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A Fine Whine:What More Do Progressives Want?

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I am getting sick and tired of pundits asking rhetorically, as Chris Matthews did today, “What more do progressives want?” in reference to the so called “enthusiasm gap”. Democratic turnout is supposed to be depressed this year, in contrast with the Republican Tea party, whose voters are said to be lining up to vote like techno geeks waiting to buy the latest toy from Apple. In recent weeks, the President, the Vice-president and all the President’s surrogates have taken to lecturing Democrats to “buck up” and vote because it is too important not to.

Somehow all this exhortation gets translated into the Democrats and the Obama administration blaming progressives for not being supportive enough. Now one can’t get through an hour of cable news or the Sunday chats without hearing “What more do progressives want?” Progressives, you see are supposed to be happy and grateful for all the legislation passed by the Democratic congress and signed into law by the Democratic president. Things like the health care reform, financial regulation and the economic stimulus of 2009.

As I have indicated in previous posts, I am in fact disappointed with the Obama administration and the Congressional Democrats. But that’s OK. I am not a big D Democrat. I am a progressive (a socialist, really) but I almost always vote for whatever Democrat on the ballot. This year will be no different. I anticipate splitting my votes between the Green and Democratic parties. And I always vote. Even if I only have a ficus plant to vote for. I am not the problem. The people who might not vote are less interested in politics than your garden variety progressive blogger. You know, like the unemployed and working poor, some minorities, poor people, youth. Progressives would like to have seen the Dems do more to address the concerns of these groups and others, but we will still vote against the GOP.

And that’s the Democrats’ last resort in capturing the progressive vote. The other guys are worse. Way worse. Worse than ever.

So let me try to answer the question “What more do progressives want?” Maybe I’ll throw in (for free) a few things I, at least, did not and do not want.

For starters, I wanted anyone who committed war crimes on behalf of the U.S. government held accountable. Maybe not a prison sentence for W, but at least some acknowledgment that U.S. and International laws were violated and at least a hope that it would not happen again. I did not want to see Obama’s first Solicitor General (now a Supreme Court Justice) argue in Federal Court that, “the U.S. Government is completely immune from litigation for illegal spying — that the Government can never be sued for surveillance that violates federal privacy statutes.” That’s not what i voted for.

Of course, I wanted health care reform to include a single payer health insurance system. I knew it wasn’t politically doable, but the proposal and the argument should have and could have been made. Failing that I would like to have seen the President fight vigorously for the public option. Would a greater effort have changed the immediate outcome? I don’t know, but again, making the effort would at least have altered the debate, making future progress more likely. I certainly did not want to sere the President’s Chief of Staff (he (who must not be named), make backroom deals with big pharma and the health insurance companies.

Continuing the war in Afghanistan does not constitute a broken promise on Obama’s part, but his escalation there was a foolish step further into quick sand. Everyone knows we are wasting time, treasure and lives there, but the generals and the officer corps apparently need their war, or else how will they ever get combat experience and promotions. Some civilian control over the military would be nice, I think.

Finally, I hoped that the new administration would take decisive action to mitigate the effects of the recession that (ha ha) ended last year. Instead, Summers and Geitner made sure that the stimulus of 2009 was weakened.

Well, I have tried to explain to anyone who accidentally reads this some of what progressives have wanted and really continue to hope for. If the president or anyone on his staff should somehow hear about this I want them to know I hope it helps.

And We’re Back

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It looks like it’s been six months since I posted here at my very own blog. Which might explain why there were no visitors here between October, 2009 and now.

Not that anybody is asking, but the reasons I have not been blogging for the last six months or so are several and related. Anger is the glue that binds them all.

I was mad at Obama and the congressional Democrats for making a mess out of health reform. Still am, though I freely confess to being glad that it has passed, inadequate though it may be.

Yes, passage of the law was a victory for the Dems, and to a lesser extent for the people who elected them. But it was a modest victory and one that achieved less than was possible. Yeah, that’s right. I’m still pissed there was no public option, even though the people want it (hell, they want single payer) and even though a PO would do more than the current law to save money – for both the government and for individuals, families and employers. For everybody and for the system in which they live.

So being fed up with American politics, I couldn’t seem to find anything useful to say about a dysfunctional system. The system remains dysfunctional and disaster (more disaster I should say) still looms, but I seem more able mow that spring is there, to try and distill sense from the madness.

And I am tired of sulking and pouting.

I was and am also unhappy with other aspects of the Obama administration’s efforts. For example, Obama and his economic team have made small noises about financial regulatory reform, but I am with Chomsky when he says that the President is serving the banks, not the public.

Obama made it clear during the 2008 campaign that he would continue to prosecute the war in Afghanistan until a satisfactory conclusion is achieved. While it is at some level refreshing to see a politician actually keep a promise, in this case, the result is a continuation of bad and futile policy.

Obama’s Education Secretary, Arne Duncan is of the opinion that education is like a business. This philosophy is disastrous for education. We should not be surprised to see the Administration promote the advancement of the charter school movement. I think both of these developments are bad for public education.

In short, like many others, I am disappointed at the extent of the President’s conservatism, though I should not really be too surprised by it. The surprise, however, is a product of all the soothing liberal and progressive noises that came out off the Obama campaign in 2008.

But whatever, my dalliance with the Democratic Party is at an end. This does not mean that I will never vote for Democratic Party candidates, but I will need a good reason to do so in the future.

My blogging here about politics will reflect my newly reinvigorated independence of the party of Jefferson and Jackson. I will also try to keep up with and comment on Canadian politics, especially regarding the Left and the NDP. When I am in the mood I will also write about cultural issues, film, music, sports and anything else that is caught in my peripheral vision.

And Youtube music videos.

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March 30th, 2010 at 11:03 pm

Hey skippy, Thanks a lot!!!

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Last week, monsieur skippy the bush kangaroo was kind enough to say hello to this little blog. Not only is skippy a bush kangaroo, skippy is a real mensch.

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April 27th, 2009 at 8:11 pm

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Does it Play Near Peoria?

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The title above is actually the name of the latest addition to the slothropia blog roll.

Does it Play Near Peoria? is a pretty good read if you like that thoughtful and informative (wonky maybe?) stuff.

Or maybe you’d rather look at pictures of puppies all day.

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February 23rd, 2009 at 11:27 pm

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Emerge Peoria

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I recently discovered a pretty good Peoria blog, namely Emerge Peoria.

Emerge Peoria is now on the blogroll here and I look forward to visiting there regularly and discussing their posts from time to time.

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February 22nd, 2009 at 1:45 pm

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Daschle Quits

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Daschle has withdrawn his nomination for Secretary of Health and Human Services.

You know what they say about Caesar’s wife

And more b.a.d. Here’s How Stupid Is You?

From New Democrats Online (buncha Canadian commies) here is The Progressive Economics Forum, a group blog.

Now for something completely different, my favorite motorcycle song:

And my favorite Brittany Spears song:

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February 3rd, 2009 at 1:03 pm

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The notorious b.a.d.

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Yesterday, via skippy the bush kangaroo I discovered the existence of something called b.a.d. or Blog Amnesty Day. As skippy itself explains:

this space, along w/our partners in this endeavor, jon swift and blue gal, are once again rejoicing in the plethora of the cornucopia of the excess of the diversity of diverse voices (and good writing, too!) available in blogtopia, and yes, we coined that phrase!

I will support and participate in b.a.d by linking to a bunch of smaller or less well known blogs throughout today and this evening. Later today, I may or may not have a nifty graphic to enhance the b.a.d. experience.

Here’s a related Youtube I stole from Blue Gal:

Also from Blue Gal, a link to a British blog, The World of Doorman Priest

From the great (not really – I kid the Texans) state of Texas, here is Job Sanger.

Here’s Diary of a Heretic. I like heretics, being something of an apostate myself.

Here’s the guy who helped me navigate Against the Day last year, By Neddie Jingo!

Maybe not that small or unknown, but always good for a sardonic and thought provoking chuckle, Rude Pundit.

Well that’s all we have time for now, but there will be more links later today.

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February 3rd, 2009 at 10:47 am

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