Why did Tea Partiers win such a major victory? Money, for starters. The Tea Party’s generously funded by billionaires like the Koch Brothers, and ultra-conservative policies are given “nonpartisan” ideological cover by right-wing billionaire Pete Peterson and his network of allies and paid savants. Corporate campaign financing, now made limitless by the GOP’s ideological packing of the Supreme Court, allows the mega-corporations of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to impose policies that crush the middle class and smaller businesses. And decades’ worth of funding for ad campaigns and “conservative think tanks” (an oxymoron, perhaps?) continue to lay the groundwork for destructive moves like the one we so last night. – Why Progressives Keep On Losing and the Right Keeps On Winning, Richard Eskow, Campaign for America’s Future
So there’s a real effort to keep spirits up among movement progressives. To tell people there’s “no reason to give up… Don’t mourn, organize,” as Eskow does in his post. But blaming Pres. Obama’s complete capitulation, comprising collapse on the Right having more money is simply moronic. It’s also dishonest. Of course, that’s not the crux of his argument, but the rest is just as incoherent.
At least Democrats are admitting the cuts are “draconian” and that Republicans got “20.2135%” than originally asked or Democrats would really be down the rabbit hole.
Eskow continues: If these popular positions weren’t always being labelled (sic) “progressive” in the media, they’d probably be even more popular.
Good grief, it’s not enough Democrats ran away from liberal, now activists from leading organizations are saying that “progressive” is the problem, too.
The Tea Party has taken all amounts of grief, much well aimed, but they’re not whining about labeling.
Then Eskow targets DailyKos, because a diarist let loose a perfect screed directed at where it belongs: Pres. Obama. But like all good activists in Democratic organizations, it’s not his fault either:
Once again the unpopular views of a minority have been imposed on the majority. Others will rant and rave about the Democratic leadership, and in fact that process has already begun. But progressives in this country should be asking themselves a serious question: Why does the Tea Party seem to be so much more effective than the left as a movement?
Now, “excessive party loyalty… the desire for a charismatic leader,” to quote Eskow, is an interesting answer to his own question. But it’s not the problem, neither is “prematurely celebrating accomplishments,” flawed, incomplete or other. Sarah Palin is considered both by her followers, charismatic and inspires excessive Tea Party loyalty. If Independents could find either attribute in a candidate they’d have taken the presidency long ago. These elements are required, but they don’t have to exist in an unprincipled policy vacuum.
Anyone else see the irony in a progressive like Eskow saying loyalty isn’t required in a movement? He wants progressives to ignore party loyalty, but misses that it’s this same loyalty required of progressive ideas that’s missing. Simultaneously, by attacking movement progressives like the DailyKos diarist who’s had hit with Obama, Eskow is saying to COME HOME, which is basically endorsing the same thing he’s saying needs to be changed. Because supporting Obama’s reelection without demanding change of him is what he’s suggesting. It boggles the mind.
This is one of the big problems with Democratic institutions. They mean well, but their dependency on your optimism, because they’re funded by Democrats, including establishment elites, keeps everyone hooked on the hamster wheel of hope. They have to support the guy at the top because it’s all they’ve got. As the DailyKos diarist wrote, maybe movement progressives should ignore Pres. Obama, because he’s not servicing the desires of the people who elected him.
“Well,” Plouffe replied, “some of the cuts were draconian. Because it’s not just the number, it’s what composes the number. […] The President was comfortable with the composition of this deal that, again, there were some tough cuts in there”¦but in these fiscal times, everyone is going to have to make tough decisions. So it was a historic deal for the American people.” – ABC News
But to ignore Obama would mean that progressive politics are more important than one election. That’s what the Tea Party decided: that principle and commitment to their beliefs, however horrific progressives find them, was more important than worrying about outcome. The result was Speaker Boehner had a political shiv in his back that got the largest yearly reductions in history, all compliments of a Democratic president, who then calmly stated that it’s too bad, but people who need help from government programs will just have to suck it up.
Mr. Plouffe is being dishonest, too. The “tough decisions” that need making begin with raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans, while taking it to corporations and the Pentagon, and it certainly isn’t about another war in Libya. These are policy as well as economic problems, which are directly tied to Pres. Obama, because his words never result in progressive actions.
Remember, Plouffe wants one thing only: to reelect Barack Obama. He nor Obama care about whether Democratic principles are forwarded in the process.
There is one reason Democrats lost the budget battle and it’s the same reason Sarah Palin handed Obama his ass on health care messaging back in 2009 and helped lead the Tea Party to a rout in 2010. The Democrats aren’t making the case for progressive economic justice anymore, because in the era of Obama the boss doesn’t have the principles or belief in foundational Democratic ideals to do it, because he’s too busy making tactical moves to look non-ideological. That may be good for him, but it’s awful for Democrats.
This economic and political fiasco is not the fault of anyone but Pres. Obama who is a lousy negotiator with no line he won’t cross.
So the next person who offers up elementary school activist cheerleading talking points saying it’s not the Democratic leadership’s fault make a note of the person’s name, because you simply can’t trust them anymore.
At a news conference New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., agreed, “I happen to think some of their cuts are extreme and go overboard. But every week they keep upping the ante and proposing extreme cuts.” – Fox News
Sen. Schumer sounds like some feckless freshman instead of the veteran senator he is. The lack of leadership from these people should be unacceptable to all Democrats, the notion of coming home because their is no choice equally galling.
Since there’s no leadership from anyone it leaves movement progressives with only a fallback question to ask themselves in order to correct this catastrophe: What would the Tea Party do?
They don’t take prisoners and they don’t support weak politicians who sell them out, consequences be damned. But yes, the Tea Party can compromise, as we saw with Rep. Michele Bachmann, who gave Speaker Boehner the room he needed to keep the government from shutting down, but only after the Tea Party got 20% more than they originally asked for in budget cuts. Then she went right back to railing for the Right.
Today Plouffe is also reportedly to announce Pres. Obama will deliver a “major speech” this coming week for an even more aggressive path for deficit reduction. He’s also supposed to “continue calling for higher taxes on the wealthy,” according to Politico. Pres. Obama has to do a lot more than that. There has to be a serious campaign for higher taxes on the mil-billionaire class, without caving to conservative economic points, which is all Pres. Obama has done for months. Take it to the people and be willing to lose on principle, neither of which Obama is willing to risk.
So don’t be bought off by reelection word salads alone. It’s how Democrats and progressives got into this mess in the first place.