Wednesday, March 19

HOW DID I GET LEFT BEHIND BY THE PROGRESSIVE MOVEMENT?

Well, I'm flummoxed. I guess I'm not a progressive, after all (though I've lived and voted my entire adult life thinking that I was liberal aka progressive). Here's news from the Take Back America conference. "A whopping 72% were for Obama, compared to 16% for Clinton, with just 12% saying they’d be happy with either."

Add this to MoveOn's endorsement of Obama, it seems that while he's split the union vote with Clinton, he's winning the progressive vote. Though living up to their expectations might be easier said than done, they are realistic about what the president might be able to do right off the bat: asked what he expected the next president to do when he/she takes office Hickey said the first priority should be a plan to end the war in Iraq "or face a revolt from the left." But second, he said, would probably have be an economic stimulus package and he said that universal healthcare would likely have to be a longer term goal.

See, from what I can tell, Hillary Clinton has already formulated a responsible plan to extract us from the war in Iraq, while Barack Obama has floated a "hard date" for withdrawal that one of his top foreign policy advisers calls a "best case scenario" that he won't necessarily follow once he's POTUS. Hillary's plan is so sensible that she's received the endorsement of anti-war Congressman John Murtha (and isn't it interesting that this is despite the fact that his good pal, Nancy Pelosi, has been sending unmistakable signs that she supports Barack?).

Fool that I am, I thought universal health care was a top priority for progressives. After all, aren't liberals supposed to be the ones who care most about the interests/concerns of the working man? An economic stimulus package is an important issue, agreed, and Hillary has proposed an impressive program to create jobs and at the same time reduce America's dependence on foreign energy sources and address the global warming crisis. Obama, also, has addressed the economy and its impact on American families. But his health care proposal is hardly "universal," and he has repeatedly voiced the Republican talking point about "fixing" Social Security. As Paul Krugman said, "Progressives who fought hard and successfully against the Bush administration’s attempt to panic America into privatizing the New Deal’s crown jewel are outraged, and rightly so." I guess a lot of progressives weren't so outraged after all.

I think the "progressives" have left me behind. I'm no young, elite movement maker-and-shaker. No, I'm just a 50-something lifetime Democrat and liberal, who has been as anti-war as anyone (hey, I made my bones in the anti-Vietnam War days and spoke out against the Iraq invasion from the very beginning and never waivered). I'm also one of those despised Baby Boomers who still believes that real solutions take hard work and the courage to fight for the rights of Everyman. I still cry, "Union! Union!" and believe that ordinary Americans deserve a president who listens and responds to the needs of the working poor and middle class. And I want to see proof that that's been their agenda and life's work before I fall in line.

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6 Comments:

Anonymous Joelarama said...

I just found your blog. I feel like a progressive-out-of-water, as well. And I agree with you point-by-point on Obama's and Hillary's respedctive plans. Why do so many people believe he is the more progressive candidate? I don't get it.

Thanks for this. I enjoy your writing.

12:31 AM  
Anonymous Charles Lemos said...

As a mid 40s gay male I too am lost on the why Obama is adored by progressives. I think it has to do with his stance on the war in Iraq from a speech in 2003. Odd that they on the 85 votes since he arriving in the Senate he and Senator Clinton have voted 84 out of 85 times the same way. The sole difference was his vote to confirm General Casey as commander which Clinton opposed.

It is as if progressives are blind. On energy, which I think really the most important issue because everything else is effectively dependent on it, he voted for the Cheney energy bill and Clinton opposed it. Clinton's energy plan, while still lacking in my opinion, is still so much greener, than his. He's big on corn ethanol, which has a low ROI, some 15%, and big on coal and nuclear power.

On gay issues, most gays I know are big Clinton supporters but not the leadership, they all pro-Obama. The HRC, my city supervisor Bevan Dufty, GLAAD, it's sad. I think they felt he was it so better get on board quick before he throw us under the bus again.

The netroots too must have had an effect. Some have never forgiven Clinton for her support of the war. I have because what matters is the situation on the ground today not five years ago. I also know that without getting the DC and NY foreign policy establishment on board with an Iraq Withdrawal plan it won't happen. Iraq is too important to be left in a vacuum.

Still, I am pretty confident that we are seeing the unraveling of Obama. He's plainly a fraud and that was bound to catch up with him. I will not be content until he has resigned from the Senate.

4:03 AM  
Blogger Motherlode said...

Charles, I simply don't get the support of people like John Aravosis of AmericaBlog for Obama. When he appeared with the anti-gay Donnie McClurkin, I thought that would do him in, but no!

I think your points are very well made, but I'll add one more. I think this campaign has revealed a bias against women that I never realized was so deep-seated outside the business world. And that's as un-progressive a position as I can imagine.

4:14 AM  
Anonymous Charles Lemos said...

Motherlode, yes you are absolutely right on the misogyny. That was actually my Obama epiphany back in Nevada when I went there to help out John Edwards for the caucus. Obama was running a Spanish language radio ad in which he called Clinton a "sinverguenza" which translates as "shameless." That's the literal word for word translation, however the Hispanic cultural context is actually a potent sexual slur. Call a woman a "sinverguenza" in Spain or Latin America and you have called her a "fucking whore." Both Clinton and Edwards asked that the ad be pulled. Obama refused. Thus began my descent in loathing Obama. The more I learned the less I liked him. On the blog to which I contribute I am hated because I am anti-Obama, that's fine. I can deal with it. I am happy to have found my feminism and to have had my eyes opened to what women endure.

5:14 AM  
Blogger POONAM SETHI said...

Smart work about global warming. I have also a blog which give information about cause of global warming.

5:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Progressives' adoration of Obama has to be based on his war position - and nothing else. (See the diary up at MyDD about Hillary's very thoughtful background relative to her vote).

Beyond that I am absolutely amazed...he wants to unite with Repugs - how in the heck does he/they expect Progressive positions to be realized with that goal? Repugs have learned from Bush...you ask for the most extreme righty position and then "negotiate" with the Dems and resolve it somewhere to the right of center. That's what they will continue to do if BO becomes POTUS and that's not going to deliver Progressive positions.

10:49 AM  

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