Skip to main content

This has been a depressing year, especially if you're a committed progressive.  Not only has the economy not come back for average citizens (though the wealthy and investor class has enjoyed a good stock market this year), but the political fortunes for the progressive movement have been utterly squashed by a man in the White House who we THOUGHT would be our champion.  More ranting after the fold...  

Clearly, President Obama is no progressive, sad to say.  He has shown not only a willingness to compromise with the enemies of progressivism, but he has almost shown no willingness to acknowledge and cater to the agenda of the base of his party that got him into office.

Like many of you, an epiphany overcame me in the past couple weeks.  I finally realized who Obama works for.....not the progressives, not even the Democrats.  He CLAIMS to work for ALL of the people, but that's not true either.  Obama really works for the monied interests that run Washington.  Plain and simple.  End of story.

Our Corporatocracy, Plutocracy, Oligarchy....however you wish to call it, has gained MORE control over the Washington legislative and policy agenda SINCE Barack Obama took office.  To be sure, much of this is due to the Citizens United decision by the Supreme Court, which futher calcifies the barriers to entry for average citizens in enacting change or even getting into office.  With unlimited funds to propagandize the airwaves, whether it be for corporatist candidates or issues friendly to the elites and financial Oligarchs, Americans are increasingly becoming soft targets of messaging that further increases the divide between the few haves and the countless have-nots in this country. In the future, this will only get worse without radical change to take money out of politics, and monied influencers out of Washington.  Americans are being BRAINWASHED without even realizing it.

So while Citizens United has created headwinds against progressive change, the truth is that the Obama Administration has enabled this REGRESSION in our counrty by not being the fighter on the bully pulpit that demanded that Washington change, and that income redistribution has been tilted toward the rich and powerful and needs to be reversed.  He could have pointed out that these monied interests like the status quo which has the lowest tax burden in our lifetimes, and that's why they use their own levers of power, including the conservative media, to preserve the status quo.  But NO, Obama hasn't said anything of the kind.  He hasn't fought for keeping his campaign pledge to end the temporary Bush tax cuts for over $250k incomes, and in fact seems set to agree to a plan that will extend all tax cuts for at least two years.  Obama doesn't seem to care about keeping promises or fighting for us.

On the contrary, Obama has actually LEGITIMIZED the right-wing corporatist arguments as Robert Reich has said.  He has given credence to the false narrative that lower taxes for the upper-income earners create jobs, and he has bent over to their WILL.  Indeed, THIS is what created the epiphany for me.  This is why I will never be fooled again in the future by a faux-progressive candidate that can con us into believing he has the intestinal fortitude to stick to progressive principles and FIGHT for the cause that so many of us find dear.  Such future candidates will have to PROVE their progressive bonafides to me, even if they talk the talk and give great speeches.

In short, we need a new LEADER of the progressive movement.  A strong man or woman who will not cave to the entrenched wealthy interests running Washington.  A take-no-prisoners and give-em-hell attitude will be vital to this leader's success.  We need this new person to emerge, and emerge FAST.  2012 is just around the corner, and we should want this new progressive champion to be well-funded for a primary challenge against Obama.  He/she has to be to the 2012 campaign what Ted Kennedy and John Anderson were to the 1980 campaign.  Yes, I know that 1980 resulted in the defeat of Jimmy Carter and the beginning of the corporatist conservative takeover of the USA by the election of Ronald Reagan.  But guess what....they are STILL in charge!  Even if we still nominally have the White House and Senate, the GOP corporatists clearly call the shots.  Still.  Nothing has changed.  So what do we progressives have to lose in finding and backing this leader in a frontal challenge against Obama?  NOTHING.

When you have nothing, you have nothing to lose, in the famous words of Bob Dylan.

So who should this great new Champion of progressives be?  Beats me, but  this man might make a good national candidate.  Or maybe Russ Feingold, or even Al Franken could capture the progressive imagination.  I'm not sure who "The One" is anymore, but it certainly ain't Obama, that's for sure.  In my poll, maybe you can tell us who YOU think should be the new leader of the progressive movement, and run as a primary challenger to Barack Obama.

Originally posted to Roxpert on Fri Dec 03, 2010 at 10:38 AM PST.


Who should be the new leader of the progressive movement?

19%27 votes
14%20 votes
12%18 votes
3%5 votes
3%5 votes
19%27 votes
20%29 votes
0%1 votes
7%10 votes

| 142 votes | Vote | Results

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  The progressive movement (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SlowNomad, Niniane, IL JimP, zenbassoon

    if there is even such a thing. Needs to maybe grow up before it get's a leader

    In the choice between changing ones mind and proving there's no need to do so, most people get busy on the proof.

    by jsfox on Fri Dec 03, 2010 at 10:41:56 AM PST

  •  Gov. Martin O'Malley of Maryland (0+ / 0-)

    Is a leader to watch. Our work is not over! Giving back to the grassroots.

    by howardpark on Fri Dec 03, 2010 at 10:44:19 AM PST

  •  President Barack Obama (9+ / 0-)

    He's the most progressive president in my lifetime.

    He has passed the most progressive agenda in 6 decades.

    He is the de facto leader of the Progressive movement.

    I put my trust in Obama. I sure as shit don't put my trust in people posting diaries on DailyKos.

    Violence is the only way to avoid compromise in politics.

    by Walt starr on Fri Dec 03, 2010 at 10:48:04 AM PST

  •  I don't want to be part of... (9+ / 0-)

    ...a movement that's built around one powerful leader.  That's way too fragile a model to put one's trust in.  And from reading some of the comments here lately, I'm pretty sure I'm right about that.

  •  Never happen. (0+ / 0-)

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White

    by zenbassoon on Fri Dec 03, 2010 at 10:53:23 AM PST

  •  hahaha, you thought the President was.... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mike101, Southside, doroma

    the leader of the progressive movement in America? America has never and will never elect a progressive as POTUS, get real. Obama has never and will never claim to be a progressive much less their "leader" if there is such a thing.

    Obama is a middle of the road democrat who does not support most progressive goals or agenda. He made it abundantly clear as a senator, presidential candidate and President.

    Where were you for the last few years?

    •  Listen to every campaign speech Obama gave. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      He supported a progressive agenda; his campaign promises were built around a progressive philosophy...and then as soon as he was elected, he stuck his thumb in the eye of all progressives.  He pulled off the biggest political con-job of my lifetime.  I know there are those who say he has passed many progressive items on his agenda; that is being disingenuous.  There is a difference between authentic progressive goals and faux progressive measures.

      •  wrong (0+ / 0-)

        from the first Obama claimed to be a middle of the roader and his campaign managers were mostly moderates too. His senate days were spent being a compromiser and his cabinet after he was elected was mainly DLC, ex-Clintonistas.

        I find it very strange how you and so many others fooled your selves when all the evidence was right up front. Did you ever hear of a guy named Rahm Emannuel? Or Hillary Clinton or his entire financial team?

  •  Trumka or Harkin (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
  •  In case you haven't noticed (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    none of the front pagers here are railing against Citizens United and rallying for campaign finance reform which says a lot.

  •  Sherrod Brown (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greenomanic, skaye19, beforedawn

    "We have to deal with the world as we find it." The rallying cry of Vichy Dems.

    by Paleo on Fri Dec 03, 2010 at 11:07:59 AM PST

  •  Not giving up on the Prez. (4+ / 0-)

    First.  Call your Senator or somebody's else Senator.  THe Repubs will cave eventually on unemployement benefits but are playing high stakes chicken to get a concession from our President who is now in Afganistan.  This is all about wrecking the Dems. chances in 2012, including the Prez's, whose base is giving up on them from the many diaries written.  Maybe we all need to get so mad we actually DO create a real grass-roots movement to push harder for the things we know we want.  
    Jobs was the number one reason people voted for the Republicans or so we were told.  Jobs must now  be produced under a Republican/TP House and a very divided Senate.  The public is behind a middle class tax cut and not for Bonuses for the richest 2 % of our country who could care less about jobless Americans.  

    I not giving up on our President but focusing my anger on the usual suspects who next year must govern and create jobs.

  •  We are the ones we've been waiting for (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Renee, mll, ahumbleopinion

    Yeah, it's a cheesy cliché from the campaign, but it's actually true.  Stop trying to find someone to put on a pedestal (the better to aim the rocks you plan to throw later, I guess) and lead!  

    Organize in your own community around progressive issues.  And don't get discouraged when it doesn't work out the first time (or second, etc.).  That's really the only way that real change comes.  

    Take civil rights - a lot of people give praise to LBJ... but there was a decades-long movement in the South, in the black community, in the universities, etc., that put the national government in the position where it finally had to act.  Without that movement, we'd still have Jim Crow.  LBJ gets a lot of credit, but he couldn't have done it alone... not even close.

    "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." -- Dom Hélder Câmara

    by SLKRR on Fri Dec 03, 2010 at 11:28:34 AM PST

  •  First, we need to define Progressive. (0+ / 0-)

    "I don't think that word means what you think it means."

    Progressivism means moving forward, shedding the baggage of the past generations as necessary, toward the creation of a better world for all who dwell on her.

    The Progressive movement (as most of us see it), has done a good job of that, at least in terms of the "Conservative" type baggage, but has completely missed the mark with discarding "Liberal" type baggage.

    We need to reexamine which of our "Cherished values" are no longer relevant, no longer applicable, and no longer "true".

    We can't afford to take this for granted any more. Things change, we have to change along with the times.

    Which "Liberal" values still work as "Progressive" values is left as an exercise for the reader.
    Thinking is something that Americans need to relearn how to do, along with the understanding that thinking is something that's better to do for oneself.

    BTW, none of the "leaders" in your poll have a chance in hell of being elected President, at least this time around... but Dean, Maddow or Franken have the stuff (charisma, temperament, passion and intellect) to do lead "The Movement". I would follow any of those three into the fray, any day.
    All of the others are missing at least one short of a 4-pack, so to speak.

    Lets define Progressive first, ok?

    The first and only real is Reason over Truthiness.

    That alone will distinguish us from the Radical Right, the Radical Left, the Republican Party, the Tea Party and pretty much everyone else on the radar screen.

    "As God is my witness, I thought wingnuts could fly."

    by Niniane on Fri Dec 03, 2010 at 11:31:26 AM PST

  •  Sherrod Brown and Howard Dean (0+ / 0-)

    either one would be fine with me. I think either one could win a general election as well.

  •  unfortunately (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    President Obama is probable as close to being a progressive as we'll see in the White House anytime in the near future. Historically, we have not elected very many actual "progressives" to the White House, and we have never elected anyone to the office who ran on an out-and-out progressive agenda.

    Those considered to be the closest to "progressive" presidents, in terms of having presided over the passage of progressive legislation, were not really true progressives in that they were very moderate or extremely conservative in other ways.

    You can count truly "progressive" presidents on one hand: FDR (who did not run as a progressive, but performed and enacted more and more progressive legislation throughout his tenure, though his foreign policy was pretty moderate overall); Kennedy, who never ran as an overt progressive and actually had very limited progressive achievements;
    Johnson, who was an ultra-conservative war hawk (i.e. warmonger, in my book), who happened to be able to effectively enact a lot of domestic progressive legislation; Truman was somewhat progressive on a few matters (integrating the military, for instance), while clearly stearing a moderate to conservative agenda; and, it could be argued that Teddy Roosevelt was somewhat progressive in the terms of anti-trust and other reform efforts of his time, though he was a pretty obnoxious foreign policy and military hawk. The argument could be made that Andrew Jackson made some "progressive" strides in his time, but like all the others mentioned, he never ran as nor governed as a "progressive;" and, last, but certainly not least...President Lincoln was, perhaps the most progressive president of his time period, in terms of his courageous stance to end slavery (though he was not the least bit progressive in terms of his being in the pockets of robber barrons, like most Republicans of his day).

    Not a single out-and-out progressive in the bunch.
    And...unfortunately...being a progressive myself...but one who prides themselves on being a realistic's not likely that we will be electing an out-and-out progressive to the presidency any time soon.

    In my opinion...electing people who come closest to being progressive is my realistic would be great if we were to ever get a credible progressive nominated and elected...but it just doesn't seem likely anytime soon...especially with the corrupt five U.S. Supreme Court injustices having just told Republicans and their corporate allies that...they can now spend unlimited amounts of money on political campaigns through third-party groups.

    We progressives have struggled to make any progress on any issue of note...and that seems likely to continue into the future...a few steps forward here and there, almost always followed by more than that many steps backward.

  •  John Edwards is the progressive we need, and (0+ / 0-)

    this could be the path to his redemption--and that of the nation.

    You asked for other names in your poll--and he has the skills the others might lack. (Grayson in particular offers vitriolic viciousness above all else.)

  •  I have been doing politics for nearly fifty years (3+ / 0-)

    and am so tired of watching 'progressives' use the opportunity of Dems in office to destroy the party and those Dems, and themselves in the process, rather than fight those who in fact endanger ordinary Americans. I've seen it over and over, and am damned tired of it. I do think for a lot of progs here, the Dem party itself is merely a party of convenience, so they can wrap their self absorbed arguments in the wide cloth of actual Dem constituents, but they see the first need as eliminating anyone in that party who disagrees with them and then wonder why they are sitting out there all alone, having accomplished nothing but destruction of the ability to work with other people who may have shared some of their views but find them just too impossible to bear. This ain't the first time and won't be the last that happens.

    •  Agree, I don't understand the strategy of (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      not supporting a candidate that is with you 50% of the time allowing the election of a candidate who is with you 0% of the time. We need to work to up the 50% not give up and accomplish nothing.

      Against logic there is no armor like ignorance. - Dr. Laurence J. Peter

      by ahumbleopinion on Fri Dec 03, 2010 at 12:17:04 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  New name: US (0+ / 0-)

    As Eugene Hutz says:

    There'll be no saviours/Any soon comin down/
    And anyway illumination/Never comes from the crowned.

    It is up to us, collectively.  A people-powered movement.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site