How Obama Has Failed Us

Jeff Sachs at Huffpo:

[A]t every crucial opportunity, Obama has failed to stand up for the poor and middle class.
...Obama could have cut hundreds of billions of dollars in spending that has been wasted on America's disastrous wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Yemen, but here too it's been all bait and switch. Obama is either afraid to stand up to the Pentagon or is part of the same neoconservative outlook as his predecessor. The real cause hardly matters since the outcome is the same: America is more militarily engaged under Obama than even under Bush.


Who runs America today? The rich and the multinational corporations. Who runs the White House? David Plouffe, whose job it is to make sure that ever word, every action of the president is calculated for electoral gain rather than the country's needs.

Sach's solution: A third party candidate:

America needs a third-party movement to break the hammerlock of the financial elites. Until that happens, the political class and the media conglomerates will continue to spew lies, American militarism will continue to destabilize a growing swath of the world, and the country will continue its economic decline.

It's probably too late for that, but if Obama loses in 2012, the reason will be clear. He threw his base (and seniors) under the bus to pacify the center and the right. Nobody likes a sellout.

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    Obama never was on the bus (5.00 / 5) (#7)
    by polizeros on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 12:20:38 PM EST
    At this late date, liberals and progressives are still astounded that Obama somehow betrayed them?

    That would mean that Obama at one point must have supported their views.

    He didn't and never has.

    Truer words were never spoken (5.00 / 2) (#53)
    by MO Blue on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 03:20:24 PM EST
    Obama was a great marketing effort sponsored and paid for by Wall St. for the benefit of Wall St.

    Charles Gasparino's book was enlightening (none / 0) (#89)
    by polizeros on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 11:53:13 PM EST
    "Bought and Paid For: The Unholy Alliance Between Barack Obama and Wall Street"

    I mean, Obama hired the people who created the mess in the first place.


    Matt Stoller interview (none / 0) (#42)
    by waldenpond on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 02:11:17 PM EST
    I listened to the Matt Stoller interview someone else linked to.  Stoller talked about how he read Obama's book and that Obama explains in his book that he tried community organizing and liberalism and rejected them.  It was an interesting reminder.

    yeah right. Schmoozing (none / 0) (#52)
    by observed on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 03:10:11 PM EST
    with slumlords taught him alot!

    Merger Announcement (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by cal1942 on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 12:59:51 PM EST
    The Democratic Party and the Republican Party have merged.

    This is what Obama was talking about when he said he'd change the tone, work across the aisle.

    Now it's absolutely true, there's not a dime's worth of difference.

    The graphic is disturbing my (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by oculus on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 01:00:05 PM EST
    mental image of the meaning of the phrase "under the bus."  I always imagine those under the bus as either lying flat on their stomachs or struggling to attain a sitting position.  

    When I read the post title, what came to (5.00 / 4) (#16)
    by Anne on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 01:00:46 PM EST
    mind was, "Let me count the ways."

    Which is fitting, as this whole thing is taking on overtones of a Shakespearean tragedy, with some elements of theatre of the absurd and, of course, kabuki.

    Obama's base?  Increasingly, I believe it's the moneyed class, the corporate hierarchy - but that's also the base for the Republican party, and that's why the "dime's worth of difference" is now an expression that applies to those two parties, and not just to intra-party rivals.

    The last thing we need is some Third Way, Bipartisan coalition party - what we need is contrast; we don't need more blending of the two ideologies, we need more distinction and definition between them.  I, at least, don't want compromise on the issues that matter to me, I want leadership in the truest sense: bringing others to the point of view we think is best, and letting the results of good policy speak for themselves.

    What worries me is that, as more people check out of the political process because they feel that what they say at the voting booth isn't making a difference, it will just consolidate more power in the hands of the big money that ends up controlling our destiny.  But the answer isn't to keep voting for whichever candidate is marginally less evil, either.

    If there is to be a third party movement that matters, it needs to serve to push governance in the direction it needs to be moving; it would help to have a viable candidate who could embody that goal, but in the absence of one, the collective voice of people who believe things need to move in a different direction can only help that cause.

    There is no question in my mind that the last thing the Obama apologists want is for a significant number of people to reject the New Democratic agenda - they want us to be compliant and cooperative Democrats who won't make trouble - which is exactly why trouble needs to be made.

    One of your best (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by cal1942 on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 01:37:58 PM EST

    What worries me is that, as more people check out of the political process because they feel that what they say at the voting booth isn't making a difference, it will just consolidate more power in the hands of the big money

    That's what will happen.  Voter apathy.

    As for a third party, IMO, the most likely scenario, if it happens at all, would be a split among Democratic power groups.  A significant Democratic power group that's burned enough and has taken a bad beating is organized labor.  I read (wish I'd saved the link) that labor told Obama not to expect rank and file members to work on his behalf in 2012, that rank and file members would only work for down ticket Democrats.

    I can see some would abandon down ticket Democrats as well.  With Gang of Six proposals tied to a debt ceiling vote Democrats in the House and Senate may vote for the measure to avoid a potential immediate catastrophe and that would take the wind out of any volunteer's sails.  How can you campaign for someone who just kicked you in the gut.

    The difference between the Democratic Party of 40+ years ago and today is the weakened labor movement that doesn't have the financial clout to have the biggest say in party policy.  

    But organized labor could be a very big factor in creating a strong opposition.

    I don't see any of this happening right now, but if Obama wins in 2012 and continues his current policy direction I wouldn't bet against a split.


    Wondering if Obama's campaign gurus (none / 0) (#17)
    by oculus on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 01:05:25 PM EST
    are monitoring DK.  The tide seems to be turning there [if not already turned] as to support of President Obama.  

    they are monitoring all of us (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 01:07:50 PM EST
    liberal blogs, you can count on it.

    Good. Reading but not heeding. (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by oculus on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 01:10:14 PM EST
    Too many people saying (5.00 / 2) (#63)
    by MO Blue on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 05:14:10 PM EST
    that Obama has their vote no matter how bad he governs. No need to change his actions if that is the case and every reason to gear his legislation to allow him to go after the corporate money and support.  

    State level (none / 0) (#44)
    by waldenpond on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 02:15:18 PM EST
    Right now there isn't much point in voting on a federal level but there are interesting local and state elections and here in CA always referendums.  People just need to ride out the shift to oligarchy and I keep hoping it shifts back to a democracy in my life time.  I'd like to see that come around again.  If people stop thinking fuwashington hashtags are activism, we might get there.  :)

    Beware of three party options (none / 0) (#54)
    by MO Blue on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 03:33:35 PM EST
    The No Label Party that floated Bloomberg as a possible presidential alternative is just another corporate centric entity preaching bipartisanship and not an alternative to either of our current two Republican parties.

    With names like Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh, David Gergen, Rep. Mike Castle,  Charlie Crist, Joe Scarborough, and IIRC Joe Lieberman this is not the party for you if you want more people orientated representation in D.C. In fact, they are gearing their effort to attract centrist voters.


    Not the third party (5.00 / 2) (#68)
    by Zorba on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 06:53:47 PM EST
    I would even consider.  I'm beginning to think that we need a very loud and in-your-face left-wing equivalent to the Tea Party.  And I don't care what we call it- probably not the Espresso Party, though.  How about the Average American's Party?  Myself, I'd be for the Populist Party or the Workers' Party, but I think those terms have negative connotations for too many (unthinking) Americans.

    Zorba, do you (none / 0) (#72)
    by sj on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 07:43:00 PM EST
    ever read Avedon Carol?  Here is her thought.

    Let's all set down and have a nice cup of tea.  Okay, so it's a little tongue in cheek.  But this part:

    using the Koch brothers' apparatus to spread left-wing memes

    is a very pleasing thought, I must say.

    The Sideshow is one of my must-reads.


    LOL! (none / 0) (#80)
    by Zorba on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 08:19:29 PM EST
    I have, in fact, tried to engage some of my Tea Party friends in just such a way.  Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to work very well; most of them do not seem to be very willing to engage in any kind of thoughtful discussion, even when you point out the common beliefs.  At least for the ones I know, they listen to Fox News and Rush Limbaugh et al far too much and are unwilling to admit that, just perhaps, there may be people on the left with whom they can make some common cause.  I am not saying that this is necessarily true of all Tea Partiers, because obviously I have only met a limited number, but this is what I have observed at my small local level.

    should be Beware of Third Party Options (none / 0) (#56)
    by MO Blue on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 03:53:39 PM EST
    Ahhhhh...........My mind says one thing and my fingers type something else.

    Brava! Brava! (none / 0) (#67)
    by Zorba on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 06:47:35 PM EST
    Absolutely spot on, Anne.

    i strongly urge mr. sachs (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by cpinva on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 01:15:59 PM EST
    go back and re-read recent campaign history. specifically, pres. obama's 2008 campaign. he specifically, unequivocally and quite clearly stated that he, if elected, would not only maintain the war in afghanistan, but would actually expand it, by sending additional troops into the fray. hence, the subsequent 30K troop "surge".

    how mr. sachs could have missed that glaring item mystifies me, unless it was due to intentional blindness on his part. when you can't even get something as obvious as this correct, why should we pay attention to anything else you might have to say?

    i am not defending pres. obama, merely pointing out the fact gaps in mr. sachs' rant.

    UK has a 3rd Party (1.60 / 5) (#1)
    by Politalkix on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 11:56:56 AM EST
    Liberal Democrats. They have joined hands with the Conservatives and are enforcing austerity programs in that country. 3rd Party is not a magic solution that some of you are imagining.
    J has put a picture of a school bus in this thread. I am reminded of the time when J was driving this bus on TL highway in MA, asking people not to vote for Martha Coakley because it would be so easy to defeat Scott Brown in 2012. I posted at that time that it would be foolish to think that Scott Brown could be easily defeated in 2012. Only time will tell what the future holds.
    Now J wants to take the 3rd Party exit. It is possible that many in this blog are having a mid life crisis and want to relive the summer of 72.
    What can I say? Peace!

    Magic solutions (5.00 / 3) (#2)
    by Dadler on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 12:01:21 PM EST
    You could not find a single person who would refer to any Obama challenge as a magic solution.  Your posts have the distinct sound of an imagination vacuum.

    No allusions (5.00 / 2) (#23)
    by mmc9431 on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 01:16:23 PM EST
    I don't think a primary against Obama would work. I also don't think a third party would change their course.

    Until Obama's concept of the "New Democratic Party" is trounced in the elections, they'll continue to drive the party to the right.

    I had hoped that the loss of Ted Kennedy's seat and the other defeats in 2010 would have sent them a message. Unfortunately, they chose to read it as a call to go even further to the right.

    2012 may be the wake up call the party needs.


    I didn't express (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 12:03:57 PM EST
    an opinion for a third party candidate. I said that was Sach's solution. It's a topic for discussion. When I endorse something, you'll know it because I'll say so.

    As for the summer of '72, the good times were already over. Maybe you meant the summer of '69?


    The commenter seems (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by Towanda on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 01:09:43 PM EST
    to come late to a lot of parties.

    p.s. Great art on this post.  


    The commenter has the habit (1.00 / 1) (#26)
    by Politalkix on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 01:23:16 PM EST
    of coming late to a party to clean up the mess that you folks left :-).

    What depth (5.00 / 0) (#40)
    by cal1942 on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 02:04:48 PM EST
    Continuing with the insults eh.

    He must have been referring (none / 0) (#25)
    by brodie on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 01:22:30 PM EST
    to lefty Geo McGovern and those good times.  Which, as I recall, ended up rather badly, splitting our party in two (including the union voters) and guaranteeing the re-election of the well-known GOP crook, Dick Nixon, who's now morphed into a well-known "liberal" on many of these liberal blogs.

    And I think there's something to the Be careful what you wish for argument with the calls by some for a 3d party challenge (I assume Sachs means an actual challenger to Obama next year, and not merely for a 3d party to begin to emerge but nothing more).  The outcome would be the same as 1972, or 1980 or 2000, with the GOP winning because of a divided Dem party, and likely staying in power, and wrecking the country, for a good long while.  Not a solution I find acceptable under the circumstances.  There are probably far less self-destructive ways to get O and the party establishment moved closer to our position.

    Besides Bernie Sanders' suggestion, people can also consider hooking up with Van Jones and his broad-based grassroots liberal movement.  It's a way for all the various disparate groups on the left to come together in positive ways without acting stupidly by shooting ourselves in the foot with a lefty 3d party movement that the GOP would eagerly welcome and probably help to fund.


    I am really surprised (none / 0) (#28)
    by Politalkix on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 01:29:46 PM EST
    that only brodie understood that I was talking about the split in the party that led to Nixon winning by a landslide....
    I made this comment after I read someone proposing the nomination of Kuchinich and others.

    please, we do know (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by observed on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 01:45:06 PM EST
    history here. Your comment just was not interesting. 1972 is a poor parallel, as Dems did not have the  White House. Your  remark about Coakley is misleading. J  was going by  her conscience, which I applaud.

    I thought it was comment- (none / 0) (#45)
    by brodie on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 02:24:55 PM EST
    worthy to the extent that there are various ways of splitting our party, and 1972 was one of them, even if the parallel isn't neat (e.g., non-incumbent on our side, plus primary-rigging shenanigans against our strongest candidate engaged in by the Nixon WH guaranteed a specific WH-produced Dem nominee).

    I think it's always helpful to remember we are the Big Tent Party with all the various subgroups, interests and ideologies, and that also we need to keep it intact or we tend not to win elections.  And history shows, if you can't win, it will be a long time before you're in a position to begin to bring about change -- and that before that starts, we'll have to expend much just to begin the digging out process wrought by the other party.


    check "parent" (none / 0) (#46)
    by observed on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 02:35:17 PM EST
    Hey, 1972 is very vivid in (none / 0) (#31)
    by brodie on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 01:44:23 PM EST
    my memory -- my first vote (just barely made the cut off).  And I recall clearly how union leaders and many of their socially conservative rank and file went with Nixon that year, as did what I call the LBJ Conservative Wing of the party, the old establishment, the pro-VN war types, many of our senior Dems.

    We've still got a big tent party to have to deal with and not all the outcomes should be expected to pass the liberal purity test.

    But while I strongly reject the call for a 3d party, I do think we need to act in other ways to remind Obama that he's going to need more than just moderate Ds and some MOR indies to get re-elected.


    LBJ (5.00 / 3) (#36)
    by cal1942 on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 01:55:10 PM EST
    conservative wing.

    Chuckle, chuckle.

    LBJ who got your hero's programs through Congress and then added many progressive programs of his own.


    Not chuckle-worthy because (none / 0) (#43)
    by brodie on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 02:13:27 PM EST
    not inaccurate -- LBJ did rep a wing of the party that year which in in formal ways, with his ex top aide John Connally helping form Democrats for Nixon, and informal (LBJ and his political allies like Mayor Daley and many from the Dem Old Guard all either gave only the most tepid "endorsement" of the Dem nominee or refused to endorse him and worked quietly for Nixon) helped guarantee Nixon's re-election.  Johnson for his part refused to appear publicly for McG, sending George out alone to announce to the press that he'd just received johnson's "endorsement", and everyone could see that lbj had just snubbed him, badly.

    Sorry, cal, but your hero was no liberal, as he showed in failing to publicly truly back the liberal nominee that year (instead giving him effectively the back of his hand), and his political allies ended up working for Nixon that year.  Thems the facts.  What lyndon did in signing bills in 1964 is completely irrelevant.


    You should get help (none / 0) (#91)
    by cal1942 on Mon Jul 25, 2011 at 02:12:16 PM EST
    for your fixation on LBJ.

    Connally and LBJ were old friends its true but hooking LBJ with Connally's acts is a bit much.

    I especially like this little tidbit:

    helped guarantee Nixon's re-election

    Nixon's re-election guarantee was his opponent a very misunderstood George McGovern.


    Oh, another thing (none / 0) (#92)
    by cal1942 on Mon Jul 25, 2011 at 02:20:12 PM EST
    I don't have heroes.  

    I view pols in a realistic fashion.  None of them are perfect and some are, to put it very simply, a mixed bag of good and bad.  For the most part our pols have been mediocre to stupid.  Few (2) deserve to be called great and even those we regard as great have a checkered record with not a few blunders.

    Almost all are ego maniacs who'll use deceit at the drop of a hat and will break or bend the "rules" to get what they want.

    Ultimately it's the record, also a mixed bag, they leave behind, their positive effect on the lives of others that determines whether we give them our grudging respect.


    how is that going to work? (5.00 / 0) (#78)
    by TeresaInPa on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 08:10:01 PM EST
    you reject a third party candidate and I am guessing you won't support a primary challenge.  Exactly how do you hold someone's feet to the fire while you are kissing their butt?

    Brodie (none / 0) (#47)
    by Politalkix on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 02:40:57 PM EST
    I totally agree with you. We have a big tent party. I also agree with you that we need to act in other ways to remind Obama that he's going to need more than just moderate Ds and some MOR indies to get re-elected. There are constructive ways to do that. I think that he does listen. He has listened to LGBT groups, he did listen to Tahrir Square demonstrators in Egypt. Unfortunately, the way some people interact here is very destructive; it will never lead to solutions that can help anyone. It may be worthwhile to learn from Unions or LGBT groups on how to constructively negotiate and get policies enacted to their liking. Everything is not achievable in a single step (unions and lgbt groups will readily acknowledge that), however there are ways to steadily work towards goals.

    A "mid-life crisis"?!? (5.00 / 3) (#5)
    by Yman on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 12:10:29 PM EST
    Now J wants to take the 3rd Party exit. It is possible that many in this blog are having a mid life crisis and want to relive the summer of 72.

    Riiiiiiight - it couldn't be that people have a strong, rational objection to being repeatedly thrown under the Obama bus.  It couldn't be that people are angry being repeatedly betrayed - promised one thing and given another.  It couldn't be legitimate objections to having medicare, social security and other social benefits stripped away rather than protected by a Democratic president.  You're right, ...

    ... it's probably just a "mid-life crisis" and some strange (unexplained) desire to relive their youth.



    Mid-life crisis may be somewhat accurate (5.00 / 8) (#13)
    by nycstray on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 12:54:57 PM EST
    for many who have seen their retirement savings depleted, home value plummet, loss of job/income and ability to earn a decent wage and are now watching as SS/MC (which they have been paying into for 30 yrs) are put on the chopping block. They could be described as having a bit of a crisis as they are living their midlife . . .

    Though I suspect that's not what was meant. So I'll take it as the insult it comes off as . . .


    Or it might be (5.00 / 3) (#50)
    by jeffinalabama on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 02:52:57 PM EST
    end-of-life crisis. What a callous and callow statement.

    Huh! (5.00 / 2) (#10)
    by cal1942 on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 12:45:47 PM EST
    That's a parliamentary system very unlike ours.

    You're familiar of course with what happened IN THIS COUNTRY to the Whigs.


    "He threw his base(and seniors)under the bus (none / 0) (#4)
    by Dan the Man on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 12:05:00 PM EST
    Obama's base is black voters, and they are not abandoning him.  If you look at recent PPP polls in states with large number of black voters (like North Carolina or Virginia), the % of people who support the realistic Republican candidate in a head-to-head match with Obama is around 4-6%.  This basically matches the % of black voters who voted for McCain in 2008.

    tell you what though (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by The Addams Family on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 12:15:12 PM EST
    if Obama goes down in 2012, it will be white "progressives" (well, them & Ishmael Reed) who will be screaming "Raaaay-cists!"

    voting stats (5.00 / 3) (#8)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 12:27:15 PM EST
    Via Pew

    whites  made up 76.3% of the record 131 million people who voted in November's presidential election, while blacks made up 12.1%, Hispanics 7.4% and Asians 2.5%

    Senior vote

    Seniors vote at a rate of about 60 percent more than young people and about 10 percentage points higher than the national average.... seniors are the only group in America that has been increasing its rate of voter turnout, especially in the 75-and-older range.

    Seniors voted in greater numbers than ever in the 2010 midterm elections.

    Senior citizens turned out in force, with the number of ballots cast by voters over 65 increasing by 16 percent. While making up only 13 percent of the U.S. resident population, Americans in this age group constituted 21 percent of 2010 voters.

    Right...Senior GOP vote high (5.00 / 2) (#51)
    by Madeline on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 02:56:32 PM EST
    in 2010 election.

    Despite what the cable coverage may suggest, the most consequential data point to emerge from Election Night 2010 wasn't Christine O'Donnell's defeat in Delaware. Or Linda McMahon's loss in Connecticut. Or even Rand Paul's victory in Kentucky. Instead, it was a single number buried deep in the exit polls: 23.

    That's the percentage of voters Tuesday who were over 65 years of age, which explains a lot about how the Republican Party got here, and a lot about where it's going. The question now is whether this senior moment is a positive development for the GOP--or a sign of trouble ahea

    As a result, Tuesday's exit polls showed that in contrast to 2006, when voters over 65 split their vote 49 percent to 49 percent between Democrats and the GOP, they now support Republicans 58-40, by far the largest pro-GOP margin of any age group. This means that retirees accounted for more than four of the estimated six percentage points that separated Republicans from Democrats in the national popular vote. The GOP has officially become the party of older people.

    Just saying. And since Obama suggested tht Medicare and Social Security be restructured, redefined, cut???, Seniors just may BE the opposing force.


    It seemed that President Obama and (none / 0) (#11)
    by KeysDan on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 12:46:42 PM EST
    the Democrats had the Republicans on the run after the House Republican's kamikaze vote on dismantling Medicare and replacing it with coupons.  The upset by Kathy Hochul, in the NY 26-Congressional race,  illustrated the depth of the hole the Republicans dug for themselves and paved the electoral way by protecting a solid Democratic value.  But, the Democrats seemed intent on saving privatizing Ryan complete with President Obama's own offer of not only cutting Medicare, but also,  Medicaid and Social Security.  Even if such cuts wind up not being a part of debt ceiling and deficit negotiations at this time, the Republicans are out of their hole and the Democrats are now in it.  

    Yep (5.00 / 2) (#55)
    by MO Blue on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 03:46:22 PM EST
    Without Obama's mad dash to cut the safety net programs there was a good chance that the Democrats could have regained the House because of the Ryan vote.

    Obama once again rides to the rescue of the Republican Party. It will be much easier for Obama to repay his big donor Wall St. contributors and pass the "right" legislation if the Republicans are in control of both Houses of Congress. It will shorten the kabuki dance quite a bit and allow him to get more of the his legislation through for his signature.  


    Also, Dan (5.00 / 2) (#9)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 12:29:04 PM EST
    His base is supposed to be Democrats, all of us.

    yes jeralyn, (5.00 / 1) (#64)
    by cpinva on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 06:34:21 PM EST
    it's "supposed to be". sadly, it has become painfully clear that pres. obama would willingly, happily, drop-kick his "base", if it would result in some "through the looking glass" deal with the house republicans.

    i do not feel comforted.


    Independents are part of BHOs base (none / 0) (#69)
    by Politalkix on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 07:18:28 PM EST
    Independents carried BHO through the primaries. In the GE, Obama carried the Independent vote
    52-44. Even in 2008, when the current President won by a landslide, he had lost the Seniors vote 45-53.
    The President's campaign advisors are correct in making the assessment that the Independent vote is less elusive than the Seniors vote. It is not clear to me why the BHO campaign should abandon Independents at the expense of Seniors. Can anyone explain? Independents did propel BHO to the Presidency along with younger Democrats.
    The President is doing a good balancing act in looking out for the competing interests of younger independent voters and seniors. It will however be wrong for Seniors to expect the President to abandon Independents.

    Then maybe he should run as a (5.00 / 1) (#71)
    by nycstray on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 07:30:47 PM EST
    Right-leaning Indie. Seems to be the only part of his 'base' he's all that into . . .

    and that 'balancing act'? Heh, ya might want to look up the word balance . . .


    nycstray's sense of entitlement (1.00 / 2) (#73)
    by Politalkix on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 07:44:02 PM EST
    Open your eyes and you will find that there are many different groups that comprise the Democratic base. All of them have to learn to live inside a big tent.
    Why should BHO leave the party when he can beat any other Democrat by large margins in a primary? Your sense of entitlement has reached ridiculuos proportions.

    Seems to me, you're the one with closed (5.00 / 1) (#75)
    by nycstray on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 08:01:52 PM EST
    eyes. Or lack of knowledge of the Dem party platform (and me!) If you really believe what you just wrote about my "sense entitlement", I suggest you wake up and smell the coffee, it's a burnin'.

    Seniors split the vote 49-49 (none / 0) (#77)
    by Politalkix on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 08:06:47 PM EST
    between Democrats and Republicans, even in 2006 (before BHO ran for office) when Democrats racked up huge wins. It is therefore difficult to make the argument that they comprise a core and loyal section of the Democratic base for whom the interests of every other group in the Democratic base need to be sacrificed. The seniors vote is a swing vote, it has tended to side more with Republicans in recent years (even before BHO ran for the Presidency).

    How seniors have voted (none / 0) (#81)
    by Politalkix on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 08:25:04 PM EST
    in Presidential elections. It is eye-opening.

    The conclusion is worth highlighting (none / 0) (#84)
    by Towanda on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 08:59:10 PM EST

    Democrats need to do battle on policies that are central to the lives of seniors.

    As President Bush's proposal, which would replace the Social Security benefit for which American workers have paid with the instability of the stock market, continues to flounder, we return to more fertile ground for Democrats. The political stakes are high -- so high that Bush was unwilling to traverse this terrain. . . .  

    For Democrats, there are new opportunities, if the party is unified and confident that it can offer a vision that protects Social Security now and for the future.

    And if the party and its President offers the opposite vision?  Well, perhaps seniors were listening in 2008 to what he said, which would factor into their two-to-one rejection of him.

    Even if not, they're listening now.  

    And now -- as we are told is the reason for the "crisis" -- there are more seniors every day.  Already 23% of the voting public in 2008, will they be more than 25% of the voters in 2012?


    I also think some are mistaking (5.00 / 1) (#85)
    by nycstray on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 09:29:05 PM EST
    that only seniors are thinking like seniors. As many Boomers are creeping closer to the senior bracket, our brains are very much in line with what is happening on that front (and having AARP tracking ya down, is yet another reminder . . ). And many have senior parents etc right now. We see how the system we have been paying into for decades is working . . .

    And most people, (none / 0) (#74)
    by lilburro on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 08:01:43 PM EST
    including indies, support letting the Bush tax cuts for the rich expire.  

    But that didn't happen in 2010, so Democrats couldn't run on that.  

    And now obviously "deficit reduction" is going to happen without revenue.  And that's what deficit reduction will mean - only cutting spending.  

    Democrats have simply been timid in this area.  More than timid.  I work for them, I donate to them, I vote for them, and it makes me angry that they are being so timid.


    The majority of independent voters (none / 0) (#82)
    by MO Blue on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 08:36:36 PM EST
    do not support cutting SS, Medicare or Medicaid to fix the deficit. Poll after poll has shown this to be true. All recent polls during Obama's current high profile attempt to cut the safety net programs. has shown Obama losing support among independent voters.

    Don't see where this is generating support from independent voters regardless of what Obama's advisors or telling him.  


    African (none / 0) (#90)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Jul 25, 2011 at 06:09:28 AM EST
    American voters cannot carry Obama alone neither can the DK contention. The problem is that Obama is trying to get votes of people who will NEVER vote for him. He can propose all the right wing legislation in the world and the majority of Republicans aren't going to vote for him.

    It would be easier to rally opposition (none / 0) (#12)
    by HenryFTP on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 12:48:28 PM EST
    to an actual Republican president as opposed to a nominal Democrat with a Republican agenda like Obama. A primary challenge to Obama would only strengthen him, in my view -- he would still in all likelihood win the nomination and it would be harder to challenge him in the general election having lost the primaries "fair and square". A third party campaign, if sufficiently organized and motivated, could seriously challenge the hammerlock the plutocratic elites have over the Democratic Party. Truly organized defections from the Democratic Party, expressing their disaffection by voting third party, could pull the party leftward in order to bring those voters "back into the fold". We don't have enough money to sway the party leadership, so it's only our votes that will get their attention. Staying home or other forms of abstention only play into the hands of the plutocracy, which is trying systematically to suppress voting anyway.

    It will mean four years of another failed Republican presidency, but that won't be so different from the current administration. If we can rally support to retake the House of Representatives, it could keep further destruction of our country in check while we work toward putting an actual progressive into the White House in 2016.

    You paint both a misleading and (none / 0) (#21)
    by brodie on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 01:10:32 PM EST
    overly rosy scenario about these 3d party challenges.

    Both Carter and Gore thought their intraparty challengers actually weakened them for the general, and arguably they are right.  Though it's also possible that in different circumstances with a different incumbent there could be a stronger and more liberal-minded incumbent Dem running in the general, someone who's had the fear of significant liberal defections put into him and has no choice but to come over more to our side.

    As for the 3d party challenge, as you acknowledge it will likely lead to a GOP WH victory.  But you plainly underestimate how long they will end up staying in office.  Last time (2000 election, Nader 3d party), it was 8 yrs (including 2 stolen elections), not the four you project.  

    Before that, in 1980, we got 12 years of Reagan and ReaganLite.  By the time our side recovered and got our guy in, he was faced with a massive budget deficit much greater than he'd been led to believe was the case, thus the foundation was being laid for him to have to govern from the center more than he would have preferred, basically to undo the other party's damage.

    I doubt if we'll be even that lucky next time if a 3d party dilutes our vote and the Romney/Perry ticket, with the Tea Party in tow, makes it to power.  Goodbye Sup Ct, goodbye voting rights, goodbye democracy.

    That's not a risk I want to run right now, much as I'm greatly disappointed with this president.  And even the leftiest of lefties in Congress, socialist democrat Indy Bernie Sanders, doesn't go so far as to rec a 3d party challenge.  Wake me up when he starts making noises in that direction ...


    What use was our vote in 2008 (5.00 / 4) (#29)
    by HenryFTP on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 01:33:14 PM EST
    when we ended up with a President who has continued and even intensified pointless foreign wars, continued the assault on civil liberties, normalized the "state secrets" doctrine to create governmental immunity at odds with republican government, refused to harness the power of the government to effect economic recovery, "reformed" health care by entrenching the stranglehold of insurance companies and Big Pharma, and has commenced the dismantling of Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security?

    Obama has done more to undermine democracy in America than the Roberts Supreme Court. Of course a third party movement is an act of desperation, but these are desperate times. 1980, and even 2000, are comparatively ancient history -- in 2000 we were at peace, the government enjoyed a healthy surplus, and the radical right was in disarray, having failed to remove the President from office with a trumped-up impeachment. Voting for the fourth term of George W. Bush is not something I'm prepared to contemplate -- if you've got a superior alternative to a third party, I'm all ears.


    My solution I've already (none / 0) (#35)
    by brodie on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 01:53:38 PM EST
    stated -- the Bernie Sanders approach.  In addition we need to build our wing of the party, and so I rec joining and building the Van Jones movement.  

    We really need to strengthen both our message and the quality and quantity of our liberal leaders, and Jones' idea would help in that direction.  Such a movement might also help improve liberals' standing with and impact on the MSM which barely acknowledges our side or does so much beyond token acknowledgment.



    pffftttt (5.00 / 1) (#66)
    by sj on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 06:43:06 PM EST
    While I agree with those efforts, that says nothing about what to do the people currently steering the ship.

    It took the Republicans over 30 years to take over the grass roots and media messaging and put us where are today.

    The country doesn't have that kind of time.  

    I don't have a solution.  I wish I did.  I can only chart out my own actions.


    Liberal Third Party (none / 0) (#24)
    by KD on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 01:21:09 PM EST
    All a liberal third party would do is throw the election to the Republicans. How quickly everyone has forgotten the controversy over Gore and Nader and how the Green Party stole votes from moderately progressive candidates allowing the right wing to win.

    In my opinion, that's the reason the Republicans took over and killed Ross Perot's party. It divided the Republicans and brought Clinton to power.

    As long as we have a winner-take-all system, talk of a third party is just self-destructive.

    It is the TWO party system (5.00 / 1) (#65)
    by sj on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 06:40:23 PM EST
    that has us on self-destruct.  Or at least the two parties who have us on self-destruct.  And it appears to me that it is Obama who is throwing the election to the Republicans.

    And I expect that d@amn few of us have forgotten the controversy of the 2000 elections.  Or our history.  But we also remember what it used to mean to be a Dem.

    It doesn't matter who wins in 2012.  The policies will be the same.  I don't understand how people can't see that.

    Incredibly, our earliest hope for a return to Democratic positions isn't until 2016 -- and that's only if Obama loses.  If he wins, it won't be until 2020.  Because make no mistake -- a Republican administration will follow Obama.  He has done nothing to inspire the voting population to continue with the Democratic party.  We will have had either 12 or 16 years of the same policies, and people will be desperate for a change of some sort.  Any sort.

    It was what we where feeling in 2008 but after 12 or 16 years instead of just the 8 Bush years, we will be even more desperate.

    He doesn't care because this is the last job he will ever have and the Democratic party will be of absolutely no use to him.  


    Research (none / 0) (#37)
    by cal1942 on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 01:57:47 PM EST
    indicates Perot was hurting Clinton more than Bush.

    It's a GOP line that Perot siphoned off Bush.


    social networking (none / 0) (#27)
    by observed on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 01:28:25 PM EST
    Looks to me like a viable option for drafting a primary challenger. A 'Who will primary Obama '  facebook page is my suggestion.

    Jeralyn needs to run (none / 0) (#34)
    by jeffinalabama on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 01:53:01 PM EST
    or to offer someone up... I trust her judgement. Not saying I'd immediately agree, but between BTD and Jeralyn, a couple of good thinkers here in this arena.

    I'll mention Gephart again as a p or vp candidate. Is he still a pit bull? he used to be... and, if we can control his srong right-to-life stand, he's liberal on every other domestic issue.

    Robert Kennedy's son? or Caroline K? Except she supported Obama unconditionally, didn't she?


    And keep HRCs name (none / 0) (#38)
    by observed on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 02:02:46 PM EST
    out of it .  
    She  is not the one  we want now,  if she ever was.  The only elder statesman of note is Bill Clinton, and he won't cross Obama.

    She wouldn't do it but I wish she would. (none / 0) (#41)
    by oculus on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 02:08:49 PM EST
    on policy substance, is she any better? (none / 0) (#61)
    by BobTinKY on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 04:39:59 PM EST

    On domestic, especially economic policy (5.00 / 1) (#79)
    by Towanda on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 08:17:32 PM EST
    she had better proposals in 2008, such as for homeowners, that would make this a better place today for a lot of Americans and our economy.

    And she has a history of backing economic and other domestic proposals that really are Democratic, from what I found then.  

    I have not found her ever calling core Democratic programs "entitlements," have you?

    So on what basis do you make your statement?  Seriously, I thought that I had done my homework on the candidates, especially on the economy, so I wonder what I missed -- in the interests of getting ready to do my homework again for 2012.


    I base my assessment on her support for wars (none / 0) (#94)
    by BobTinKY on Tue Aug 02, 2011 at 10:04:07 AM EST
    and the CLinton Administration's "co-opting" of GOP positions.

    I'd sure give a Jeralyn candidacy (none / 0) (#39)
    by brodie on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 02:03:39 PM EST
    a close look.  BTD however sounds like too much of a FP hawk for my tastes -- sorry.

    But jeff, what's this with Dick Gephardt and "pit bull"???  Maybe a pit bull for Big Pharm or the medical insurance industry or the major defense contractors or even the govt of Turkey (see his wiki entry .. breathtaking).  He was never a pit bull for our side, except narrowly and briefly way back perhaps in, what, his run for the presidency in 1988 when he ran as a union guy?  But he's really our Mitt Romney, probably our most prominent political shape-shifter.

    None of the Kennedys are going to challenge Obama, either from within the party or as a 3d party offering.  Not next year, not ever, at least with the current adult-aged Kennedy group.

    How about Subcommandante Markos?  You know, folks from the progosphere who talk the talk -- can they walk the walk too?  Duncan Black.  David Dayen.  The FireDogLake's Jane Hamsher.  All Obama's fiercest critics -- how about one of them steps up for a change?  They'd get immediate online financial backing, and quickly for a primary challenge.


    I don't think (none / 0) (#48)
    by jeffinalabama on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 02:49:23 PM EST
    Markos even considers himself a liberal, though...

    But as far as a candidacy that could pull the dems left, his would be one. Have to think about that.

    I wasn't joking about J, either.  She has the cred, earned and well-established. I think she's been vetted enough. The problem I see: those who would be excellent presidents don't want to be president.

    I'd even like Boxer. I don't think she'd have a chance, which the opposition would use to discredit her policies, instead of thinking than a bunch of people that just don't like her. But if she properly explained her policies, then heck. It isn't American Idol...


    If Subcommandante Markos isn't (5.00 / 1) (#58)
    by brodie on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 04:22:13 PM EST
    a liberal these days, he sure does play one convincingly when he visits with Keith over on Current (5 pm and 8 pm Pacific) and with his occasional diaries over on Le Grand Orange.

    As for Jeralyn or Boxer, I've already said I'd be very favorably inclined to backing either in a primary challenge.  Both sufficiently on the right side of the law and justice for me.

    But as we know, many we can name, but so few are able, willing and ready to run given the heavy expenditures of time and money and stress involved.  I even have my suspicions about why Gene McC ran in '68 (having to do not with his view of the war but how lyndon treated him in passing him over for Veep in '64).  It took many months for Al Lowenstein in '67 to finally find a candidate, after RFK turned him down repeatedly.  I'm pretty sure he sounded out McGovern and Church, probably Morse and a few others as well, before going to 5th or 6th choice McC.

    We'll see .. still time, but the hour is getting late ...


    Subcommander Marcos (none / 0) (#83)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 08:50:36 PM EST
    the real one, is pretty awesome. Did you ever read this? One of my favorites of all time.

    Heh. Hadn't seen (none / 0) (#86)
    by brodie on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 10:48:55 PM EST
    that communiqué before, good I Am Spartacus riff.  And that photo of the Real Subcommandante -- strangely almost cool, and the pipe adds an air of dignity and gravitas.  I might even recommend a pipe for the blogosphere's Markos when he appears with Keith -- his kinda squeaky high-range voice could benefit from some low-cost men's club accessories.

    Oh, Brodie, (none / 0) (#49)
    by jeffinalabama on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 02:51:25 PM EST
    have you ever seen Gephart on the attack? He's a union guy, too. joined the DLC, then exited to go further left.

    I'm not saying my favorite choice. I think the incumbent will win. I want some left-leaning domestically candidates to shift the Overton Window.


    Can't go along w/ya on the Gepster (5.00 / 1) (#57)
    by brodie on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 04:07:17 PM EST
    -- not ferchrissakes after reviewing his post-Congress work record over at wiki.  OMG.

    He was also in the thick of things enabling Junior for his little venture into Iraq in 2002, almost a co-partner as I recall.

    Lousy as our leader in the House, suspiciously inconsistent in standing strong for a long time for traditional liberal issues.  Besides the appallingly corporatist post-Congress record, there is the bland persona -- or, iow, the reason why he was bypassed by people like Gore and Kerry for the VP slot.  Gephardt -- yuck and zzzz  ...


    Not gonna argue he's the best, (none / 0) (#59)
    by jeffinalabama on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 04:26:56 PM EST
    or even middle-pack. But zero plus a little bit of improvement is measurable...

    I agree, post-House, the biggest sellout I've ever seen.

    Should we be looking at labor leaders?

    How about some of the older civil rights advocates still in good health? Question, not just rying to restrict to those. I threw Boxer in the mix on some thread, maybe this one.

    At one time I thought Udall's kid might be one, but he's acting pretty Obama dem unless I've missed some things.

    Here's one to nominate: David Broder. Sure he was a republican, and sure he's dead. But inside the beltway could get behind him.


    A liberal civil rights person (none / 0) (#87)
    by brodie on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 10:55:03 PM EST
    is pretty close to ideal as a primary challenger if we could find one willing and with the right profile -- i.e., someone not Jesse Jackson (Sr or Jr) who's a little too hot or who has a prior negative relationship with O.  

    Julian Bond is one possibility, though he's getting on in years.

    Dexter King?  He's been one of my favorites on other matters in recent times, but frankly I haven't heard about his views of Obama's presidency.

    The Rev Al is obviously in Obama's camp and now has his tv gig.

    Van Jones -- again, people would say it was sour grapes.  Plus he's busy forming up that umbrella liberal group, which sounds promising.


    John Lewis? (none / 0) (#93)
    by jeffinalabama on Mon Jul 25, 2011 at 03:46:25 PM EST
    SNCC, congressman for many years, definitely a liberal.

    And coming from the South...


    From Buzzflash (none / 0) (#33)
    by sneazle on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 01:51:55 PM EST
    "Bernie Sanders Calls for Dem Primary Opponent to Obama"  The senator was taking calls on the Thom Hartmann radio program.

    @ Brodie... here's a name (none / 0) (#60)
    by jeffinalabama on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 04:29:51 PM EST
    Van Denheuvel.

    Not in the same league with Boxer or J, but she doesn't seem to be a complete devotee... I'd love to encourage Bernie to register as a dem... think that's a possibility?

    Dunno about her, assuming (5.00 / 1) (#62)
    by brodie on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 04:48:42 PM EST
    you mean Kristina VDH from The Nation.  Iirc, wasn't she more of an Obama backer in the primaries in 08 than Hillary backer?  I don't also recall much lately from her by way of fierce opposition to what Obama has been doing.  Disappointment at times, yes.  On health care reform wanted a public option, yes.  Wants us out of our wars sooner than Obama, yes.  

    But I don't peg her as someone who either passionately holds those views sufficient to make a primary run out of them, nor as someone who's temperamentally inclined to toss her hat in and undertake all the messy things one has to do in order to get votes.

    As for Bernie, I think he prefers his Indy niche as it helps him a little more with politics back home and in making his national appearances to argue forcefully for issues.  If he were 10 or 15 yrs younger, he might have gone on to position himself to run against O, but I think he's settled in now with his job and is eyeing re-elect next year, and that's about all that's on his radar scope -- keeping his senate seat and trying to shape policy from that position.


    Van Denhuevel (sp?) (none / 0) (#70)
    by shoephone on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 07:25:07 PM EST
    was totally in the tank for Obama until very recently. I wouldn't give her any consideration. If Feingold weren't looking to run again, for either senator or governor, I would be very interested. But I don't believe he would ever challenge Obama.

    If no third party candidate emerges I'm writing in Bernie Sanders.


    Feingold, most recently, said (none / 0) (#76)
    by Towanda on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 08:04:39 PM EST
    he's still thinking even about whether to run for Senate again.  (The current Dem Senator has said he will retire.)  Feingold has been almost off the political radar, except for a few hours of joining the marches in Madison, when he was there, anyway.

    I think he's enjoying his new life as Prof. Feingold -- and not even at a public university, part of state government, but at a private campus.  So he has been removed from and can remain immune to the pay cuts and worse from Walker, and so Feingold seems to not even want to say much of anything about politics in his state.


    Then that makes me wonder (none / 0) (#88)
    by shoephone on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 11:13:51 PM EST
    if he will ever get back in the ring. Isn't he 60 or 61 now? He was in DC for about twenty years. Maybe he just doesn't have the "fire in the belly" anymore. Your reportage is appreciated! Keep us updated on all things Wisconsin.