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U.S. News & World Report: Time for a Tea Party of the Left, by Taylor Marsh

First published in U.S. News & World Report
President Obama takes his base for granted on issues like the Bush tax cuts, Plan B, and the economy

Here we are at the beginning of Pres. Obama’s reelection and what do we find? The Bush tax cuts that, back in 2008, candidate Obama pledged he’d fight to repeal, but which as president he extended. Considering not extending them began as his base position, three years into his first term it’s not too much to ask how Democrats allowed themselves to get twisted into this policy pretzel.

That’s exactly where Obama’s got his Democratic and progressive base, which has absolutely no resemblance to the Tea Party, who began challenging the Republican establishment back during George W. Bush’s term. The efforts finally ended up making history in 2010, with state legislatures across the country went Republican. It started an assault on the middle class, unions, as well as a war on women’s freedoms that ended up turning Wisconsin and Ohio upside down, but boy did it change the debate.

Now Newt Gingrich, once a speaker of the House, is running on an anti-establishment, anti-Washington platform spouting Tea Party populism as the new change message. In South Carolina, Newt sang the Tea Party’s tune and the right wing base rewarded him with a win, leaving the establishment mouths agape.

Where’s the Democratic version of the Tea Party? You’d think after Obama’s anti-progressive economics, foreign policy, and adoption of Bush antiterrorism policies (though to a more methodically lethal, anti-progressive effect), the Democratic base would have taken the Tea Party template and run with it by now.

Obama got away with the healthcare plan, which was bargained behind closed doors with private insurance and drug companies, manifesting a product that hasn’t kept costs down. He negotiated with himself, as he did on the stimulus, instead of using the majority he had in Congress to press the case for a public option that would have tackled healthcare costs, our biggest foe. It was never considered.

When Obama recently decided not to relax restrictions on the emergency contraceptive Plan B, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi gave him a pass, while the Colorado Democratic Rep. Diana DeGette, a member of the so called “Pro-Choice Caucus,” stated she was “disappointed.” There are never any repercussions for such decisions on the left, while repercussions have defined the Tea Party and its power on the right.

Understand that Plan B has nothing to do with abortion. It simply makes a female’s womb inhospitable for implantation and has been found absolutely safe by the F.D.A. However, as an ode to independents in an election season, Obama made a decision that any Republican would have made.

But not to worry, a carrot wasn’t far behind. The Department of Health and Human Services recently announced that universal contraceptive coverage will now be part of every employer healthcare plan, with religious-affiliated hospitals and institutions getting a one-year delay to comply. It could have been done earlier, but an election year is prime time.

During the debate around Bowles-Simpson, entitlement “reform” was broached first by Obama, with cost-of-living increases on Social Security being considered by the White House. That this would hit women hardest and put them in poverty was evidently missed by the administration. It was scuttled when all hell broke loose.

There wasn’t a woman in the room during the debt ceiling debate, a time when entitlement “reforms” were being considered. Pelosi was only added after women’s groups held a conference call and writers started complaining.

Obama also cut home heating assistance for the poor at a time when the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy are in place.

During Obama’s first term, he’s sucked on the straw of cutting the deficit, while ignoring Democratic economics. The bully pulpit for progressive economics wasn’t used until re-election season, when he took to the stage at Osawatamie, Kan., channeling the Occupy Wall Street message while launching his 2012 campaign.

There’s the latest action on the Keystone XL Pipeline, at least a short-term win, but it’s not like he came out with gusto against it. Obama said no for now then blamed the Republicans for not giving him enough time to consider the environmental impact. Activists from the grass roots to Robert Redford applauded. We don’t even know if it’s a definite decision.

The Democratic base has a passive-aggressive relationship with Obama that resembles a dysfunctional love affair. He has all the power and the base has absolutely none, unless you count the gay and lesbian contingent which was as good a model as the Tea Party on how to get it done. It’s not that progressives couldn’t have power; it’s that they refuse to wield any.

So they cannot pressure Obama at election time because he knows his Democratic base will be there. After all, they’re not the Tea Party. It doesn’t matter if they’re unhappy, all that matters is he’s got their vote and he knows it.

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16 Responses to U.S. News & World Report: Time for a Tea Party of the Left, by Taylor Marsh

  1. Art Pronin January 25, 2012 at 11:07 pm #

    this is GREAT

    • Taylor Marsh January 25, 2012 at 11:23 pm #

      Thanks so very much, Art.

  2. fangio January 25, 2012 at 11:19 pm #

    Congratulations!  I think you need more space though;  seemed just a little like a laundry list.

    • Taylor Marsh January 25, 2012 at 11:24 pm #

      Hey fangio, appreciate it.  Yeah, you’ve got to get it done in a quick framework, that’s for sure.

    • Cujo359 January 26, 2012 at 3:46 pm #

      That’s the trouble with newspapers, they have word counts. Sometimes that means there’s a lot left unsaid…

  3. fairmindedindependent January 26, 2012 at 12:46 am #

    Great article Taylor, Very honest and to the point. I hope you write more articles in more publications in the future, there is a need for truth and honestly like this.

  4. ladywalker68 January 26, 2012 at 1:38 am #

    Terrific job. Well done, Taylor!

  5. lynnette January 26, 2012 at 7:15 am #

    Congratulations, Taylor.  You raise some good points.

  6. RAJensen January 26, 2012 at 7:50 am #

    Why wouldn’t US News and World Reports give you space for your anti-Obama rants. Mort Zuchermann, the owner of the US News and World Report, has already endorsed Mitt Romney.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/video/83735576/

    Any one of Rupert Murdoch’s media outlets would have been just as willing to give space to your rants.

    • Cujo359 January 26, 2012 at 4:00 pm #

      If truly progressive opinions are carried on right-wing news outlets because they want to oppose President Obama, I’d call that a positive development. It’s hard to find those voices anywhere else in the mainstream news.

  7. Jane Austen January 26, 2012 at 7:51 am #

    This may have looked like a laundry list but it get’s straight to the heart of what Obama promised and what he did.  No sugar coating necessary.  Proud of you, Taylor.  Keep up the good work.  Truth seems to be a commodity that has disappeared into the sound bytes that come out of politics today.

    • Taylor Marsh January 26, 2012 at 9:42 am #

      Hey all.  Thanks for your kind words, I appreciate them.  I’m also glad the RAJensen dropped in, because if I’m pissing Obama fans off that means I’m doing my job.  Because anyone thinking that Pres. Obama and the Democrats are doing theirs deserves to be challenged.

  8. TPAZ January 26, 2012 at 2:44 pm #

    Congratulations, Taylor. I knew there was some reason why I follow your blog – clarity.

  9. Cujo359 January 26, 2012 at 3:56 pm #

    Spot on, Taylor. I agree that there’s no Tea Party on the left, because there is no real political opposition to the DLC-style Democratic Party. The Occupy movements are apolitical, though I’d call them progressive in spirit.

    If RAJensen is right that we’ll be hearing from a number of progressive commentators on the failings of the Obama Administration via right-wing news, that’s fine by me. Only when progressives are actually able to keep Democrats from winning will we have any power. That day can’t happen soon enough.

    • Cujo359 January 26, 2012 at 5:08 pm #

      I’ve expounded a bit on this theme at my place.

      • Taylor Marsh January 26, 2012 at 11:18 pm #

        Really nice post, cujo359, just shared it ’round the sphere.

        As long as I can write what I believe, but also work with the editors of outfits, I’m thrilled to write for these outlets.  The feedback was tremendous, by the way.

.... a writer is someone who takes the universal whore of language
and turns her into a virgin again.  ~ erica jong