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Saturday, July 23, 2011

My Thoughts Exactly: Presidential Primary Challenge!

Sen. Bernie Sanders:

I think there are millions of Americans who are deeply disappointed in the president, who believe that with regard to Social Security and other things, he said one thing as a candidate and is doing something very much else as a president. Who cannot believe how weak he has been for whatever reason in negotiating with Republicans, and there’s deep disappointment.

So my suggestion is, I think one of the reasons the president has made the move so far to the right is that there is no primary opposition to him and I think it would do this country a good deal of service if people started thinking about candidates out there to begin contrasting a progressive agenda as opposed to what Obama believes he’s doing. [...] So I would say to Ryan, discouragement is not an option. I think it would be a good idea if President Obama faced some primary opposition.

Any thoughts on who might be a good choice to challenge Obama in the 2012 Dem primary? A friend mentioned Van Jones. I'd love to see it.

July 23, 2011 at 11:20 AM in 2012 Presidential Race, Democratic Party, Obama Administration | Permalink


In an ideal world, maybe. The frustration is very sensible. However, this particular go round, the dynamics are pretty awful.

This Republican Party has been rising since the sixties. I grew up in Texas around these people. When boomers my age were in college, the dynamic was set. Little did I know at the time.

Progressive reforms in the sixties are what started this. Civil Rights. Women's Liberation. Minority Empowerment, Environmental Consciousness. Energy Alternatives.

What the Republicans have been doing is getting into an ever downward cycle of negativity. They don't have a future in mind. They are only against what Democrats from FDR through LBJ were able to achieve.

What brought this into being in a practical sense that matters is that it is all a marriage of convenience between the evangelical Christian radical right and the completely amoral big business interests, particularly oil.

What both of the motivating factors seek is power.

They aren't really into issues. That tends to be very frustrating as one contemplates how to appeal to the public at election time. This frees them to be very centered on strictly tactical concerns that are only about marketing.

They mean business. They really do.

There have been at least 40 years worth of efforts to buy up media enterprises or gain major advantage. There have been decades of efforts to build a large network of think tanks that influence every aspect of society that can be influenced by people full time on the job of figuring out how. There have been decades of efforts to engineer ways to put millions of dollars of contributions into effective use.

That movement is coming to a head.

They figure that now is the time, or their credibility will dissipate.

If the Democrats can be played by a divide and conquer strategy that simply supports the old circular firing squad, then they win.

The stakes are much higher than winning an election. With all that is going on in the larger world, the prospect of someone like Mitt Romney or Rick Perry winning the White House with majorities in Congress is truly catastrophic, and not in a political sense.

Posted by: Stuart Heady | Jul 23, 2011 12:31:55 PM

It could be a disaster or it could bring the President back in line with traditional Democratic Party values. It is going to be very important to keep the Senate and regain the House as well.

Posted by: LarryNM | Jul 23, 2011 2:59:46 PM

As it stands, there is NO Liberal or even Democratic voice in the Presidential elections.
Democrats at least need to seriously primary other fake Democratic office holders. We saw the Republicans try to run fakes in Wisconsin, you can bet that there are fakes already in office. Watch how they vote, look at their records, having a "D" behind their name means nothing.

Posted by: qofdisks | Jul 24, 2011 11:23:51 AM

Even in a place like Seattle, arguably the most liberal area in the US, progressive politics are problematic.

Jim McDermott has been in Congress a long time, representing downtown Seattle, because he is brilliant at walking a line. He can afford to be very progressive in some areas while being a bit more conventional in others, for instance in terms of what the real estate development community wants. This is some of the biggest big business there is, given that China and Japan are just across the water.

When I was doing precinct organizing north of Seattle, I found it surprising that the idea of actually doing work for a candidate and being committed to calling through lists of names from one's own home to be without a lot of precedent. The enviro groups that operated in the larger Puget Sound area were not eager to help defeat a push by the Master Builders of King and Snohomish Counties to promote massive growth in an area of sylvan meadows, horse farms and suburbs because they were getting money from the King County executive.

So it goes. Every district in the US has somewhat different histories and voter characteristics.

Even in the most progressive parts of the US, there isn't the slack in the system to just overthrow an officeholder without risking that the result will be an entrenched conservative.

One has to consider very carefully the adage that one cannot make the perfect the enemy of the good.

But then, one cannot always believe in generalizations either.

My perspective on Obama is that he is really a barometer of just how much damage was done to the country during the years of Republican rule during the past fifty. We have a long way to go to build up an infrastructure that really supports a national direction for the rest of the 21st century that is progressive and not reactionary or wholly owned as a subsidiary of the multinationals.

Actually, I really wish that there was a lot more emphasis on how such a movement could really gain some traction.

Over the past decades I suspect that, culturally, we are so used to the need to protest the latest fucked thing, that we are unable to focus or concentrate on how to create momentum in a progressive direction so that protest won't be so necessary.

The rest of the century, I'm afraid will not be a pretty picture. What we need to bequeath to the younger folks coming up is some sense of more than just a knowledge of coming shit storms.

Posted by: Stuart Heady | Jul 24, 2011 1:41:26 PM

I don't care if the right wing nuts take over. Let them. This may be the only way to wake people up to what the nuts are about and what happens when their policies are put into place. By sticking with Obama none of the problems get solved anyway or at least not in any depth so they are useless measures.

The twin tragedies of economic and environmental instability will continue unabated even if Obama gets reelected. I say lets take a chance and let the chips fall where they may. If the right wing nut movement is not stopped now or at least exposed, it won't matter at all if Obama gets in again.

Posted by: Let It Fall | Jul 24, 2011 2:45:13 PM

Let's see... By now the right wing has observed the impact of a free and unfettered public discourse on the internet. That would probably be brought to heel under an FCC appointed by Romney or Perry or anyone else. So, the last element of the free press would go.

The Supreme Court nominees of people like Perry would be more extremely conservative, much like the Texas high court.

If those who believe that W made the mistake of being too liberal or too ready to compromise get their way, there won't be another chance to begin making progress towards the sort of policies we would all like to see for at least another generation.

Posted by: Stuart Heady | Jul 24, 2011 4:30:56 PM