There should be no mystery to why Obama and the Democrats have failed to stir the passions of the party’s traditional base. Obama flounders because he tried to obey corporate directives while simultaneously “marketing himself as an agent of progressive change.” But Obama has delivered far more to the Right than to the Left. “He truly believes that black Americans and other progressives are less worthy of making political demands and having seats at the political table” than the rich.
Freedom Rider: Democrats Running Scared
BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley
“It is the Democrats who are in power and the Democrats who must be called to account.”
All signs point to Democrat losses in the upcoming congressional elections to be held on November 2nd. In 2006 and in the presidential election year of 2008, the decline of the Republican Party as a brand gave Democrats decisive victories in the House and Senate. These are all about to be undone by the usual Democratic propensity to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
President Obama looks like a man running scared, unsure of how to stop the oncoming flood. He has appeared on vacuous television shows such as The View, making his case for Democratic support by chatting with Barbara Walters and Whoopi Goldberg. Next he shows up at backyard barbecues and in high school auditoriums, and of course he always hobnobs with wealthy donors while loudly proclaiming his displeasure with the progressives who largely stood down and did nothing to oppose him.
The president’s latest sad attempt to stave off the inevitable is a bizarre, whiny interview in the New York Times magazine. The man who tried to straddle the fence of obeying the directives of the corporate interests who run the country while simultaneously marketing himself as an agent of progressive change, is of course floundering. He and his senior staffers claim not to have known that Republicans would obstruct his every move, while also claiming that Republicans will be more amenable to compromise after whipping the Democrats at the polls.
“Obama truly believes that black Americans and other progressives are less worthy of making political demands and having seats at the political table.”
The nonsense has some degree of logic because Obama is a true believer in political consensus, which favors the powerful. He truly believes that black Americans and other progressives are less worthy of making political demands and having seats at the political table. The deeply flawed health care bill is but one example of his modus operandi of cutting deals with the conservatives he feels more in tune with, while simultaneously asking progressives to stand down and let him do whatever he wants.
Even as he crisscrosses the country in an effort to pull off an upset victory, his true self emerges. He made this stunning statement at a town hall meeting:
“I set up a bipartisan fiscal commission that is made up of Republicans and Democrats to sit and meet over the last several months to start looking at how we generally start reducing our debt and our deficit so we’re not leaving it to the next generation. They’re supposed to report back to me after the election because we specifically designed it so they wouldn’t get caught up with silly season and would be able to just focus on what makes sense.”
Obama revealed more than he perhaps intended to with this statement. His Cat Food Commission has been designed to release its bad news of benefit cuts after the election. What the president calls the silly season, citizens making informed decisions when they vote, is inconvenient when politicians are planning to take actions which are harmful to the interests of the people.
“Insurance companies across the country are using the health care so-called reform plan to drop coverage.”
While Obama and White House insiders scratch their heads and wonder why no one loves them as much as they think they should be loved, insurance companies across the country are using the health care so-called reform plan to drop coverage. It is true that children cannot now be denied coverage for pre-existing conditions. Insurance companies were willing to support a plan which gave them what they wanted, millions of new customers, but they are still for profit companies, and they have responded by dropping children-only plans.
If the Obama administration had worked for a single payer, Medicare for all reform plan, Democrats could now run for office boasting of the good deal their party had brought home to their constituents. Instead there is a patchwork of good and bad and most of it won’t even go into effect until 2013. Democrats in tough races are disavowing the plan, the president and their own party because they have no good news for voters. The smarty pants Obamaites outsmarted themselves, and on election day they will find out just how badly they messed up.
Should the Republicans take control of Congress, there must not be a repeat of 1994, when the Newt Gingrich-led victory over Bill Clinton created never before seen levels of Democratic support for that president. The Obama administration has consistently left progressives off of their agenda and publicly humiliated them with diatribes against the “professional left” and never passing up opportunities to make it clear that their demands will never be met.
“The Obama administration has consistently left progressives off of their agenda and publicly humiliated them.”
Democratic control of Congress didn’t save ACORN from destruction, hasn’t stopped wars, or eliminated the anti-gay don’t ask don’t tell policy in the military. It has given us a health care plan that may be worse than no plan at all, the continued transfer of public funds to Wall Street, and no end to the unemployment or housing crises.
If the Democrats go down to defeat, they should hear a loud “We told you so.” The obsessive interest in Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh ought to disappear. It is the Democrats who are in power and the Democrats who must be called to account for the state of the nation and their own inability to provide a platform which gives voters a reason to support them.
Margaret Kimberley's Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR, and is widely reprinted elsewhere. She maintains a frequently updated blog as well as at http://freedomrider.blogspot.com. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley@BlackAgandaReport.com .