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Be blasé about what you wish for

vastleft's picture

It would be some sort of good thing if some of the big blogs fomented a Primary Obama movement. Heck, maybe I'd sell a few more T-shirts.

Naturally, no one could have anticipated that Obama would be dreadful, and we must look forward and learn no lessons from the debacle, nor should we forgive the prematurely correct.

All that said, let's imagine that career progressives get behind the primary idea. It could happen, if only because movement-style activity is a good fundraising gimmick. Also, of course, because Obama is doing such yeoman work in devaluing his brand, try as his apologists do to keep buffing it. It may prove easier to energize progressives (with or without the scare quotes) by opposing Obama than by rallying behind him. Hard to say, as old love dies hard, but it's possible.

A Draft Dean movement, say, would IMHO be eminently gaggable. And much as I think Hillary Clinton is a better-than-average centrist, I cringe every time she's propped up as the One True Cure for what ails us. Wake me when she quits Obama's Cabinet with a blistering statement against his policies.

So, while I would like to see Obama face a vigorous primary challenge, the odds that the Democrats will be other than a roach motel for progressive energies are extraordinarily high.

I love a good show as much as anybody, so bring on the primary challenge. Just don't expect much from it, even if it comes.

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vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

But as of now, the zeal is gone.

Rangoon78's picture
Submitted by Rangoon78 on

Then again, if you believe that “narrowing the range of acceptable discourse” is the real role of the press, working as a willing propagandist for the state with a patina of independence, there really isn’t much hope in that case, is there?

Veal pen -The Common Purpose meeting every Tuesday afternoon at the Capitol Hilton brings together the top officials from a range of left-leaning organizations, from labor groups like Change to Win to activists like, all in support of the White House's agenda . . . 

It's aimed, said one, at "providing a way for the White House to manage its relationships with some of these independent groups."
-'Common Purpose' - Ben Smith - 
April 08, 2009

"I wasn’t actually part of the campaign . . ."
-Jane Hampshire (responding to being named in above article.)

Versailles- They all know each other, and they all fuck each other (both senses). The term "Village" (my term was Versailles On the Potomac. 
-Lambert Strether
Izvestiasearch for term
Also, Izvestia on the Hudson. The New York Times.

Pravdasearch for term
Also, Pravda on the Potomac. The Washington Post.

As the names of the main Communist newspaper and the main Soviet newspaper, Pravda and Izvestia, meant "the truth" and "the news" …
Pravda was well known in the West for its pronouncements as the official voice of Soviet Communism. (Similarly Izvestia was the official voice of the Soviet government.)
Origins - The Soviet period - The post-Soviet period - See also

Eureka Springs's picture
Submitted by Eureka Springs on

I'm already way past primary Obama point when I wake up in the morning. That said, have fun Democrats.. I would switch over long enough to help you with a primary vote... but the odds of waking up and taking on the D party with anyone worthy are much worse from the inside these days, imo.

The left needs a simple solid platform.And the country needs a party (or two or three) designed like Nancy discusses below. We need to pick up our bullhorns and pitchforks... demand attention like the teabaggers did.. or we will simply be talking amongst ourselves for a long long time.

We are not ready for primary time playing. The rich Dems don't fear us nd the media doesn't pay attention to our theatrics as much as a common housefly on their shoulder.

Let's get shrill! And keep it simple stupid.

Submitted by Hugh on

I was never that big a fan of Dean and his lying and waffling on HCR simply confirmed that view. For me, Clinton is every bit as conservative as Obama. Kucinich's cave in the healthcare debate showed that the rest of the country was right not to take him seriously. There's Feingold. I was never that big a fan of his either. Aside from his fairly half-hearted attempt to censure Bush back in 2006, there was so little there there. McCain-Feingold even before it was eviscerated by Citizens United never stopped the corporate takeover of the parties. Nor did Feingold ever accept the role of progressive leader.

It has been a very long time, probably decades since we could say, "That guy speaks for me." That's the problem not with some Democrats but with all Democrats. It is the revolving heroes schtick. Here and there one will speak out briefly, and almost always ineffectually, on an issue, but there are none who did so because they were actually progressive themselves. And I'm not talking about agreeing with me, or us, on every issue, but there is a world of difference between a progressive with whom you agree on most but not all issues and a non-progressive that for whatever reason echoes a progressive line on a particular issue.

This is why I think a primary challenge to Obama is irrelevant from a progressive point of view. The most likely scenario is that if he is primaried it will be by another neocon corporatist whore like himself.

I wrote a while ago that I thought 2012 would be a year that might attract a rich "white knight" run from outside the parties. Such a run would almost certainly not involve a wealthy progressive for the very simple reason that a wealthy progressive is pretty close to an existential impossibility.

Since then there have been some rumblings, mostly by traditional corporatist neoliberals like Thom Friedman, about a Bloomberg run. It took Bloomberg a shitload of money to even win re-election in New York. More importantly, Bloomberg is no Ross Perot. For all his faults, Perot struck a populist chord that Bloomberg is simply incapable of doing.

But what I find fascinating about the Perot phenomenon is how quickly it has been forgotten. We get the constant mantra, largely I think generated by the two parties themselves, that it is the two parties or nothing. But without Perot in the race Bill Clinton now lionized as super popular would never have won the Presidency. Indeed if Perot had been a little less screwy and just a hair more PR oriented, he might well have won.

And all that happened less than 20 years ago, and at a time when populist resentment was far less than it is today. So it is possible to overturn the Democratic-Republican duopoly. The most likely scenario for 2012 is still that we will have a dreadful Republican facing off against a dreadful Democrat. But if it is, it will be largely because so much of the organizing potential of the left remains in the hands of Democratic operatives. That is the veal pen, with its MoveOn, kos, and the unions, and Trojan horses like FDL. That is why it is so important for the left to break with the Democrats if for nothing more than to re-establish control over its own organizations and organizing.

Joe's picture
Submitted by Joe on

I suppose if there came along a great and proud lefty primary challenger, I'd get on board. But I'd still be reluctant to. Working WITHIN the democratic party helps keep it alive. And I'd rather see it die. Or at least take a huge hit, in exchange for the creation of a real opposition party which represents Lefties like me.

Personally, I think the ideal course of action is to ignore the democratic party and get to work right away on the general election. Let's find a great candidate whose purpose is, above all, to speak the TRUTH about this entire degenerate *system* - the parties, their corporate owners, etc.

My dream would be to see somebody like Glenn Greenwald in the presidential debates shredding these motherfuckers. Just shredding them into little pieces.

Howard Dean will not do. We can do much better than that. We have a completely blank slate.