Cowardly Progressives by Joel S. Hirschhorn

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by Joel S. Hirschhorn
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
June 7, 2010

After listening to a number of speeches at a national conference of progressives I come to this conclusion: Progressives are more than eager to take credit for electing President Obama and even to complain about the many failures of him and his administration.  They overwhelmingly feel that his campaign promises were far, far better than what he has delivered.  They are disappointed.  They are frustrated.  They are sad.  But ultimately they are also cowards.

Why do I say this?  Because they seem completely incapable of using straightforward language to criticize Obama.  They resist saying he has lied to the public, betrayed progressives and sold out to corporate interests.  Most importantly, they do not want to openly confess and proclaim that he has been a sham government reformer.

At a time when progressives are working hard to get candidates for the US Senate to oppose Democrats they deem unacceptable in current primaries, they show no willingness to open the door wide to creating the circumstances to get someone they view as a better progressive to compete against Obama and keep him from winning a second term.

In other words, they seem intellectually incapable of concluding that Obama no longer deserves their support based, for example, on the hard, painful facts that he has persisted in wasting the country’s wealth and lives on two useless wars, he never cleaned up the regulatory system in the Department of Interior that allowed BP and other companies to escape effective regulation in the public interest, and he never fought for a public option in the health care reform legislation.  While he was eager to bail out Wall Street he has shown no courage in saving Main Street.  He has accomplished nothing effective to create private sector jobs and stands idly by as the middle class continues to slip down into the lower class.

Progressives admit that Obama is a consensus builder while hesitating to go all the way and scream that bipartisanship chasing and consensus building have overwhelmed adherence to reformist and populist principles.  They seem blind to the reality that the success of the tea party movement results from a failure by Obama to seek necessary government reforms that would show him to be a true change agent working to create better rather than bigger government.

If progressives do not have the courage of their convictions how can they expect Obama to have the courage of his supposed convictions?

The hard truth for progressives is that Obama has shown that he is just another politician playing the same old, corruption games and caving in to many special and corporate interests.  Obama surrounded himself with a number of people who had no progressive credentials whatsoever, including his Chief of Staff, Treasure Secretary and top economic advisor.  No surprise therefore that the Obama White House plays all the same old games that maintains corrupt and dysfunctional government.

Just as so many Americans have woken up and are demanding criminal prosecution of BP and making them pay fully for all of the terrible environmental and economic impacts their greed has produced, progressives should be leading the nation in condemning Obama.  Now is the time for progressives to admit that they are not getting the changes they were waiting for and never will get them from Obama.  Progressives need to find the courage to openly say that one term is enough for Obama.

Better to create the conditions for someone else to become the reformer so many Americans want in the White House.  Otherwise progressives may wake up to Republicans scoring very big in the coming mid-term elections and also offering up someone to take over the White House.  Unless progressive are willing to take some risk they risk losing even more than they already have lost.  Don’t stay with a loser.  Seek a real winner.  Someone people in the tea party movement might support.

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6 thoughts on “Cowardly Progressives by Joel S. Hirschhorn

  1. The biggest gift that will come out of the Obama presidency is the knowledge that we must empower ourselves and change the system and stop looking to leaders in the current system.

    Both political parties work for the same corrupt, morally bankrupt plutocracy and carry on its agenda.

    If America were a corporation, you think Obama is the CEO, but he’s not.

    He’s the VP of Sales and Marketing. He’s an employee.

    His job is to ‘position things’ (like health care reform, which wasn’t any such thing, or banker bailouts, the wars, BP, on and on, its all about ‘positioning’)…to open up ‘new markets’ (like Hispanic voters)…make you ‘feel good’ about your purchase (vote)….keep ‘existing customers’ (like Labor, Women, so-called moderates whose sense of civic responsibility is superficial).

    He’s the front man. The salesman. The marketing guy. He doesn’t set the agenda, he reports to the guys with the money, period.

    And I believe he actually thinks he’s doing his best within those parameters (his ‘offer letter’, the annual ‘marketing plan’)…that he really wants to know that people may have a doctor who didn’t before, that some gov’t workers kept their jobs with the stimulus, that some hybrid cars will come out of GM, that some good things will happen, that the perpetual wars will end on some fictitious timetable (no doubt to be replaced by another)…he probably believes it would be far worse without him.

    And I’ll bet, when nobody’s looking, he looks in the mirror and goes, ‘holy S$%^.!!!..I’m PRESident! I ride in limos! My book made millions! I’m cool! (just like a VP who MADE it and got some stock options!)

    If we don’t change it soon, the system will crash from its own hubris.

    Either way, Obama’s legacy is to remind us it’s our gov’t, our choice. He is the ultimate result of a corrupt system. He’s not evil. He’s the end result of gov’t by plutocracy.

    Libertarians and Progressives need to build a third party with a platform of shared values to take back the power of the people, the voters.

    He may well be the force for change, but not in the way we’d hoped!

  2. I appreciate the author trying to bring “progressives” to their senses. The article written by Frank Rich in the NYT on Sunday is a case in point. Rich excuses the President’s behavior thusly, “His most conspicuous flaw is his unshakeable confidence in the collective management brilliance of the best and the brightest he selected for his White House team.”

    I say and have said that Obama is a neo-con. He reacts to Palin and Beck, and is highly dismissive of progressives. The writer who blames his behavior on Hillary is misguided. HE is continuing the wars. HE is listening to the deficit hawks. SHE is not in power. Get real. HE is the constitutional lawyer who doesn’t restore habeas corpus. HE gave away the store to the banksters without getting anything in return. Eileen, you sound like one of the progressives Joel Hirschhorn is talking about, a broken-hearted Obama supported flailing wildly for a reason the Prez destroyed the progressive movement.

    I for one support Sestak and the rest. I think Democratic candidates will be suicidal to have Obama speak at their podiums.

  3. When Hillary met secretly with Obama after the Maine primary in which he resoundingly beat her, that is when she showed the rest of her Bilderberg Group/Trilateral Commission/”Family” cards.

    Obama would be allowed to win – oh, yes, and incidentally also to LIVE, along with his family – so long as he placed Hillary and other neocon operatives all over his staff, took all the heat for anything that would go wrong, operated essentially as a puppet, and would only serve one term.

    Come 2012, Hillary would then present herself as The Great Democratic Solution to everything that had been wrong with Obama.

    The script is obvious to anyone with eyes to see. Just as George W. Bush really ran the country while Reagan continued in his job as an actor, Hillary is the one really running the country now. Notice how low profile she’s been since she became Secretary of State; only being attached in the American media to stories where there’s a positive PR spin. She is our new Democratic version of Rumsfeld, Cheney, Rove, Bush Senior – a spin doctor and puppetmaster who works behind the scenes while letting Obama take the heat for everything.

    And it’s no longer even possible to say “Well, at least she’s not a Republican…”, since next to nothing has improved since the Bush years.

  4. The author is correct of course but doesn’t go far enough. Obama was CREATED by the neocon and neoliberal nexus of the University of Chicago. He Is much worse than Bush b/c of his sophisticated demeanor and delivery, sociopathic “statesmanlike” calm, and willingness to take American fascism to a total police state and destruction of the world. So amen to the concepts but things are much much MUCH worse than they appear in this article. What does Obama look like without the mask?

  5. Saying one term only for Obama is nice, but it doesn’t build the social movements that would make his replacement any better.

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