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.
Contact Joel S. Hirschhorn through delusionaldemocracy.com.