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As the rec list once again divides down between people arguing about the merits of the Obama presidency, I'm not content to remain quiet. So let me say it upfront -- Cenk is doing what all of us should be doing.

If you have a problem with that, then I hope you're thrilled with all of the one sided concessions made to Republicans, from defunding of women's health to union busting. It's on your heads.

Why is a successful "compromise" defined by the privilege of keeping a few of the things we already had? Why is the Right continuously successful in moving their bar so far over that the compromise becomes more conservative than what they actually wanted? I'll tell you why. It's because the apologists and the supposed pragmatists here have made it acceptable. You've crippled our ability to fight.

That pragmatism, by the way, is a joke. It's a loser attitude, the idea that you should push for what's reasonable instead of what you want. Give up on your ideals, they tell us, they're not realistic with Congress being Republican controlled. Obama is just a man, so overlook the repeated insults and dismissals of who we are and what we stand for. So what's our reasonable demand? What have WE gotten in the budget compromises? That list of things Obama has done for progressives is disingenuous, neatly sidestepping all of the things that were taken away from us and touting minor concessions as major accomplishments.

It's not just that progressives must stand up to the president. It's that progressives must stand up to those who are supposedly on our side. When the Republicans get nine concessions to our one, there was no compromise. We didn't win that one thing. We lost nine, but the apologists gloss over that. That was the reasonable thing to accomplish without control of the House, they say. Well no, it wasn't. Not until you came along and told everyone: We the Left are willing to give up.

Our politicians know that when they score that one concession but lose nine, there are enough here who will tout that as an accomplishment. They will handicap the rest of us by making it difficult to point out that nine things were taken away from us, constantly bringing up the one point where we barely retained some dignity and accusing the rest of being unreasonable. Congress and Obama see that, and they see an opposing side that will not give up their ideals for anything. So we lose nine.

The apologists defend themselves as pragmatists, but they're not. That is a critical mistake, particularly in a world where compromise is necessary. Listen very carefully. You are not being pragmatic. You are not being reasonable. It is not pragmatic to destroy our ability to fight. It is not reasonable to kneecap us at the very beginning of the race. It is not pragmatic to give the entire debate over to the Right.

This has moved beyond a simple fight over politics, policy, or money. Our opponents are in it to take over the very soul of our country, and it is absolutely critical that we see it the same way. If we ever want to get even half of the ideals we dream of, we the progressives must fight for not half, but the whole. We must fight tooth and nail at every step, and we must tell our politicians at every step that it was not enough. One tenth was not enough. Half is not enough. Nine tenths is not enough. Obama has not done enough. The campaign promises were not enough. The Democrats in Congress have not given us enough. You can only win by demanding more, more, more.

Fight for your ideals. Fight for ALL of them. Do not let these concepts of pragmatism, of reasonableness, and of compromise seep in and rot our foundation. It's an infectious disease on our side, a disastrous result of our bent towards intellectualism. It will be our downfall, and I'm not interested in losing because you were too scared to stand up for what you believe in. If you can't do that, leave the battle to those of us who can, so that we can take our country back.

Originally posted to Element 61 on Sun Apr 10, 2011 at 10:46 AM PDT.

Also republished by Frustrati, The Amateur Left, and DFH Local No 420.

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