Over the past day I have been running across folks in the progressive blogosphere grousing about Obama’s choice of Joe Biden as his running mate. Biden apparently is a “hawk”, too centrist, too pro-Israel, too … well, you get the picture. But I’m wondering, what did these individuals expect? Who else could perhaps deliver the White House with Obama? Clinton? Feingold?
Certain quarters on the progressive left are lacking pragmatism, lacking the realization that the goal at the moment should be to win the White House and work from there. Unrolling the “revolution” that Reagan started in the 1980’s is not going to happen overnight. Hell, it’s not even going to happen over the next four years.
Many – myself included – would like a more progressive candidate than Obama. But such an individual is not going to get elected in this country. The left needs to face that fact. But an Obama presidency is a start … the start of a longer campaign. As Robert L. Borosage & Katrina vanden Heuvel note in this weeks Nation, “Progressives should be focusing less on the limits of the Obama agenda and more on the possibilities that a successful candidacy opens up.”
Yet we must realize that political forces are already closing in on these possibilities. Borosage & vanden Heuval state:
Corporations have already begun moving more of their money to Democratic incumbents and are snapping up former Democratic legislators and staffers for their lobbies … They will do everything they can to stall healthcare and drug-pricing reform, empowerment of workers and re-regulation of Wall Street. Moreover, while Democrats are likely to enjoy larger majorities in both houses, their caucuses are likely to be less progressive as they pick up seats in very conservative, formerly Republican districts.
We must set pragmatic goals, realize the environment we find ourselves in, and work from there. Complaining and in-fighting at the moment is not going to help us retake the White House. As has been noted, the future is unwritten, but even if Obama loses, American politics will never be the same again.