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  •  Dems are, in fact, not at all like Republicans. (2+ / 0-)
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    I love OCD, SanFernandoValleyMom

    This is eminently true. They aren't theocrats; they aren't dyed-in-the-wool Randians (for the most part); they stand up for women most of the time; they seem to be getting it, of late, on LGBT rights (though there is a lot more to do); they at least pay lip service to the idea that Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security are sacrosanct institutions -- though this doesn't prevent all of them from musing aloud about "reform" (which could mean anything from minor tweaks to total dismantlement).

    All this is true. Its opposite is true of Republicans.

    But my view is that progressives, as a constituency, do not get our agenda pushed forward if we are in the habit of patting the Democratic party on the back.

    First, while it is absolutely true that we have moved forward on a number of fronts since the 1950s, we've moved backwards some, too: economic inequality is at its worst point since 1929. The labor movement is nowhere near as well-positioned as it was a half-century ago. Many Democrats as well as Republicans accept the logic of deregulation and free trade, despite the negative impact that these things have had on working people. Civil liberties have been only precariously guarded since 9/11, and Democrats have not been where we would ideally want on the question of extrajudicial killings or "enhanced" interrogation techniques. The prison population has exploded since the 1980s, and both Democrats and Republicans have helped to throw away the key.

    In this environment, we do not move forward if we worry about damaging the self-esteem of the Democratic party. The most high-profile and successful progressive movements have imposed pressure on Democrats from outside the party: in the 1950s and 1960s, the civil rights movement used civil disobedience as a key mechanism of pressuring Washington legislators to do something. LBJ's arm-twisting counts for a lot, but would it have happened without the Montgomery bus boycotts or the Freedom Summers? Labor unions and leftist organizations pressed from outside to improve the safety net, and FDR's New Deal was in large part an effort to respond to those pressures, to thread the needle between the need to save capitalism on the one hand, and the need to address the dire straits facing ordinary people on the other.

    My feeling with this is, there are key moments -- the general election, for example -- where it is important to have the Democratic party's back. And I'm not a huge fan of third-party candidacies, which may wind up achieving the opposite of what they intend. But it is important to press the Democratic party to keep pushing for progressive change, and much of this is achieved by external pressure.

    Nothing requires a greater effort of thought than arguments to justify the rule of non-thought. -- Milan Kundera

    by Dale on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 08:36:29 AM PST

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    •  I agree with you in many ways about (0+ / 0-)

      keeping the Party moving leftish.

      What I don't agree with is this endless loop Progressives get in when things don't go exactly our way.  And that's a broad brush statement, but I went back through the 20th Century and looked at the real time reactions of the left wing through the decades.  I'm not kidding when I tell you lefties hated SS and wanted to kill the bill.  They were furious about Medicare not being big enough.  They hated the Civil Rights legislation, that passed only because it was subject to compromise, and blasted it for being too little, too late.

      And those are the programs we fight to protect today.  My suggestion is that we keep pushing for the best we can get, given the system we work in, and immediately start improving on it rather than walking away in disgust for a few years, or decades.  

      We dig in.  Single-payer or nothing?  How's that Progressive?  I'd rather see people die from lack of any insurance than let them have something tainted by compromise?  The idea seems to be that things will get so bad Single Payer will become the alternative everyone supports.  

      And that might be true, along about 2057.  Or we take the ACA as it is, sell the hell out of it people who are still terrified of Death Panels and the evils of government intervention.  We show them the stats on Medicare, on it's efficiency compared to for-profit plans.   We explain that our debt problem is largely a health care expenses problem.  We tell them that they're charged $2500 for a CT scan, insurance pays 1900, they're on the hook for $600.  If they had cash they could have gotten the scan for $450.  There's a problem here.  No one knows it if we spend ourt time being angry there's no Public Option, and no one works to get a PO in the program until they get over being angry.

      That's where we fail.  CFPB is under attack.  The Republicans want control over how it's funded so they can starve it to death.  They won't confirm ANY candidate to run it, although Paul Ryan might be their choice, and they want it dead because it's working.  Progressives walked away from CFPB in large numbers because Elizabeth Warren wasn't given the job of running it.   WTF?  She designed it, created the structure, made it strong.  Obama protected it's future funding.  Her skills were best used at the best time for them, and she went on to the next thing and she's now a Senator with far more power to change things on many fronts.  

      But this CFPB fight isn't generating much energy here.  Why?  Someone told us Pres. Obama is a corporate stooge so anything he does with the financial industry is suspect?  

      That appears to be the case, and this is why we blow our successes and let the Republicans take back an inch for every 2 inches of forward progress we make.

      I'm not looking for a love that will lift me up and carry me away. A love that will stroll alongside and make a few amusing comments will suffice.

      by I love OCD on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 09:14:57 AM PST

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