the white house
and the congress.

I guess thanks for this shit goes to pelosi, reid, o
as all act the part of sycophants of the repubs.

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By Alan MacDonald, September 30, 2010 at 2:17 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

E. J. has become a useless ficus decoration for the Empire.

Alan MacDonald
Sanford, Maine.

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By rollzone, September 30, 2010 at 1:27 pm Link to this comment

hello. fired up. light my fire. fire away. firestorm-
let me be clear. we need to spend our way out of
debt. make no mistake. banks are too big to fail.
this is an unprecedented vacation moment. everyone
should go to Afghanistan, i mean Arizona, uh, uh, is
that right Joe? is this f*c*ing big, or what?
socialism, uh, i mean those Bushites messed
everything into the ditch. someone please fix the
Teleprompter. progressive reformers: spend a little
tax on me. raise more money, spend more taxes, spend
tax payer dollars, bankrupt our grandchildren on
corrupted agencies and crony regulators- spend-spend-
spend- spend- until gold is worth ten times its
value. then institute globalism because you know
better. both parties are criminal. Oboymamma did
fine. he stopped short of what they could have done,
but he is just a kid. our mistake.

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Eric L. Prentis's avatar

By Eric L. Prentis, September 30, 2010 at 12:00 pm Link to this comment

Bush, leading into an election, fires up his base; Obama, just nags.

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By blueworld, September 30, 2010 at 11:51 am Link to this comment

This is the same sorry ass choice Democrats have given for over 10 years.  “They’re a lot worse than we are”.  “We promise” fill-in-the-blank.  Then either they don’t even attempt to deliver or they whine about 60 votes & give birth to an impotent piece of crummy legislation crafted by lobbyists. 

I’m tired of it all; we’re in our golden years & it’s a nightmare & yet we know we’re better off than many.  This country needs a viable, strong third party.  Without it, whoever wins means nothing to me, or to the shreds of the former middle-class. 

Both parties serve corporate masters & have contempt for the TRUE tax payers.  They steal our money, hide theirs, send our children to war & either scold us or court us depending on where we are in the endless election cycle.  But consistently, they’re all liars. 

I admire Bernie & Dionne, but waving the pompoms doesn’t move me a bit anymore.  I’m trying to force myself to vote this year based on decades of serious civic participation & respect.  Frankly, it’s no longer a sure thing, however.  I guess I’ll live without the respect of Obama or Biden, particularly since I’ve lost my respect for them.

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Night-Gaunt's avatar

By Night-Gaunt, September 30, 2010 at 10:58 am Link to this comment

The only Democrats they are rallying for are Progressive ones, not the DINOS, so please see the difference. The Democrats aren’t all lost like the Republicans are. But it could happen if people think like you.

mdgr, being happy that the worse fanatics win for any reason is like cutting your own throat to spite some criminal. Stupid and kills yourself. There is no “viable third party” and never will as long as any but the DemoRepublicrats own it all and can keep all others from vying on an equal footing nationally. You will lose.

Dionn’s & Sander’s main are of being flawed in their idea is that Obama is some misguided centrist or some such. He’s a right winger and everything he has done helps them. The health care bill still leaves everyone defenseless from pay hikes by the corporations. So he did us a favor but laid a bomb in it with a delayed timer.

Dispiriting us, and letting the worse of the worst win is something they can live with. We can’t. To entertain such ideas is of a confused mind. You never let your enemy, and they are enemies, take it all if you can help it. When we hit rock bottom it will be all over for us.

Check your candidate, they all aren’t DINOs just yet.

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By Hammond Eggs, September 30, 2010 at 10:18 am Link to this comment

“Why are we where we are today?” (Sanders) continues. “The most serious mistake the president made was not, in a sense, continuing the thrust of his campaign, and forgetting all he accomplished.”

Did Sanders really say this?  Is the man that great a boob and a fool?  Except for what Obama said about Afghanistan during his ‘08 campaign, everything else was a monumental, cancerous lie.  Obama never meant a word of it.  So much for Bernie Sanders.

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G.Anderson's avatar

By G.Anderson, September 30, 2010 at 9:51 am Link to this comment

Dream on… This is complete nonsense. Obama is where he is because he got caught.
being a fraud. Now the Dems want to lie their way out of it. That’s not going to happen
this time.  Sanders need to retire, incumbents like him are part of the problem.

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By madisolation, September 30, 2010 at 8:45 am Link to this comment

“Maybe in 2012, Naomi Klein’s call for a large and viable third party of progressives and indies will in fact have finally materialized.”
mdgr, I think that’s why Obama, Biden, Clinton, and Gibbs are ranting and raving about the true progressives right now. They so want to prevent the emergence of a third party that actually stands for the people instead of the mega-industries.

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By Inherit The Wind, September 30, 2010 at 7:17 am Link to this comment

Anarcissie, September 30 at 11:09 am Link to this comment

‘The only way you can throw your vote away is by voting for someone or something you don’t believe in.’

I guess that’s the wit and wisdom of Alfred E. Newman, right after he said “What? Me worry?”

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Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, September 30, 2010 at 7:09 am Link to this comment

‘The only way you can throw your vote away is by voting for someone or something you don’t believe in.’

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By Wikileaks for Nobel, September 30, 2010 at 6:41 am Link to this comment

This article is crap.  Obama has never been a Progressive, and Sanders is the housebroken token socialist, working to elect corporate shills in the form of Democrats. 

Ask yourself this question, Bernie:  What would Debs do?  The answer is *not* “work to elect Democrats.”

Duh.

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By Big B, September 30, 2010 at 5:48 am Link to this comment

Liberals are faced with an impossible choice. We either abandon the democratic party, all but assuring repug gains in the house and senate. Or we sell our souls to the Obamabots, which has proven to be a vote for Bush lite.

The dimmos have moved so far to the right that they have become indistinct from old middle of the road conservatives. A vote for a dimmo now is tanamount to a vote for Nixon.

At a time when we needed, and the nation yearned for liberal leadership, Barry, Nancy, Harry, and the rest of the dimmo leadership have spent two years settling for hind teet, despite the fact that they had a clear majority and all the momentum. (filibuster my ass, they could have bypassed that bullshit procedure at any time. They chose not to because they are worried that one day when they are out of power the repugs would return the favor. So what?)

Perhaps we should let the repugs have both houses this year. We might need to hit absolute rock bottom before we demand real change. And the easiest way to hit bottom at this time is to hand this pig over to the repugs. Yeh, we’ll suffer some, but what are we doing now under Barry?

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By madisolation, September 30, 2010 at 4:59 am Link to this comment

Obama isn’t going to pull anything off. He campaigned as a progressive populist and is governing as a far right Republican. No one who’s been paying attention will ever trust him again. You’d have to be pretty stupid to take this guy at his word.
It’s not some petty game, although the administration, intent on disparaging a faction of their own party, seems to think it is. Our country is very divided right now, and Obama is dividing it even further. So be it. That won’t stop the left from documenting the chasm between his words and his actions. So Obama can give “boffo revival” speeches from now until November Second, but more and more people are beginning to realize that his speeches are just words that are not accompanied by progressive populist legislation, such as an end to wars, medicare for all, and keeping politicians hands off Social Security.

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By FiftyGigs, September 30, 2010 at 4:45 am Link to this comment

“Jane Hamsher, who blogs at Firedoglake, sees the administration’s taunts as setting up the left as a “fall guy” if Democrats lose.”

With a liberal media like this, why does President Obama need friends?

The liberal media doesn’t get it. They’re stuck in “victimization mode”. Don’t you see the passivity inherent in the above statement?

This election is ENTIRELY about liberals. It consists of one question: do liberals give up?

THAT’S what conservatives are running on. THAT’S what all the wacky ideas are for. THAT’S what the conservative propaganda now seeping into liberal media is aimed at.

To convince you the world is a different, alien place that you can’t possibly affect, so stay home.

This election is about liberals. About you. Are you going to give up now?

Not me. I’ll be at the polls bright and early, casting a vote for Democrats in order to punish the true miscreants of the past two years—the Republican Party.

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By Inherit The Wind, September 30, 2010 at 3:28 am Link to this comment

But he argues that by replacing a mobilizing approach and clear progressive goals with an insider strategy aimed at compromising with a few moderate Republican senators, Obama deactivated his own enthusiasts. These are the very people the president was trying to motivate in Madison.
*********************

Sanders is a super-bright guy who has NAILED the problem!  “replacing a mobilizing approach and clear progressive goals with an insider strategy aimed at compromising with a few moderate Republican senators
And a few DINO senators like Nelson.

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By mdgr, September 29, 2010 at 11:36 pm Link to this comment

Dionne has always been shameless.

So now we’re to believe that progressives are beginning to rally for the Dems, that the DNC base is returning. Is that why composite poll at RCP shows Obama going from a tie between supporters and detractors to a spread of 6 points in negative territory in the past month?

I’d say that Truthdig is a pretty good microcosm of progressive sentiment. Despite O’s attempt to rebrand himself as a populist, most respondents view him not just with disdain, but with and ever-increasing measure of it.

And then there’s http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2010/09/30/middle_class_tax_cut_issue_backfiring_on_democrats/ .

It pretty much speaks for itself.

Dionne would like to make the case that the R’s are of the Devil, while the Dems are the lesser of the two evils. What isn’t stated is that Obama will veto anything over the top that the R’s propose, and gridlock will continue as before. The sky will not fall on us, but what will happen in the next two years is that American’s are likely to reject BOTH parties, assuming the R’s win in 2010. If the Dems retain Congress, they will be all but reviled in 2012, in effect rolling out the red carpet for the likes of Palin or a Republican presidential nominee.

Given these choices, I’d definitely opt for the lesser of the two evils (a futile attempt at wry humor) and hope that the Dems get totally eviscerated in 2010.

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By mdgr, September 29, 2010 at 11:30 pm Link to this comment

Dionne has always been shameless.

So now we’re to believe that progressives are beginning to rally for the Dems, that the DNC base is returning. Is that why composite poll at RCP shows Obama going from a tie between supporters and detractors to a spread of 6 points in negative territory in the past month?

I’d say that Truthdig is a pretty good microcosm of progressive sentiment. Despite O’s attempt to rebrand himself as a populist, most respondents view him not just with disdain, but with an ever-increasing measure of it.

And then there’s http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2010/09/30/middle_class_tax_cut_issue_backfiring_on_democrats/ .

It’s what’s happening right now (Obama’s approval rating is also falling) and it pretty much speaks for itself.

Dionne would like us to believe that the R’s are of the Devil, while the Dems are the lesser of the two evils. What isn’t stated is that Obama will veto anything over the top that the R’s might propose, and gridlock will almost certainly continue as before.

The sky will not fall on us, but what will happen in the next two years is that American’s are likely to reject BOTH parties, assuming the R’s win in 2010.

If the Dems retain Congress, they will be all but reviled in 2012, in effect rolling out the red carpet for the likes of Palin or a Republican presidential nominee.

Given these two choices, I’d definitely opt for the lesser of the two evils (a futile attempt at wry humor) and would hope that the Dems get utterly eviscerated in 2010.

Maybe in 2012, Naomi Klein’s call for a large and viable third party of progressives and indies will in fact have finally materialized.

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