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We all worked and fought hard to elect Obama a couple of years ago. I must admit Obama made it clear that the work wasn't over. The message and intent was clear that we could enjoy at least some advances toward a progressive agenda, a progressive and forward thinking and, even possibly ethical society. What happened? Did we not do our jobs?

There are too many backslides to note- Patriot Act, Wars, Wars, Wars, Regulation, the Environment, Cronyism...and while Obama has come through on some promises -healthcare, getting Bin Laden...I cannot help but wonder: Is it possible to elect and keep a progressive President? I mean Bush was true to his horrible right wing roots, why can't we enjoy some advances? Is it written in democratic DNA that we need to relent, "be reasonable" (meaning giving in) You may cite, at this point-the crazy crazy House of Representatives, and I will agree. The insane obstructionism, that I would argue amounts to treason, is an overwhelming problem, but where was our agenda before the incoming parade of teastooges? It felt like we took a couple of progressive steps, got sidetracked by attending to the needs/demands/angry, irrational rants of the right, then gave up. What am I missing here. They bulldoze their agenda regardless of public sentiment (wars???) and seem to hum along. I go back to the need for passion, not civility. Obama was elected because of his passionate, forward-thinking message, not because he was a reasonable compromise maker-he needs/needed, to push forward the progressive agenda without looking back and angry wackjobs in the rear view mirror.


Is it possible to elect and keep a progressive president?

20%8 votes
12%5 votes
42%17 votes
12%5 votes
12%5 votes

| 40 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  I certainly think it's possible, just not yet. (7+ / 0-)

    Things have to be really bad* for a long time before most Americans start questioning the official narrative and look at alternatives.

    Things are certainly bad, horrible in fact, for far too many of us, but we still haven't reached that critical mass. I think our (Americans in general) profound ignorance and disinterest only help to prolong the pain and makes making bad decisions, once change inevitably happens, much more likely.

    *relative to contemporary standards.

    "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." - Voltaire

    by Greyhound on Sun Sep 04, 2011 at 03:53:55 AM PDT

    •  The incredible media suppression (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      in the US certainly hurts us too.  Anyone who hasn't started looking at Internet or foreign media would imagine, among other things, that there were no Iraq war protests -- and might even imagine that Bush won the 2000 election.

      Read pp. 1-7 of Krugman's _The Great Unraveling_ (available from Google Books). NOW.

      by neroden on Sun Sep 04, 2011 at 06:55:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The problem is that if things are bad, the usual (0+ / 0-)

      direction is a dictatorship not progressive win. Although it depends on the circumstances a lot.

  •  only as long as we maintain a Democratic congress (5+ / 0-)

    Elections matter. And in 2010, we got killed. And all the complaints from the Left regarding how the Affordable Care Act was Corporate Welfare did not help.

  •  i like your post. (7+ / 0-)

    i like the questions and think we need to have more discussions around such clear cut questions.

    i happen to think we need to jettison conventional politics and entrenched politicans... all of them.

    and concentrate on establishing local and regional platforms of power.

    ie: 50 state strategy to secularize school boards et al

  •  power & money (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    it always win out no matter who we elect....

  •  I Often Mention Here All My Family (6+ / 0-)

    members are Republicans. For most of my adult life I never talked to my parents. I was a terrible son and brother. Now that has changed. I talk to them and see them almost daily.

    I say that cause I have wide ranging political conversations with them. And funny thing, when I have a chance to explain what I think. The kind of world I want to live in, my views are not that different from their views.

    Strip away the right wing noise machine and our goals, our views are not that different believe it or not. Many of my core views are well, things they can agree upon.

    This is why I get so pissed.  Things like war is bad. Unions are good. Everybody ought to have health care and access to quality schools. Everyone should have equal rights. Just a few things, but things they don't argue with.

    That we can't get there, well something is very broken in this country.

    When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

    by webranding on Sun Sep 04, 2011 at 04:19:52 AM PDT

    •  thats true and not so much (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wilderness voice, neroden

      You are right that they want some of the same things that we do- (good schools, healthcare,) but the problem, when I talk to them is that they don't want to pay for it (they don't want to pay taxes) and thats where the real differences are-children want stuff they can't have (money, situation...etc), and then you grow up and mature, cater your needs/wants, delay gratification...these people haven't done that, and thats why I can't talk to them, truly like a different language.

  •  We sure to engage in a lot of structural critique (0+ / 0-)

    ...and analysis to obscure the fact that there were two candidates standing in the Democratic primaries in 2008 and that we may have been mistaken about which one was more progressive.

    Let us resolutely study and implement the resolutions of the 46th Convention of the Democratic Party!

    by Rich in PA on Sun Sep 04, 2011 at 05:07:03 AM PDT

  •  I was tempted to vote no but (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    such things have happened in the past.

    Scientific Materialism debunked here

    by wilderness voice on Sun Sep 04, 2011 at 06:11:32 AM PDT

  •  We are trying to overturn 30 years (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Whimsical, DontTaseMeBro, sewaneepat

    of desperately bad policies and it won't happen overnight.  Every step is a victory.  We have to keep going, keep concentrating on every single race and never give up.

    Turn your face to the sun and the shadows fall behind you.

    by chicago minx on Sun Sep 04, 2011 at 06:51:22 AM PDT

    •  thank you sincerely. your optimism (0+ / 0-)

      bolsters mine.  

      after hearing the administration parroting RW talking points the other day (EPA regulations kill jobs), I've been pretty despondent.

      There's room for Hope... but I guess it was easier to latch onto Hope when Obama was rallying us as a candidate.  In the oval office?  Not doing it for me.. actually making me yearn for Hope again.

      And yes, he's done some great things... but given away so much too.  On balance, a zillion times better than Bush.  But I'm a progressive, I will never give up, I will always expect more.

      Spray tons of carcinogens into the ocean to hide petroleum spewed from a hastily-drilled hole from a greedy corporation, but don't smoke pot. -xxdr zombiexx

      by DontTaseMeBro on Sun Sep 04, 2011 at 07:51:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I think it requires abolishing the Senate. (0+ / 0-)

    The governmental system is designed to allow a small obstreporous group to prevent anything from getting done at all.

    That, at a minimum, must be changed.

    We'd better start talking about party reform too, because we have to clean house in the Democratic Party or leave it...

    Read pp. 1-7 of Krugman's _The Great Unraveling_ (available from Google Books). NOW.

    by neroden on Sun Sep 04, 2011 at 06:54:27 AM PDT

  •  Yes, but not with the strategy progressives (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    have been using for the last 30+ years.

    You'd need to convince "progressives" to abandon the strategy that they've stubbornly clung to for the past 30+ years (because its obvious failure is what has driven, and indeed keeps driving the Democratic party further and further right) and get them to embrace a strategy that requires patience, frustration tolerance, and an understanding of how the system ACTUALLY works- pretty much the exact opposite of the failed, failing and always will fail strategy that they're currently using.

    And given that their general response to that has been "DON'T WANNA! I shouldn't HAVE to change what I'M doing to get better results! Politicians will change for me if I keep doing the same thing over and over- despite the thirty years of evidence showing otherwise!" Well, I don't see it happening any time soon.

    "The future of man is not one billion of us fighting over limited resources on a soon-to-be dead planet. . .I won't go back into the cave for anyone."

    by Whimsical on Sun Sep 04, 2011 at 07:10:48 AM PDT

    •  You seem to be aiming at the wrong people. (0+ / 0-)
      And given that their general response to that has been "DON'T WANNA! I shouldn't HAVE to change what I'M doing to get better results! Politicians will change for me if I keep doing the same thing over and over- despite the thirty years of evidence showing otherwise!"

      has the situation backwards.

      It is the politicians who have to change to accommodate voters.  Abandon pointless labels such as 'progressive', and merely hold the positions voters want to vote for.  There are plenty of ideas that are highly popular with the public, yet 30+ years of politicians steadfastly refuse to agree with.

      You win elections by winning over voters.  You win over voters by finding out what they want, and doing it.  You lose elections by merely promoting politicians who refuse to answer to voters.

      •  There ya go (0+ / 0-)

        You proved my point for me with your answer.

        You aren't going to get policies until you change the way you deal with politicians.

        To just sit there and proclaim "politicians have to change" just guarantees they won't bother with you.

        "The future of man is not one billion of us fighting over limited resources on a soon-to-be dead planet. . .I won't go back into the cave for anyone."

        by Whimsical on Sun Sep 04, 2011 at 03:04:50 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  No, I didn't. (0+ / 0-)

          Ask yourself, is it easier to change one person or a million?  To win elections, your best bet is to try and change the one person, the politician, than to pretend you can change the million voters.

          For them to proclaim 'the voters have to change' just guarantees they won't get elected or re-elected.  That's one delusional politician if he thinks he's going to change the voters.

          •  it's all in how you change the one man... (0+ / 0-)

            Republicans have (sadly) figured out the mass media/ 24-hour news cycle and use it to grind their message in to the electorate - yes - one person at a time.  The republican party has figured out what the progressives have not.  Political parties are like corporations - they are soul-less machines that exist to get people elected.  If the democrats could embrace the strategy that we have to be in power to enact change vs. bemoaning the spectrum of "lots" in live we currently enjoy, we could at least have the beginnings of a weapon that could be used 24/7/365 from now until....forever.  That's what the republican party does and it works...and has worked since they figured it out.

          •  The politican doesn't have to change the voters (0+ / 0-)

            unless the voters change their strategy, they're going to get more of the same.

            This is why the Democratic party has moved so far right over the past thirty years.  The left has refused to change the strategy that sends the message "We are NOT serious about keeping you in office. If you want to remain in office, we suggest you ignore us and play to people actually interested in keeping you in office- who are invariably to our right."

            All your protestation that "Politicians have to change or they wont get my support" does is tell them what they already know- that they don't have your support.

            And they can get re-elected without your support, by moving right.

            You want them to move left, you have to change the way you deal with them.  Cause they have a winning formula in not changing the way they deal with you- so why would they change it?

            "The future of man is not one billion of us fighting over limited resources on a soon-to-be dead planet. . .I won't go back into the cave for anyone."

            by Whimsical on Mon Sep 05, 2011 at 12:41:58 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Given that vast majority of people in this (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    country don't vote for progressives, it's likely impossible. There may be some special circumstances when it is possible (e.g. progressive winning a primary and Dems have a huge intrinsic advantage in general for some reason). But then Congress will not be progressive so it will hamper the President.

  •  The USA Destiny Is To Be The Grand Experiment (0+ / 0-)

    in relatively unregulated capitalism in the modern world. The only thing that will reverse this is when it is clear that these policies have made us a low growth, two tiered society compared to the rest. The resistance to change still will be there...

    --Dumbing down of culture, led by media and advertising.
    Make many unable to understand the more complex politics of progressives.
    --The demonization of government by the right wing. Works on characteristics of the culture that are unique to the states. Individualism. Origin myths (tea party, etc.) that are poorly intrepreted. The resistance to communism from 1917 on made this all stronger.

    The leaders of the Democratic party have given up on trying to change the above two dynamics and try to work with them. Understandable. The forces are powerful.  

  •  It is possible, but doing so lies in the marketing (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    realm.  You wouldn't market such as being progressive, or liberal, but simply as being populist.  You would deny political ideology, and merely keep pumping the ideas that polls show the populace actually wants.  Don't call them 'progressive', call them what they are - 'popular'.

  •  i have a real dilemma with how bush (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    got his agenda through and how i want my democratic president to get his through.

    if you examine how bush worked - executive fiat - orders that undermined the very principle of this democracy - i don't want that happening again.

    for president obama to accomplish as much through progressive (or just plain sane) governance with this congress, he would have to abuse the system set in place as bush did.

    i'd rather see us move more slowly and follow the process of government instead of seeing tit-for-tat presidencies where "rules" and "orders" are the dictatorial tool to be undone by the next election.

    we are better than that as a nation.  we NEED to be better than that as a nation - otherwise, we give up the very system of governing that worked very well until bush/cheney/gingrich broke it.

    i want my government back - i want responsibility in legislators - the way to get that is to work on the ground to educate the younger voters who don't see a difference between the parties.  after all, people who are under 40 have never seen a real democracy working.

    the takeover of the presidency by the secret cabal of businessmen who manipulated the puppet reagan (already with onset of dementia) and followed by his same manipulators controlling the empty suit bush - coupled together with the contract on america by the hypocrite gingrich covered 30 years of american governance (or mis-governance).  to see how real politics with dems and republicans working for different goals but working together, you have to go back to LBJ and Ford and Kennedy.  

    government was still a contentious process but it wasn't a corrupt one as it is today.

    we can also thank wittle wonnie weagun for that one with the dismantling of the fairness doctrine and the subsequent upsurge in right wing hate radio.

    can we even take back the country?  i honestly don't know - but i'm gonna try like hell... because if we don't, the consequences are just to horrific to imagine.

    already we've precursors of the nightmare to come with the kangarooRoberts court and citizens united.  if another republican gets into the presidency and picks more right wing fanatics, this country may not ever recover.

    and, yes, i am afraid!  that is why i will support any and all democratic candidates, even if they run the damned donkey - because the alternative of republicans is much much worse.

    It's the Supreme Court, Stoopid!

    by edrie on Sun Sep 04, 2011 at 11:54:32 AM PDT

  •  Sadly I think it may be.... (0+ / 0-)

    We democrats don't seem to be able to:
    1.  focus on the "1 thing" that's most important at a particular moment in history (economy, environment, gay rights, womens' rights, reproductive rights, union issues, etc....)  The fact is that you and I get inundated almost daily with email campaigns and even snail mail campaigns from a bewildering array of issues  that serve to dilute our focus and energies.  I "get" that every issue that comes my way for fund raising is important, but if we can't focus enough to govern the country, we can't fix what's wrong.
    2.  Lead by message:  Obama inherited a collapsed economy and a suffocating debt.  I have rarely heard him talk about the state of affairs that the republicans left behind in those terms  Furthermore, as other posters have pointed out repeatedly, the income gap makes it harder and harder for the government to even run itself.  Lastly, Republicans are great at marketing and messaging.  They can get people to parrot things that are patently ridiculous just by repetition.  They also get mainstreet voters to vote against their own best interests.  If Republicans can do that with full-blown bullshit Why can't dems do that with actual facts?  (see item 1 - focus)  In my mind, Obama should have been running against the republicans since the day he took office with one message....."they f'd the economy up and you're screwed - let's partner together to fix it."  If the republicans don't play, they are the party of obstruction and the wealthy.
    3.  Contempt for the party across the aisle:  I am on these blogs all the time and I'm always amazed by the lack of "respect" for how effectively republicans can dominate the debate.  We may hate the methods, but there is something to be said for them in the end.  I've always felt that as a business strategy you have to respect your competition, or you are out of business quickly.  I perceive that a lot of Dems feel morally superior to Republicans and that's dangerous, from my point of view.
    So if we can't unify behind one message, and repeat it until every American citizen can recite it in their sleep, while maintaining a vigilant respect for the Republicans, we will never have and keep a progressive government.  

    on man's dos centavos  - take it for what it's worth.

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