…about President Obama. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) seems to be one of the few politicians in the Democratic caucus (not party, though) who understands just how dire the Democrats’ prospects are:
In my view, the Democrats–including the president–have absurdly continued to stumble along the path of “bipartisanship” at exactly the same time the Republicans have waged the most vigorous partisan and obstructionist strategy in recent history.
Instead of making it clear that the first two years of the Obama administration would be about digging the country out of the incredible mess that Bush’s eight years left us in, (deep recession, financial collapse, record-breaking deficits, disintegrating healthcare system, two wars, lack of respect from the international community, neglect of the environment), Obama, incredibly, has enabled tens of millions of Americans to now believe that Bush’s failures are his as well…
The results of this ‘strategy’ are predictable–and I would note, were predicted (italics mine):
The result of all this is that Democrats of every stripe and many independents are perplexed, dispirited and sometimes disgusted. Constituency after constituency has been ignored or rejected. Some examples:
Progressive activists are angry that a Medicare-for-all single-payer approach was totally ignored during the healthcare debate. They also cannot understand how, despite overwhelming support for a strong public option in healthcare reform, there will not be one in the final bill. Trade unionists, many of whom voted for Obama and against McCain because of the latter’s position on taxing workers’ healthcare benefits, are apoplectic that Obama and Senate Democrats now support the McCain position. Women are outraged that the Democratic House was put in the position of having to support major restrictions with regard to abortion rights. And seniors, who for the first time in forty-five years will not be receiving a Social Security cost of living adjustment, are responding to the hypocritical Republican attacks about “cuts” in Medicare.
Now, I may not be the greatest political strategist in the world, but I don’t know how you win elections by ignoring the ideas of the progressives who have worked hardest at the grassroots level for your victories, or the trade unions that have provided significant financial support and door-to-door volunteers for Democratic campaigns. I don’t know how you succeed politically when you insult women, who far more than men consistently provide you with great margins of support. How do you preserve a big majority in Congress when you fail to be aggressive in protecting the interests of seniors, a huge voting bloc in off-presidential-year elections? In other words, it should not surprise anyone that the Democrats are in serious trouble.
What Bernie said. But, while most of his advice is sound–and, therefore, will not be adopted by the Democrats, the Stupidest Political Party in Recorded History, Sanders first piece of advice makes little sense to me:
Perhaps most important, let Obama be Obama. Bring back one of the great inspirational leaders of our time, who is more than capable of taking on the powerful special interests and rallying the American people toward a progressive agenda and a more just society.
You mean the Obama who argued during the campaign that Social Security was DOOOMMMEDD!! (and continues to do so)? The Obama who chose Joe Fucking Lieberman as his Senate mentor? Obama was never a liberal (or even center-left)–if he weren’t black, smart, and very telegenic, he would be readily identifiable as a Blue Dog Democrat or a liberal Republican (particularly if the Republicans weren’t so batshit lunatic).
The hope–a desperate hope–is that Obama, out of political pragmatism, tacks to the left. As I’ve said about healthcare (and other issues), people actually have to like this stuff. It actually has to make a difference in people’s lives. You can’t look like you’re being changey, you actually have to change things.
And that hope, right now, seems pretty weak.