“If you want to pull the party, the major party that is closest to the way you’re thinking to what you’re thinking, you must, you must show them that you’re capable of not voting for them. If you don’t show them you’re capable of not voting for them they don’t have to listen to you, I promise you that. I worked within the Democratic Party. I didn’t have to listen to anything on the left while I was working in the Democratic Party, because the left had nowhere to go.” – Lawrence O’Donnell, quoted in the film “An Unreasonable Man”
NOBODY KNOWS who will win tomorrow. That’s a matter of clairvoyance. But what the electoral map has shown is that President Obama is on the cusp of reelection, perhaps in a big way. If he does, he will win because he’s a Democratic president, running on the values of the party. People will vote for him not simply because of who he is, because it’s not 2008 anymore, but because of the party’s values he is supposed to represent.
It’s not an accident that Mitt Romney glommed on to President Obama’s foreign policy ideas in their debate together. In fact, Mitt Romney has attempted to Etch-a-Sketch his way out of the right-wing hole he dug for himself since he won the nomination. After paying homage to Mike Huckabee and the extreme right, Romney said abortion wouldn’t be “part of my agenda.” He even moved toward Obama on health care.
I’m not getting rid of all of health care reform. Of course, there are a number of things that I like in health care reform that I’m going to put in place. One is to make sure that those with pre-existing conditions can get coverage. Two is to assure that the marketplace allows for individuals to have policies that cover their family up to whatever age they might like. [Swampland]
It’s all smoke and mirrors, campaigning, telling voters what they want to hear so a candidate can get elected.
Remember President Obama in Osawatomie, Kansas, what I called “channeling Occupy Wall Street”? Trying to lay claim to Theodore Roosevelt and his a renewed “New Nationalism” at a time when Democrats were feeling low and disgruntled about his presidency. The spirit represented in that speech is what gave birth to the auto bailout that will likely be the reason he wins Ohio and a second term, if it happens, even if later he turned his back on unions as they fought to the death in Wisconsin while President Obama turned his gaze away.
America is not a nation of the 1%. Simpson, Bowles, Rattner, Walker, Dimon, and Trump don’t create jobs like the 99% do. Try to have a Christmas season without us. It wouldn’t be jolly.
America’s CEOs have a notion about how to fix the “fiscal crisis” that includes a plan to bombard politicians with phone calls, because they listen to fat cats making threats. Their arrogance has led them to ban together to school Congress, while expecting the American people to wait in the wings like you always do, seemingly willing to accept what will be delivered from on high. Changes to programs that the 1% don’t need, based on cuts the 99% don’t want. But they have the money and the power and they will exert by force their plan, expecting the President to go along.
If Mitt Romney would win it wouldn’t alter Wall Street’s 1% plan one whit. Instead, it would make it easier, because what awaits on the Democratic side is the unreasonable liberal.
President Obama is in a very precarious position. At 47-48% or so in the polls, that’s the tipping point for an incumbent to lose. The enthusiasm of ’08 is a memory, with many activist Democrats and progressives, the ones who do the political trench work, disillusioned. When Obama let Romney back into the race at the first debate it confirmed to many that his heart, head and political soul just wasn’t in it, because it wasn’t.
However, the thought of putting Mitt Romney in the White House is as unpalatable to Democrats, progressives, Greens, libertarians and independents as voting for a second term for Barack Obama is for many of these same people.
Voting Democratic remains much easier, even if people don’t know what it means anymore.
Part of that is due to what Democrats and progressives allowed to happen, forgetting the strategy represented by the Lawrence O’Donnell quote at the top, which the Tea Party movement taught while “the left” was sleeping.
No matter what President Obama did through policy he paid no price, except from the right. The Tea Party not only took it to Republicans, but they took it to President Obama in 2010. It’s been a long way back.
But what will come next if Obama wins?
The data, however, suggest just the opposite – that both candidates have benefited in the general election every time they have taken a left turn. President Obama was in deep political trouble 15 months ago when he cut the closest thing he could to a “grand bargain” with House Speaker John A. Boehner to slash the federal budget by trillions, and he did nothing for his popularity nine months earlier when he extended the Bush tax cuts to the wealthy. Not until he began talking like a populist did he begin picking up steam in the polls. Indeed, one of the most powerful messages the Democrats chose not to use in the 2010 midterm elections – which would have supported a policy that was extremely popular then and remains as popular now – was a simple message on taxes I tested nationally, which won in every region and with every demographic, including Tea Partyers: “In tough times like these, millionaires ought to be giving to charity, not getting it.” – Drew Weston, “America’s Leftward Tilt?”
When looking at Mitt Romney versus Barack Obama, most Democrats and progressives have no problem choosing the Democratic option.
As I wrote in January for U.S. News and World Report and still believe, Democrats and progressives would have been wise to amass and challenge Obama on policy, just like the Tea Party has done to Republicans. This wouldn’t have taken a primary challenge. However, activists inside the Democratic Party ducked the responsibility and missed the opportunity, which just might have made Barack Obama a better candidate in 2012. They missed that chance to do exactly what Lawrence O’Donnell said is necessary to get the party you identify most strongly with you to listen.
If President Obama wins reelection he won’t have a mandate, but he will have CEOs and the freedom of no political repercussions to cut deals that sowed the seeds of his party’s disillusionment going back to the health care sell out, as well as the 2010 election. A time when he let the right win, which continued until Obama had to get reelected again.
That led him to singing the liberal songs of the middle class, the auto bailout and partially universal health care.
The only thing standing in a newly elected President Obama’s path will be unreasonable Democrats and progressives, but especially the liberals who won’t owe him anything, but can finally take the fight to him if the toughness and tightness of the 2012 election battle teaches him the wrong lessons, leading him to follow the CEOs.
Many of you will likely vote Democratic tomorrow, but if the Democrat wins the presidency, and if you believe in the principles of the party, you’ll have to prepare to fight the person you’ve elected, because of what may already be sown too deeply into the policy narrative, because the battle was joined too late.