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.