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Obama and Sotomayor
Obama and The Court: Forwarding Progressivism. The President and his first Supreme Court nominee, Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor

Tis the season: the season where reluctant progressives disenchanted with the Democratic Party and a Democratic president get barraged with attacks, entreaties, cajolements, analysis and more.

Consider this my all-wrapped-in-one entry. First, let me tell you where I stand with regard to President Obama's term so far: he's been a decent president who missed a chance to be great. His misreading of the politics and political bargaining, his reluctance to reshape the financial system, and his tardiness on fighting for fairness, meant that the real chances for transformative change were missed. Moreover, as is the wont of most presidents, he found a new "perspective" on executive power once it was his to wield. As David Leonhardt writes:

Ideologically, however, [Obama] has largely followed Mr. Clinton’s left-center playbook, preferring a mix of market-based and government solutions (like health-insurance exchanges) to a more radical approach (like Medicare  for all). “The Obama presidency is not one in which the Democratic Party has been transformed,” said Julian E. Zelizer, a Princeton historian. “Instead, it has been four and maybe eight years in which the path of the ’90s was solidified.”

I can't claim to be disappointed. I argued that this was in essence what Obama promised in his 2008 campaign. I thought he could do better as president, especially after the September 2008 financial meltdown. But that's looking back. Let's look forward. But let's abandon the Obama-centric approach and focus instead on the issues. Let's look forward to how progressives can forward their issue positions in the coming election and beyond. How will supporting President Obama's reelection help? This is a focus I have forwarded often in the past:

Yes, they are all pols. And they do what they do. Do not fight for pols. Fight for the issues you care about. That often means fighting for a pol of course. But remember, you are fighting for the issues. Not the pols.

What I suggest then is an appraisal of the upcoming election from the perspective of what is at stake, in the short and medium term, for the issues progressives care about.  I'll engage in this exercise below the fold.

The Supreme Court and the Judiciary. The image I have chosen for this post is no accident. There appears to me to be no ambiguity for progressives on the importance of the president's reelection with regard to the Supreme Court. A loss by President Obama in November would be disastrous for progressives in terms of the Court. Justice Ginsberg is a strong risk to retire. Justice Breyer is 74. If there are vacancies in the Supreme Court, President Obama will appoint much more progressive justices than will Mitt Romney, the likely Republican nominee. This issue is as clear as any before us. Add to that the appointment of judges at the appellate and trial level, for many, if not most, progressives, I would hope that this issue alone could persuade regarding the urgency of supporting the president's reelection.

Supreme Court appointments have long-lasting effects. On the current Court, Justices Scalia and Kennedy were appointed by President Reagan. Justice Thomas was appointed by President George H.W. Bush. These Justices will likely sit on the Court for more than 30 years. Policies  MAY have long lasting effects. But Court appointments WILL have long lasting effects.

Fairness Issues. President Obama has consistently supported improving the fairness of the tax code. For some of us, his commitment to, and rhetoric about, the issue has been wanting. But since the debt ceiling fight of last August, the president has been stronger and seemingly more committed to the issue. A large part of this commitment can be attributed to the emergence of the Occupy movement and the change in the political narrative. Thus, in his State of the Union address last month, the president said:

[My grandfather's generation] understood they were part of something larger; that they were contributing to a story of success that every American had a chance to share -- the basic American promise that if you worked hard, you could do well enough to raise a family, own a home, send your kids to college, and put a little away for retirement. The defining issue of our time is how to keep that promise alive. No challenge is more urgent. No debate is more important. We can either settle for a country where a shrinking number of people do really well while a growing number of Americans barely get by, or we can restore an economy where everyone gets a fair shot, and everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules.

The president and his political team have clearly decided that the message of the Occupy movement, the need for a government for the 99 percent, will be the most effective theme against 1 percenter Mitt Romney.

Will this guarantee policies that address the fairness issue? Of course not. Progressives must continue to fight for fairness. But a loss by President Obama will guarantee the issue is lost in the short term. For better or worse, for progressives, the president's reelection will be the test for the traction of the fairness message of the Occupy movement. Despite the non-partisan nature of Occupy, if the president loses, Occupy loses.

Government's Role in the Economy. While many of us firmly believe that President Obama's 2009 stimulus package was woefully inadequate, his reelection remains a political test for the view that the government has a major role in the economy. If the president wins reelection, the view that in times of economic distress, the government has a proper and significant role in addressing this distress will be politically vindicated. An Obama loss will be viewed as a repudiation of government attempts to bolster a distressed economy.

Environmental issues. I am less familiar with the efficacy and significance of President Obama's environmental policies. That said, I do recognize that as a general matter, Democrats are viewed as supporting more environmentally friendly policies than Republicans. I expect the Keystone pipeline will be an issue in the upcoming campaign. At least with regard to the political narrative, President Obama carries the banner for addressing climate change and for protecting the environment.

Civil Liberties. This is an issue where I do not think the president is aligned with progressives. After a promising start in 2009, the president's policies on detainment, targetting of American citizens overseas, and other related issues have strayed far from progressive views. Indeed, I think it is fair to say that there is virtually no difference between the president's positions and those of the Republicans. Perhaps as the president wished, I seriously doubt this will be an issue of dispute in the upcoming election. I do not see how an honest observer can argue that this issue is an incentive for progressives to support the President.

Foreign policy. This was a  major issue in 2008, and for the president personally, it will redound strongly in his favor. That said, I do not see that progressives have a major stake in this issue in this election. Of course it is in the interest of all Americans that the nation have a cogent and effective foreign policy, and I believe the president has clearly delivered that. But I see no stake for progressives tied to the president's reelection on this issue. If President Obama fails to win reelection, no one will argue that it was because of a "progressive" foreign policy.

Other issues. There are of course any number of issues that progressives care about—the homeowners' crisis, intellectual property laws (SOPA and PIPA, for instance), health care and health insurance are among them, to name just three. And some may believe that the president's reelection (or loss) will have a profound impact on these issues. This could be so. I am less certain.

With regard to the homeowners' crisis, President Obama has adopted poor policies that are not associated with progressivism. These polices have been abject failures in my view. The president may abandon them or may double down on them. Either way, since the Republicans do not offer better alternatives, I do not see this issue as an argument for or against supporting the president's reelection.

Similarly, the Affordable Care Act is a mixed bag. While I support the significant expansion of Medicaid, I am skeptical that it will be fully funded by the Congress likely to emerge from this election (unless of course Newt Gingrich miraculously wins the GOP nomination. At that point, all bets are off.) I am also very skeptical that the reform aspects of ACA will work. I imagine most will disagree with me, but I do not see a major progressive stake in ACA.

In any event, what I do urge is this type of issue by issue analysis by reluctant progressives in evaluating their support for President Obama's reelection. Remember, we fight for the issues, not the pols. This is not about President Obama, in my view, it is about the issues.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 10:00 AM PST.

Also republished by The Federation.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Some may prefer (165+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sunbro, Stuart Heady, BoiseBlue, cleduc2, Pilotshark, Crashing Vor, Sandy on Signal, badger1968, al23, maryabein, JWC, Dallasdoc, jardin32, OleHippieChick, La Gitane, nerve, MrJayTee, Egalitare, ceebee7, Cali Scribe, timethief, Scott Wooledge, david78209, figbash, andgarden, james321, stunzeed, ljb, bubbanomics, deerang, cpresley, jck, SquirrelQueen, moldyfolky, angry marmot, dwicks, rcnewton, shaharazade, Azazello, jrooth, bsmechanic, Thomas Twinnings, Setsuna Mudo, citizenx, wasatch, Black Brant, Jim R, israelfox87, pvlb, bronte17, Railfan, ichibon, GreenSooner, Dragon5616, CA Nana, johanus, high uintas, AaronInSanDiego, Bring more on, Candide08, psnyder, Wynter, kerflooey, Christopher H, oxfdblue, Seneca Doane, illinifan17, byteb, TRPChicago, Naniboujou, Molly Weasley, Diana in NoVa, DixieDishrag, Radiowalla, indiemcemopants, Byron from Denver, Cedwyn, MikePhoenix, tofumagoo, Tennessee Dave, ozsea1, Gowrie Gal, porchdog1961, LABobsterofAnaheim, bythesea, Wee Mama, BradyB, your neighbor, artisan, edrie, Supavash, skod, psilocynic, expatjourno, maxcat06, The Gryffin, devtob, mapamp, exNYinTX, imfunnytoo, Chitown Kev, David54, a2nite, Regina in a Sears Kit House, JClarkPDX, BobBlueMass, Detlef, wu ming, xenothaulus, Villanova Rhodes, srkp23, BasharH, Tamar, TomP, dsb, MBNYC, Carlo, worldlotus, Its the Supreme Court Stupid, pioneer111, Hoosier Al, bigrivergal, ecostar, peteri2, NYWheeler, sancerre2001, frankzappatista, Unitary Moonbat, mcgee85, Markoff Chaney, Lefty Ladig, DJ Rix, fayea, DavidMCastro, mrmango, jay23, sara seattle, Terrapin, gramofsam1, oysterface, Miss Blue, on the cusp, Son of a Cat, SoCalJayhawk, deepeco, bfbenn, shesaid, sandblaster, bmaples, vigilant meerkat, sja, Ed in Montana, raina, catilinus, ChuckInReno, GoGoGoEverton, brettski55, MadEye, tapu dali, G2geek, edwardssl, JayBat, chipmo, rlochow, Sylv

    more vitriol and contempt towards reluctant progressives.

    I think reason and persuasion the better road.

    •  let me be clear where I stand (62+ / 0-)

      the issue that dominates my life is education as it is my professional career.  This administration's record has been worse than disappointing.

      The next most important issue to me is civil liberties and civil rights.  The administration's record on this is mediocre, weak on civil liberties and inconsistent on civil rights, especially on issues like gay marriage.  That said, it has achieved lasting progress on getting rid of DADT, and belatedly the Justice Department is moving to oppose voter id laws where it can under the Voting Rights Act pre-clearance provision (although the law suit initiated by AZ AG Tom Horne could lead to the lose of that authority).

      The third key issue for me is the environment, because the damage we are be doing is approaching irreversible.  The administration has been weak on this, although the recent decision on Keystone XL was a bit of a bright spot.

      Then I look at ANY alternative on the other side, even the supposedly "moderate" but now withdrawn Jon Huntsman, and I have trouble not regurgitating or worse.

      I live in Virginia.  Should Obama take Virginia, there is no path to victory for a Republican as far as i can see.

      We have a contest for US Senate between former Governor Tim Kaine and former Governor and Senator Georg'e "macaca" Allen.  Control of the US Senate could depend upon this race.  On that the choice is so stark that I have no trouble committing, should my professional life allow it (about which more in a minute), to commit to registering, motivating, and helping both Kaine and Obama to take Virginia.  

      I have serious problems with the Obama administration.  I would have almost no agreement with the administration of any Republican.

      I wish my choice included someone more in tune with my own values on the key issues.  It does not.   To not vote is to acquiesce in the election of an administration that would be destructive of so much I hold dear, that would be even worse on my key issues than the disappointing track record of the Obama administration.

      If my professional life allows -  if I am still in the classroom, I will be able to find the time to help.

      Should I achieve either of the prestigious graduate school opportunities for which I am pending, I will be out of Virginia for almost all of the Fall, with little time for much activity beyond the occasional online post.

      I am likely to take one of the opportunities in the unlikely event I am offered.  In which case I will be at most an occasional blogger on the elections.

      I know the crap that will be coming down the pike, through our mailboxes, over the broadcast media, funded by hundreds of millions of dollars through Karl Rove and from the likes of the Koch brothers.  What is left of democracy and decency in America will be in the balance.   I am well aware of that.

      I am also approaching 66, tired, and wanting to focus on some other things should I get the chance.

      Am I a progressive?  Hell, I am a LIBERAL damn it, and proud of it.  T. Woodrow Wilson was a progressive but also a racist.  I prefer the term liberal, but will accept the label progressive as well.

      I will vote for this president.

      If able I will support his reelection with some activity beyond my keyboard.

      I will not however contribute to his reelection.  What political contributions I make will (a) be at a lower level than last cycle, and (b) only to candidates for whom my support is absolute, not merely the choice of the less destructive candidate.

      "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

      by teacherken on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 10:45:33 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Those who contribute at lower levels (23+ / 0-)

        also contribute.  Turnout is turnout.  I'm doing the same thing.

        Democrats must
        Earn the trust
        Of the 99% --
        That's our intent!

        "I love this goddamn country, and we're going to take it back." -- Saul Alinksy OCcupy!

        by Seneca Doane on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 11:04:02 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Getting someone else in office would be hard. (13+ / 0-)

        I'd like to think the best of my fellow Americans. That they would accept a more liberal/progressive presidential candidate. But that is just me wishing. We are making ground in the national mindset. Old conservative notions of governing are going out with the Tea Party nutjobs. We just can't expect them to swallow everything in one term.
        If Obama hadn't been vilified so maliciously by the far right he might have had a better chance to be a great president that would take this country into a new era of progressivism. And he still might have a chance to open the door a bit more in that direction. Never give up hope.

        "I think it's the duty of the comedian to find out where the line is drawn and cross it deliberately." -- George Carlin, Satirical Comic,(1937-2008)

        by Wynter on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 11:04:24 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Totally agree, teacherken. (31+ / 0-)

        I think armando has it right: Obama is a decent president who missed his chance to be a great president. And a decent president, who still might turn out to be great president, is better than a god-awful president, which is what we woudl get from the GOP.

        If there is no accountability for those who authorized torture, we can no longer say that we are a nation of laws, not men.

        by MikePhoenix on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 11:22:06 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'll support Obama, but he should be impeached (7+ / 0-)

          But I'm still going to support him and vote for him, anyway.

          Why do I say he should be impeached?  For the same reason Bush should have been impeached: violation of his oath to protect and defend the Constitution.  It's not just that his record on civil liberties is "disappointing" or "not progressive enough."  Obama has continued the crimes that Bush put into place.  Spying on Americans without a warrant, renditions, indefinite imprisonment without trial. targeted assassination of an American citizen without trial or due process, attacking whistleblowers with the espionage act.  Couple that with his failure to prosecute Bush administration officials who committed and initiated these crimes, as well as his failure to prosecute the Wall Street crooks who destroyed our economy, and he also violated his duty to see that the laws be faithfully executed.  So there is ample ground for impeachment, and in a perfect world, he should be impeached, to serve as a deterrent to future Presidents doing the same or worse.  

          But given all that, I will vote for him and support him.  Why?  The answer is obvious.  Can anyone doubt that Gingrich or Romney would be even worse on these issues?  Not to mention on every other issue I can think of, including the economy, judicial appointments, etc.  Obama won't be impeached, at least for the moment his behavior is condoned  by the political system and the public.  Leaving these issues aside, he has not been a bad President,. though he certainly could have been much better.  He had an opportunity to drive a stake through conservatism and the Republican party, and instead his weakness and desire for consensus empowered them.  He really blew a historic opportunity.  But he is far better than the alternative, and I will support him.

          "[W]e shall see the reign of witches pass over . . . and the people, recovering their true spirit, restore their government to its true principles." Jefferson

          by RenMin on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 12:08:05 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Is Obama still doing that? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            RenMin

            The warrantless wiretapping, I mean.

            I am aware of everything else except for the warrantless wiretapping stuff.

            •  Most likely yes (0+ / 0-)

              It's a top secret program but FISA was amended to allow the program to go forward (and to immunize the telecoms) and Obama voted for it, so it is very likely, even thoug there is no official government confirmation.

              "[W]e shall see the reign of witches pass over . . . and the people, recovering their true spirit, restore their government to its true principles." Jefferson

              by RenMin on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 07:04:36 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  that and Barney Frank's statement (my sig line) (10+ / 0-)

          are my main arguments for Obama.
          Want to add re:environment -- from the little I know, Obama has taken some disappointing stands. However, does anyone believe there would have been the slightest delay in approving the Keystone pipeline if a Republican were president?
          The contrast with the Republicans is stark even with a president who is not nearly progressive/liberal enough for us.

          We're not perfect, but they're nuts! -- Barney Frank

          by Tamar on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 12:18:50 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  With the exception of health care and the (0+ / 0-)

          economy, where he's been sort of OK - his admin did nothing meaningful for those losing their homes because I think they embraced the "Let the market clear and we'll all be better off in the long run" argument, Obama has been a Republican president.  I feel more strongly with Obama than I have with any other Dem president or candidate that I really see very little day light between the Repubs and the Dems.  But I'll try to vote for him - I have every intention of dragging myself to the booth and giving it to the Dems one more time.  But it could be my last.

      •  Contributions for Congressional Races (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        devtob, llbear, on the cusp, Onomastic, brein

        My money will be going to HR and Senate races, mostly local, but some out of state. I am fortunate that I can wholeheartedly support my Rep, Raul Grijalva, and will pitch in some to make sure Gabby Gifford's seat still has a Democratic tush in it. A solidly Democratic congress can push Obama to where we want him to go.

      •  I think Obama will win Virginia again (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        devtob, StellaRay, Supavash, brein

        And probably by the same margin if not larger than last time.  It's one of the few swing states where his approval rating has remained relatively high (Compared to the national average) and where he's maintained healthy leads against all GOP challengers.  Obama's coalition in Virginia and North Carolina is largely still behind him.  The Virginia State Senate elections were actually promising.  You guys held every single one of the NOVA seats you've gained over the past 6 years.  

        What I worry about is the GOP taking the Midwest.  I did the math on this.  If Obama loses every state in the mid west save for Illinois, he loses reelection even with Virginia and North Carolina (and I think Florida).  This is more than possible given the results of midterm elections and off-year elections.  

        However, I think if Romney is the nominee, the GOP will get screwed on a big opportunity to win the Midwest.  

        Check out my new blog: http://socalliberal.wordpress.com/

        by SoCalLiberal on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 11:32:26 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't think (8+ / 0-)

          Obama will lose Minnesota or Wisconsin.  Wisconsin imo is the more iffy one, but the recall of Walker has kept democrats galvanized for over a year, and strengthened their voter outreach capabilities with every recall sig. Not to mention that Wisconsin has suffered the consequences of going Tea Party in the last election, and has plenty of reason to reverse course.  Their jobs report is now the worst in the nation.  

          •  Minnesota? (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            monkeybrainpolitics, TofG, Sam I Am, brein

            The GOP is always 'just about' to flip Minnesota. But they never do. And this year? The wisdom of putting the anti-equality amendment on the ballot is already being second-guessed by some Republicans here. The GOP legislature, captured in full for the first time in decades in 2010, has done themselves no favors. The Senate majority leader stepped down in December after an 'inappropriate relationship' with a staffer, the state party has a staggering $2 in debt, with the former leader (Tony Sutton, who resigned abruptly in December) under investigation for financial irregularities. And they've completely abandoned the idea of putting up a candidate with any hope of  beating Senator Klobuchar.

            “I anticipate Obama will carry the state,” said Joe Repya, a conservative activist and former Army officer who ran unsuccessfully for Republican state chairman in 2007.

            “I’m not sure most Republicans understand how deep the trouble we’re in right now,” Mr. Repya said.

            http://www.salon.com/...

            Maybe you see Mr. tin-ear "I like firing people", "I'm not concerned with the poor", "corporations are people" being preferred by the Minnesota electorate to President Obama in Minnesota. But I sure as hell don't.

            •  I think you need to (0+ / 0-)

              read a bit more carefully.  My post say that I don't think Obama will lose Minnesota or Wisconsin.  

              But thanks for the run down on the Republicans abysmal position in MN, I always enjoy that kind of reading.  I live here, and I agree with what Mr. Repya said.  I also agree that putting the gay marriage amendment on the ballot is going to act as a big get out the vote incentive for progressives and democrats.

        •  Oh, Obama will take Minnesota and Wisconsin (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          TofG, Sam I Am

          and Iowa. And Michigan.

          In the Midwest, he needs with Ohio. As goes Ohio, so goes Pennsylvania, IMO.

          Indiana on the other hand...I would be as shocked if Obama took that as I was...well, in 2008...and I was pretty shocked.

          •  Obama's holding his own in Ohio (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            TofG

            and, while Obama is not popular in Pennsylvania, Romney is even less so.  I think we're looking at a margin a bit less than Obama's win in 2008 but considerably more than Bush's 2004 win ... perhaps 300-345 electoral votes for Obama.

            "Valerie, why am I getting all these emails calling me a classless boor?"

            by TLS66 on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 12:51:24 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  it is competitive if Romney pick VA Gov (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          SoCalLiberal

          who still maintains a fairly positive approval rating

          however, here's some possible very inside baseball.

          It is just possible were that to happen the most significant tea-party type in the state, AG Ken Cuccinelli, might seek to undercut the presidential effort in the state, because were Romney then to win, that would elevate the Lt. Gov Bill Bolling to the executive mansion less than 1 year before our gubernatorial contest, and that could block in his quest for that position.

          "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

          by teacherken on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 12:59:13 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Don't count on Virginia (0+ / 0-)

          The last poll I heard, he's losing Virginia and Ohio and Pennsylvania.  It does not look good for the O.

      •  Obama's 1-degree to the right of center (7+ / 0-)

        positions piss me off but I'm not facing assassination and hate never before seen in America. Notice how he moved a little to the left of center once OWS took center stage.

        •  The impression I get is "weathervane". (3+ / 0-)

          That is not a compliment.

          "I am for Socialism because I am for humanity. We have been cursed with the reign of gold long enough" -Eugene V Debs

          by jabbausaf on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 02:23:08 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  How did he move to the center? I"m a media (0+ / 0-)

          junkie and I missed it.

          •  He didnt. Obama was never hard left (0+ / 0-)

            Nobody is perfect. I think many are forgetting it often takes good Presidents a year or two to get going. I like Post Occuppy Obama. No GOP candidate would give a shit about occupy.

            Being from Illinois I have always been aware of Obamas center left stance on many issues. But anyone suggesting he is the same as a Republican is confused at best.

            "The Founding Fathers envisioned a robustly Christian... America, with churches serving as vital institutions that would eclipse the state in importance." The Real Ron Paul

            by 815Sox on Thu Feb 09, 2012 at 08:31:04 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  I am glad to see (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        PsychoSavannah, JimWilson

        progressives commit to contributions on the down ticket, particularly in the senate which looks to be the toughest battle we have ahead of us.

        I will contribute my time to Obama, and my money down ticket.  Both are necessary imo.  We must remember that a vote for Obama is most likely a vote for his down ticket.
        Imo, helping get the vote out is the most important thing we can all do.  

      •  I will probably drag my reluctant self to the (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        rlochow

        voting booth and do it for Obama again.  But progressives have a far, far bigger problem than Obama and that is that there is NOTHING to the left of Obama, nothing organized and politically effective, as far as the eye can see.  The left in the US has been politicially decimated.  That's the problem.  That's why Obama exists - there's nothing on the left that can exert any kind of meaningful political pressure in the Democratic Party.

    •  The 2000 Gore campaign used contempt and (11+ / 0-)

      vitriol to win progressives from Ralph Nader. Generally using harsher rhetoric against them than Bush. We saw how well that worked out.

      If there is no accountability for those who authorized torture, we can no longer say that we are a nation of laws, not men.

      by MikePhoenix on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 11:18:57 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •   Dems need to decide whether they want us or not (16+ / 0-)

        Right now they talk out both sides of their mouths.  On the one hand, it's all our fault that the Dems lose.  On the other hand, there are only 15 of us and we don't matter anyway.

        Make up your goddamn minds.

        •  Depends on the kind of diary/day of year. (6+ / 0-)

          If there's a poll showing > 80% approval by Democrats, progressives are a fringe minority and can be ignored except when it's time to heap scorn on them.

          If there's a poll showing lower enthusiasm or morale, progressives are surly, evil people who are stupidly doing republicans' work for them and causing all the problems--in spite of being a fringe minority.

        •  Start by realizing progress is made through.. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          worldlotus

          compromise. Not begin stubborn and holding off support because you did not get EVERYTHING you wanted. You are the ones threatening not to vote.
          And the majority does rule.

        •  Excuse me but the Democratic Party (0+ / 0-)

          has been pissing on progressives for a long time now, and it is only our self-delusion that has prevented us from seeing it clearly for what it is. Obama has made it a little more clear, with help from his now hidden vp, Joe Biden, one of the great Democratic sell-outs. By the way, where is Joe?

      •  True... (9+ / 0-)

        Dems save all their virtiol for liberals and progressives.

        Dems save all their love and compassion for conseratives, and we all know how well that works out.  

      •  So THE issue for Nader voters in 2000... (7+ / 0-)

        ...was not the fate of the world but whether or not they were treated nicely by Gore voters?  That is by far the harshest rhetoric I've ever read about Ralph's supporters, and is much more damning than anything I ever heard any Gore backer say. Really, Mike, you owe the Naderites on this blog a major apology.

        My memory of those final, awful months was not vitriol and contempt from the Gore campaign, but rather desperate pleading and impassioned warnings about what would befall the country under a Bush presidency (and of course those warnings thoroughly underestimated the ultimate dimensions of the horror of the next eight years).

        To be sure, there WAS contempt -- from smug parlor progressives, so high on the buzz of their imagined moral superiority that they truly believed there was no greater priority in 2000 than "teaching  the Democrats a lesson." We saw how well that worked out.

        Granted, there's been plenty of contempt and vitriol directed toward Nader voters SINCE 2000 -- and while it is entirely reasonable to argue (as Armando does) that such contempt is politically unproductive, it is impossible to argue that it isn't totally deserved.

        My own take on this specific issue of dealing with "reluctant progressives" is that it took a perfect political storm to put Ralph Nader in a position to hand the election to the GOP and such a situation is simply NOT going to happen this year. So rather than expend my energies making the obvious-to-all-but-the-brain-dead point that a choice between a major disappointment and a full-fledged catastrophe may not be a choice you enjoy but it IS a choice, I will vote for Obama and fight for a progressive congress that is far more likely to pull him to the left than a useless tantrum "protest vote."  

        http://twitter.com/#!/Impolitics

        by Impolitics on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 12:11:14 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  If there was any contempt and vitriol (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Luschnig, brein

          it was from the Nader supporters.  There may have been a few Gore supporters going "All, right, spoil the election, you spoiled brat!"  However, most Gore supporters, including myself, were pleading with them.

          "Valerie, why am I getting all these emails calling me a classless boor?"

          by TLS66 on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 12:56:30 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Perfect (6+ / 0-)
          To be sure, there WAS contempt -- from smug parlor progressives, so high on the buzz of their imagined moral superiority that they truly believed there was no greater priority in 2000 than "teaching  the Democrats a lesson." We saw how well that worked out.

          How well that quote describes ME in 2000. I smugly voted for Nader thinking that in 2004 the democrats would lick their wounds from my Nader vote and discover SUPER PROGRESSIVE! who would rise from the ashes like a phoenix and lead us to the promised land.

          I don't know why it was so hard for me to fathom that Gore would have given me 80% of what I really wanted from a president, but for whatever reason I convinced myself that that 20% was toxic and ABSOLUTELY VITAL.

          Right now Obama is in that 80% range and I will GLADLY work hard to get him reelected. At least that way I feel that that last 20% is in better hands.

          There are two types of republicans, the rich and the stupid. The rich ones strive to keep the stupid ones stupid and the stupid ones strive to keep the rich ones rich.

          by frankzappatista on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 01:28:44 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  With Dems, the glass is 3/4 full. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            brein

            The Republicans want to smash the glass altogether.

            The Obama/Biden Inaugural -- the exact moment when the world went from gray to colorful.

            by alkatt on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 02:31:41 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  the ironic thing is that it DID work out well (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            MikePhoenix, orestes1963

            The argument can certainly be made that Obama himself would not even exist as a national political figure if George W Bush had NOT been President for eight years. The entire Democratic Renaissance of 2008 was a direct unequivocal response to eight years of Dubya.

            If there had been no Dubya, there would have been no Obama.

            •  Wait what? (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              SoCalJayhawk, brein, jrooth, roadbear

              I'd prefer that we had Gore from 2000-2008 and a republican president today. At least with Gore there would have been a lot less for the 2008 president to mop up after. In other words, we wouldn't be needing a democratic president so badly right now. I would never want t a Bush today to get me an Obama 8 years from now.

              There are two types of republicans, the rich and the stupid. The rich ones strive to keep the stupid ones stupid and the stupid ones strive to keep the rich ones rich.

              by frankzappatista on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 03:28:03 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  I don't think that supporting Nader was a good (4+ / 0-)

          idea, hindsight is always better than foresight. But the fact is that the Gore campaign DID spend a lot more time bashing the Naderites than going after Bush and spent most of their time trying to appease the right. I mean how could you come up with a better way to say "FUCK YOU" to progressives than nominate as your VP somebody who won his senate seat by being to the right of the Republican incumbent. Despite your baseless and sarcastic opening line, that was one of many far larger issue than how Naderites were treated by Gore voters, as putting a fire-breathing warmonger a heartbeat away from the presidency had a lot to do with the fate of the world. Remember, Bush gave no sign that he was interested in military adventures during the campaign. By the way the issue I was pointing to was the issue of how progressive voters were treated by the Gore CAMPAIGN, not Gore voters. Work on your reading comprehension skills. Self-righteous indignation is no substitute for actually understanding what you are reading when crafting a response.

          It is the responsibility of the candidate and his campaign to win the support of the electorate. Gore and his campaign failed there. And it is simple common sense that you when you insult people you make it unlikely that they are going vote the way you want. If people don't like you, they aren't likely to pay attention to what you say.

          If there is no accountability for those who authorized torture, we can no longer say that we are a nation of laws, not men.

          by MikePhoenix on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 03:00:52 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  tantrum? (5+ / 0-)

          Wow, there is so much disdain on this site for people who support third parties.  Practically every comment is dripping with disgust.  It's really unbecoming, if you ask me.

          To be clear, I've never voted for a third party in a presidential election in my life.  And I guess I think that voting for the "lesser of two evils" is not a terrible thing; in fact, it is a good thing, and may result in better outcomes than voting for the worst of two evils.

          But I think you people should give some respect to the people who decide that the best thing to do is vote for a truly progressive candidate, even if that is a third party.  They are making a decision that they hope might eventually result in better choices for more people down the road.  Infantilizing that kind of a decision by calling it a "tantrum" is not appropriate, IMO.

      •  Why is "Progressive's" vitriolic criticism (0+ / 0-)

        of Obama good whereas any push back is bad?  The food fight started almost immediately with "progressives" calling Obama "Bush-lite" and worse than the rightwing.  And when the administration defended itself progressives cried foul.  Can you imagine the outrage on the Left if the administration really did accuse them of being "Stalin-lite" and worse than the Cultural Revolution?  It might be better if the "Left" were not so thin skinned.  

        •  Obama is a politician (4+ / 0-)

          Progressives are voters.

          I would be happy to spell it out further if you so require.

          •  Democrats are voters (0+ / 0-)

            who are organized as a coherent political party.   And I would be happy to spell it out further if you so require so you will know that they out vote the disorganized 'progressives' many times over.   Moreover, in a democracy being a politician is good because it is how democracy is done.  Tyrannies, however, dispense with politicians because they get in the way.

            •  huh? (0+ / 0-)

              Yes please! Spell it out because I have NO idea how that relates to my post.

            •  Progressives want good to happen for people (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              barleystraw, Dallasdoc, roadbear

              I'm sorry, but the important thing is that people are taken care of and life is improved for people.  There is nothing magical or particularly great about the Democratic party except to the degree that it can deliver these good things.  Progressives have a fairly coherent set of beliefs and objectives to aim for.  More and more, the Democratic party has been losing its coherency in terms of appropriate policy goals and societal goals.  Why should I care whether it is a "coherent political party" if it cannot act to create greater good for the people?  I would hope that you might be able to see that the "disorganized progressives" are the best hope to pull the Democratic party back into line to actually get something good done and not just win elections that become emptier and emptier of meaning.

        •  Obama is the progressive. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          worldlotus
      •  And Nader used outright lies to get votes from Gor (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        foufou

        and it sadly worked.  The lies I refer to is the "Gore = Bush" line on which Nader's campaign was based.  Nader's entire campaign was a lie.

    •  I say now what I said in 2000 (29+ / 0-)

      If I am drowning in the middle of an ocean and someone comes by in a leaky rowboat and offers me a seat, I will take it.  I will NOT say, "No thanks, I'm waiting for a yacht."

      The fact that there is any debate about this among anyone old enough to recall similar debates prior to the catastrophe of Bush/Gore I respond to with neither vitriol or contempt, but merely slack-jawed astonishment.

      http://twitter.com/#!/Impolitics

      by Impolitics on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 11:18:57 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  When you're involved in a fight for your life (4+ / 0-)

        with thugs trying to rob what little you have, the last thing you need is a critique on your fighting style.

        This is my memory of the early years after the selection of 2000 when discussing the plight of this country with European progressives. A good number of them simply wrote all of us off here in the US, thinking that theft of an election was just conspiracy theory or an excuse for complacency.

      •  Wise words, impolitics. nt (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Impolitics, worldlotus
      •  Obama isn't Gore, Romney isn't Bush (0+ / 0-)

        So I don't know that the comparison really works. Obama is well to the right of Gore, Romney is well to the left of Dubya, and if anything they're closer to each other than to their 2000 counterparts.

        This is 1996 all over again, not 2000 all over again. That's coming in 2016 when some meaningless limpet from the Obama Administration has to go up against whoever the Republicans discover to actually energize their base again. My bet is on some young good looking and nominally charismatic Republican senator, probably Rubio or Brown.

        "I am for Socialism because I am for humanity. We have been cursed with the reign of gold long enough" -Eugene V Debs

        by jabbausaf on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 02:26:55 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  In a nice way (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SoCalJayhawk, brein, worldlotus

      we must convince them to vote for every Democrat every year until the Republican party starts to get pulled to the left.  That could take years, and that's the Repugs problem really, but they could react someday.  Until then the only way to pull the country to the left is to make the Democratic Party a governing  force like it used to be from the 30's to the 70's.

      By the way, I volunteer for the party quite extensively and consider it a matter of survival.

      We should primary every Blue Dog we can as well.  If they survive to the general, so be it.  The message will be sent.  Support the Democrat in November.

      What we should argue calmly against is people sitting out and letting the corporate Republicans take control by default.

      I live in a somewhat Blue metropolitan county in a fairly Red state.  The county turned blue in the mid-90's and elected a Democrat for mayor in 1999 and reelected him in 2003.  In 2007 he was defeated after an extremely lazy turnout of 27%.

      In 2008 Obama came to our county and others in our Red state turnout shot through the roof.  Our county and a few other urban counties in the state turned out enough voters to turn the state Blue for the first time since 1964.

      In 2010 turnout fell apart and the Democrats were defeated soundly at every level.  Many, many bad things have happened since this blowout, people seem angry about it, and one would think people would wake up.

      In 2011 our Blue county returned the Republican mayor to office after another lousy turnout of 30%.

      2012 who knows what will happen.  One thing for sure, we can hang together or we'll hang separately.

      The right must be repeatedly beaten badly before they will give up their campaign to eliminate fairness and prosperity.  It is simple as that.  And the Democrats won't move to the left either until they feel solid support under their feet.

      Speaker Boehner, where are the jobs?

      by Carlo on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 12:50:53 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  It comes down to this..... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      brein

      Do you want Obama for a second term or a repub as POTUS?

      Sorry to put it in such stark & simple terms......but that is what this next election is about.

      Obama or Romney?

      Pick your poison.

      •  That's like asking if I want cyanide or arsenic. (0+ / 0-)

        "I am for Socialism because I am for humanity. We have been cursed with the reign of gold long enough" -Eugene V Debs

        by jabbausaf on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 02:32:45 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I'll just leave this here, then (5+ / 0-)

        (1) Codify indefinite detention into law;
        (2) draw up a secret kill list of people, including American citizens, to assassinate without due process;
        (3) proceed with warrantless spying on American citizens;
        (4) prosecute Bush-era whistleblowers for violating state secrets;
        (5) reinterpret the War Powers Resolution such that entering a war of choice without a Congressional declaration is permissible;
        (6) enter and prosecute such a war;
        (7) institutionalize naked scanners and intrusive full body pat-downs in major American airports;
        (8) oversee a planned expansion of TSA so that its agents are already beginning to patrol American highways, train stations, and bus depots;
        (9) wage an undeclared drone war on numerous Muslim countries that delegates to the CIA the final call about some strikes that put civilians in jeopardy;
        (10) invoke the state-secrets privilege to dismiss lawsuits brought by civil-liberties organizations on dubious technicalities rather than litigating them on the merits;
        (11) preside over federal raids on medical marijuana dispensaries;
        (12) attempt to negotiate an extension of American troops in Iraq beyond 2011 (an effort that thankfully failed);
        (13) reauthorize the Patriot Act;
        (14) and select an economic team mostly made up of former and future financial executives from Wall Street firms that played major roles in the financial crisis.

        How many divisions does OWS have?

        by Diebold Hacker on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 02:41:48 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  ok after reading this sentence (19+ / 0-)

    "he's been a decent president who missed a chance to be great. His misreading of the politics...."

    I did not read the rest. Damn. Lemme go find another website with hope attached to it.

    Obama's defining political trait is the belief that conciliatory rhetoric is a ruthless strategy

    by AAMOM on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 10:04:22 AM PST

  •  Not Obama-centric? (7+ / 0-)

    why do you hate Obama?

    /snark

    Ask your barista what her degree is in.

    by happymisanthropy on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 10:04:40 AM PST

  •  The signing of the Military Appropriations Bill (18+ / 0-)

    With the language to indefinitely detain Americans without due process is a bug-a-boo I cannot look past.

  •  It's good to see the issue of the Supreme (26+ / 0-)

    Court at the top of your list.  

    I just wrote a diary about the effects that the conservative S.C. already is having with its Citizens United decision:

    http://www.dailykos.com/...

    America absolutely cannot afford to have the S.C. swing even more to the right!

    "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

    by Lawrence on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 10:07:41 AM PST

  •  I am fighting to save the planet. I am losing. (58+ / 0-)

    Fortunately, I am not fighting alone. There are some pretty amazing people like Jim Hansen and Bill McKibben who have put their asses on the line. They are trying to push Obama to do the right thing.

    Obama will do the right thing if public opinion starts to move away from teh Drill baby drill idiocy of the Republicans.

    However, the progressive blogs haven't done much to help.

    The Front Page here focuses on every little detail of the Republican primary campaign while the weather and climate cross a threshold into the unknown.

    A few climate scientists like Hansen are shouting Fire!

    We should be passing the buckets of water to put it out.

    Where's the bucket brigade?

    look for my eSci diary series Thursday evening.

    by FishOutofWater on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 10:07:59 AM PST

    •  Can't afford a bucket. (10+ / 0-)

      I don't think people don't care.  It is just that the present value of future environmental catastrophe is less than the present value of putting food on the table and paying the mortgage or rent.  If we lived in a more civil, egalitarian society, then I think climate change would be more urgent, as it should be.

      "The attack on the truth by war begins long before war starts and continues long after a war ends." -Julian Assange

      by Pierro Sraffa on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 10:18:38 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Economic anxiety trumps all things (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wasatch, Tamar, Geenius at Wrok

        about the future, unfortunately.  I think the President has been doing what he can through executive orders and the EPA like the fuel-efficiency standards on cars. He missed the boat on compreshensive energy legislation when he let Max Baucus take over healthcare for THREE FCKING MONTHS.

      •  I dunno. As far back as the Carter admn. when (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RLMiller, peregrine kate, One Opinion

        President Carter equated the energy crisis as being "the moral equivalent to war" & also made public the far reaching horrors of toxic waste (Love Canal), it just seems to me that after 1981 that can kept being kicked down the road.

        During the 1977-1981 Carter admn. there was recession, energy crisis & multiple other crisis that people faced or lived.

        While there are truths to what you posit, IMHO, this world can no longer wait for a "more civil egalitarian society" to act.  

        This world can no longer afford to kick some cans down the road.

        •  how did that work out for Carter? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          worldlotus

          Oh, yeah. We got two terms of Reagan. That was not so great for the planet.

          •  That was one of my points...along with the (0+ / 0-)

            observation that the energy crisis & pollution crisis of today seems to have been largely ignored (kicked down the road) since the Carter admn until this current admn.

            By citizens who faced the same economics from then til now.

            Btw- alot of liberals were disappointed in President Carter-citing many of the same adjectives that some use re President Obama.

            So:

            Oh, yeah. We got two terms of Reagan. That was not so great for the planet.

            Sad, the short term memory loss that afflicts some, eh?

    •  The bucket brigade is busy playing Horse Race. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      chuckvw, blueoasis, mightymouse
    •  good assessment. (12+ / 0-)

      Obama knows that we are approaching a planetary disaster - there are enough smart people in his administration to tell him so. But he's pursuing a horrible strategy of both incremental increases in clean energy, and expansion of fossil fuels.

      Similarly, the progressive blogosphere generally knows that we are approaching a planetary disaster. But climate activism is seen as part of environmentalism, a pet issue, and lumped in with people who want to save the whales. (I do want to save the whales. But I want to save the humans too.)

      Obama's approach toward the climate is that of a horribly obese person who is told of an impending heart attack without a drastic change in exercise, diet, and lifestyle; then signs up for one yoga class per week, and grabs a bag of Cheetos to eat on the way to the gym.

      The world is on pace for 11 degrees F warming. Nothing else in politics matters. @RL_Miller

      by RLMiller on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 10:22:01 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yes, the horse race coverage here (6+ / 0-)

      of the meaningless clown cavalcade is almost indistinguishable from anything you'd see on CNN.

      Romney was always going to be the candidate. Guess what. Romney will be the candidate.

      War, the environment, unemployment, civil liberties are all in sleep mode... even here. Granted these issues only marginally favor today's Democratic Party.

      If only donkeys could have elephant balls... Occupy!

      by chuckvw on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 10:35:44 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  But that "meaningless clown cavalcade" (0+ / 0-)

        sets the talking points and the policy for no matter who the nominee is; look how Romney's been pushed to the Right by the rhetoric from Gingrich and the rest of the crowd. And if he wants to be more than just a one-term President he's going to have to follow through on some of that talk. The more aware we are now of what's being said, the better we can counteract it this fall.

        Now to try to end the wars we ask our gay and straight soldiers to fight. -- Chris Hayes (modified)

        by Cali Scribe on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 10:43:36 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I haven't heard anything new (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          LeftOverAmerica, TJ

          or surprising. Romney's rightward shift began a while back. The talking points are as old as hills. If there is anything surprising here, it is just how stale and unimaginative the "ideas" coming out of this "process" have been.

          I'll stick with "meaningless clown cavalcade"...

          If only donkeys could have elephant balls... Occupy!

          by chuckvw on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 11:06:11 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  The planet will take care of itself. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      peregrine kate, Geenius at Wrok

      It's us I'm not so sure about.

  •  I might add SS and Medicare (31+ / 0-)

    If the President loses, it is a very realistic possibility some form of Social Security and Medicare "reform" will be passed--probably on the Ryan model.  This, as we know, will essentially end these programs and consign them to a slow death.
    My disappointments with the President are many, but for this reason alone I could continue to advocate for him.  And, there are many other reasons you have spelled out.

    "I shall never surrender or retreat." --Lieutenant Colonel William Barret Travis

    by badger1968 on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 10:08:18 AM PST

  •  So hold you nose and vote for him (10+ / 0-)

    because the Republicans are worse?

    I suggest then is an appraisal of the upcoming election from the perspective of what is at stake

    Not really a compelling argument. I was hoping for some serious lures I could use to discuss positive aspects.

    Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.

    by Horace Boothroyd III on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 10:09:26 AM PST

  •  I personally don't think the left needs to (22+ / 0-)

    use their energy to convince their fellow progressives to vote for Obama. The small fraction of leftists who refuse to vote for Obama aren't going to make a dent in the election.

    I also think that it's fair of them to vote for someone else who they feel represents them better. There's nothing wrong with that.

    But If they've made up their mind to not support him they're a waste of time and energy, and I don't think we spend our time well trying to argue with them.

    P.S. I am not a crackpot.

    by BoiseBlue on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 10:10:59 AM PST

  •  What has this to do with the Super Bowl? (0+ / 0-)

    Posted well before the big-game.....

    Who's playing again?

  •  As I focus on the issues, I look at (19+ / 0-)

    the candidates that will get us closer to them, and there is only one out there that will:  Obama.  

    As for him being transformative, not only has he pushed further than Clinton, he's also had to undo a number of things that Clinton set in place, such as DADT, which he not only undid, he made the military accept gays (Remember, DADT was an attempt to make it so that gays could hide and not get in trouble, not serve out in the open).

    Also, if you are going to focus on the issues, you have to focus on how you are going to get there.  Very few things in this country are going to happen in one giant step.  This is the case with healthcare.  Think about how many other bills wiped out an entire industry like we hope someday to do with the healthcare industry.

    One final thing:  He's black.  That was a transformation that would have brought out arms and secession 150 years ago.  Ultimately, he has made this country better by just being near.  I can't wait to elect a woman to the White House to really blow the Republican's gaskets.

    Occupy the voting Booth!

    by anonevent on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 10:11:45 AM PST

  •  Well I'm not crazy about him (5+ / 0-)

    And my vote from Alabama now probably won't benefit him much.  But to think that anyone else being offered at this time should be President instead.....I'm not cashing in my disappointment for Armageddon instead.

    I'm just not willing to settle for not worrying our pretty little heads about the plight of pensions either, and instead work on filing that flight plan for Jesus so he can suck us all up into the sky and outta here, away from this big ole mess.

  •  You are quite correct when you point out that (18+ / 0-)

    centrist and cautious is exactly what was on the package when we brought it home from the store. The product has performed precisely as advertised.

    It is to be hoped that two elements--the articulation of inequality brought forth by the Occupiers and the abject f'ing insanity of the 'Pub base and the candidates that must pander to them--will encourage the president to explore more progressive policies in coming years.

    Corporations are people, my friend Yeah, well, so's Soylent Green, so I don't find that very comforting. New video: The World is a Grinding Wheel

    by Crashing Vor on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 10:12:38 AM PST

  •  Please note the title of Hunter's piece here (13+ / 0-)

    and in the substance of it it's not even about pushing how great and magnificient President Obama (if one is inclined to feel that way).

    There is a sizable portion of Democratic voters that do not feel that way (Armando falls along those lines, as do I).

    It's about selling President Obama to those that he identifies in the headline, that is, "reluctant progressives."

    Maybe vitriol and accusations of racism work for some people. This works for me.

  •  The Supreme Court is the only reason as far as (2+ / 0-)

    I'm concerned.

    Fairness - Obama's come to mama conversion is clearly a re-e-lec-tion conversion

    Government in economy - if past is precedent, he'll be picking more Wall Streeters to run his economic team and treasury

    Environment - XL position attributed to re-e-lec-tion and getting lucky with Repub demand for decision

    Civil liberties - George W. in Obama clothing

    Foreign policy - on balance has done ok, but don't see this as a major reason to vote for him;  again recent actions can be attributed to re-e-lec-tion time

    The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. Bertrand Russell

    by accumbens on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 10:14:04 AM PST

  •  If the Komen fiasco proves anything (7+ / 0-)

    Its that we have to support Obama and all Democrats even if they are not perfect.  Even if a Dem in the house professes to be anti-choice if that's the Dem that leads to the Dems ruling the house then none of the anti choice agenda will get to the floor.   Let 's get real the MOST important thing about the presidency is picking SCOTUS justices.  You may be pissed that Obama didn't move things in the direction you would have liked but just think how bad it would have been with McCain in the driver's seat.   And just think where things will go with Romney or Gingrich.

    •  Well I disagree with this (7+ / 0-)

      I have allowed far too much of that to go on, and that is how we are now in this place.  Want to take away my choice, just bring it, just do it, just face me down and then have to deal with the consequences.  And anti-choice Democrats?  Well for me, they can go fuck off.  I got a line in the sand these days.  I'm so done with being easily terrified about this.

    •  Komen proves my point (13+ / 0-)

      Effective action for social change is no longer coming from the Dem party.  In reality, it has not for the past three decades, but we couldn't do anything about it then because there was no alternative.  Now, there is an alternative, and Komen illustrates it perfectly. While the Dems did nothing, plain ole ordinary run of the mill people in the streets and online organized themselves, focused their response, and brought Komen to its knees within hours. The Occupy movement has changed, radically, the entire political landscape. The Dem party did not create that wave of grassroots political activism, nor does the Dem party own or control it. That movement is utterly independent of BOTH parties, and is just as capable of tearing a new asshole for one party as the other. It has made Bank of America beg for mercy; it has given Komen a big bloody nose; and it can punch the Dem party in the face just as effectively if the Dem party gives us a reason to do it.

      The political game has changed.  Utterly.  The Dem Party is no longer the only progressive game in town.  Komen shows that the Dem party is not even the most EFFECTIVE progressive game in town. The Dem Party needs us if it wants to win elections---but Komen shows that we do not need the Dem party if we want to win progressive victories.

      That is a lesson that the entire Dem party must meditate upon long and hard . . . . .

      •  Every time a Republican wins (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Quantumlogic

        It encourages the anti choice crowd to push further.  If pro choices don't go to the polls and Only vote pro choice then there's no political liability to be anti choice.  What Komen shows is that the pro choice lobby has grown so complacent that anti choice zealots could rise to the top of the biggest breast cancer charity in the country.   If you give a rat's ass about reproductive right then you have got to get your ass to the polls and vote against anti choicers every time.  We have got to make anti choice a political liability and you can only do that by voting.

        •  in case you didn't notice, we just (7+ / 0-)

          defended reproductive rights, effectively enough to make Komen cave in within hours----and we did it without the Democratic party.  We not only made it a political liability, we made it an economic and social liability too, and we had Komen begging for mercy to anyone that would listen to them. Do you think Komen is ever going to publicly declare support for any anti-choice group ever again?  I think not.

          And we did that without the Democratic party.

          Think on that for a moment.

          •  It's only a political liability in elections (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Quantumlogic

            The reason why anti-choicers have made it so far is because they made it a political liability to be pro-choice, and pro-choicers mindlessly voted for GOPers even when they said they were anti-choice.    If you want the country to move in the direction you want it to, you have to take charge of the legislative body.   The Komen cave in was bullshit, they promised nothing with regards to future PP grants and they are still not funding research at facilities where embryonic research happens.    We gained nothing this week from Komen, but we learned that anti-choicers have made it further than we originally believed.   The ONLY way to grasp the victories from OWS and Komen is to take that energy to the polls and VOTE.    The more you vote for Dems and the more they win the stronger a position you will be in to move the party in the direction you want it to.  The reason the Democrats are such wimp-asses is that they're afraid of not winning.   Give them victories and let them know they can count on your votes and they will have the courage to move further left.

    •  Does anyone think things would be better with Ron (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      OleHippieChick

      "honest rape" Paul?

    •  Wrong. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Orange County Liberal

      There are a disturbing number of Democrats that we don't have to and should not support. Blue Dogs....

  •  Persuading reluctant progressives to vote Obama (13+ / 0-)

    Is paramount, and this is a very reasoned approach. As an already persuaded supporter, albeit one who can appreciate criticism from Obama's left (both on policy and tactical grounds), I'm more positive toward his accomplishments than Armando, but that's ok. Everything he's said here is grounded in reality. I hope this piece finds its mark, and I suspect it will.

    My forthcoming book Obama's America: A Transformative Vision of Our National Identity will be published in Summer 2012 by Potomac Books.

    by Ian Reifowitz on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 10:14:25 AM PST

  •  Foundations to build on (11+ / 0-)

    Obama is, to an extent, a measure of the status of the foundation we need to build on in order to achieve a broadly based progressive approach to the various problems that have to be faced as we go forward.

    What I wish there was more focus on was a sense that we need a strategy that looks forward as far as the year 2100, as it takes a long time to actually put a large scale strategy into effect, so it might as well be focused on a large scale horizon.

    Obama went into the White House after 8 years in which George Bush created a lot of policy that I feel set us all back, way back.  Clinton's time was mildly progressive, but it, in turn, had to deal with 12 years of Reagan and then Bush's father.  

    That's 20 years of the GOP in power against 8 for Democrats, leading up to Obama's time.  

    The positive foundation building is that a black man, as the President of the United States, has built up some opposition simply because he is black, but is currently the best and most balance person for the job, going into the re-election.  His opponents all seem to have lost their minds.

    Should he be re-elected, Democrats will have a chance to build on what has been accomplished.  Aside from policy wins or losses, it should be remembered that what supports the prospects that the Democratic Party could be in a position to set broad policy goals for the long term is the careers of many people beside the President.  

    The number of people who get to work in government who are Democrats who will have real experience to take back to the graduate schools where they will wind up, creates an ever larger pool of people with skills and knowledge to work for a future based on objectives and outlooks that are more progressive in nature.  

    Institutional strengthening requires thousands and thousands of people at all sort of levels.  

    If Obama gets re-elected and the Tea Party gets rejected, then perhaps Congress will be less divisive and more supportive of a general Democratic push to move things forward.  Less mean spirited opposition just for the sake of it and less interest in simply undermining Obama will mean greater prospects that a progressive agenda might actually begin to gain real traction.  

    We need to develop a better ability to look at the larger, overall picture and the long term.  

    We have not had the chance to do that since probably the time of LBJ.

    hope that the idiots who have no constructive and creative solutions but only look to tear down will not win the day.

    by Stuart Heady on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 10:15:11 AM PST

    •  Excellent comment, Stuart Heady. Wish I could rec (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Regina in a Sears Kit House

      a bazillion times!  Especially several key points you made such as:

      Institutional strengthening requires thousands and thousands of people at all sort of levels.

      AND
      What I wish there was more focus on was a sense that we need a strategy that looks forward as far as the year 2100, as it takes a long time to actually put a large scale strategy into effect, so it might as well be focused on a large scale horizon.

      AND
      We need to develop a better ability to look at the larger, overall picture and the long term.
  •  Apart from all the legitmate reasons (11+ / 0-)

    diaried, all that's necessary for any thinking person would be to look at the alternative... and to keep in mind it's highly likely the "best" alternative will be the nominee on the other side.  I grew up when every election wound up being for the lesser of two evils.  In a system rigged for perpetuation of the status quo, that's about the best it ever gets.

    Thanks for this diary, might make some people think.  As I learned beginning 50 years ago, the "best" candidate will never be on the ballot...  so the obvious option is to choose the "better" candidate... but above all else, do not stay home.

    Kick apart the structures - Seth

    by ceebee7 on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 10:18:34 AM PST

  •  Many muslims (5+ / 0-)

    Me and many muslims that I know have just given up with both parties, each tries to screw us more than the previous one.

  •  To fully appreciate the necessity of Obama's (11+ / 0-)

    re-election I think it is necessary for everyone to travel back in time and revisit their feelings towards not only the nature of the country itself but the potential future of the country itself during A) the Clinton Administration and then B) the Bush Administration.   The primary difference going forward is whether we will have a government that cares about its people, or one that doesn't.

    For me, the Bush Horror was incomparable in its viscerally wrenching departure from what had come before it at any period of my life,  encompassing a good 40 years at that time. The transfiguration of the Republican Party into a purely malevolent, heedlessly destructive political organization bent on destroying every semblance of public good was sufficiently instructive.  As shown by the behavior of the Republican House it is absolutely clear that this pattern will continue and what good qualities this country possesses would be wiped out under a new Republican Executive and its willing Executioners.  

    It's that simple, and that stark.

  •  Fuck reluctant progressives (5+ / 1-)

    We don't need incessant superior whiners. Those 10 to 15 people are not going to affect this election.

    Besides, they still have Ron Paul to support, so they won't be lonely.

  •  the big mistake for Pres. Obama, Democrats (19+ / 0-)

    and some progressives is the failure to recognize and educate others that environmental issues are interconnected with human rights, racism, jobs, economy, health care, foreign policy etc.

    Thousands of people each year are getting sick and dying now due to our contaminated environment such that pollutants are now in our air, water, soil and food chain...thus in us and our pets.  A world study said like 14% or so of cancer would be "cured" if we stopped environmental pollution.

    Our government has known for years that polluting factories and industry are often located in or near communities of people of color. Water shortages and climate change are already creating refugees today and as we continue to ignore and address both, things will worsen. One of the good indicators of a country's economic growth is water.

    When we had acid rain, bush responded with cap and trade program. We now have mercury rain and snow, and while we thankfully have new mercury regs, cap and trade or any program to address climate change is still being debated whether climate change exists.

    We pay the external costs as corporate welfare for fossil fuel industry. We allow mining companies to discharge waste into streams and lakes because they do not want to pay for proper waste disposal. We later pay for losing water resources or drinking contaminated water. Water is a renewable resource but it is also finite.

    These are just a few examples.

    Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Mohandas K. Gandhi

    by Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 10:21:23 AM PST

    •  Patriot, I think you're right... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      goodpractice, blueoasis

      but the anti-science rhetoric of the lunatic fringe of the Far Right makes education of the masses nearly impossible.

      These people engage in magical thinking. They believe the world was made in six days and that God and/or Satan put the fossils in the earth to confuse believers who might put a little credence in science rather than what's written in the Bible. They don't believe that humanity can screw up the environment. And if we destroy the earth, so what? God will make a new one.

      Can't even get through to these yutzes by looking at the passages in the Bible that discuss good stewardship, that is, taking care of the earth with the notion that everything belongs to God, not to people.

  •  "missed a chance to be great" (7+ / 0-)

    Boy howdy . . . by a country mile.

    And by so doing not only didn't advance but actually added substantial impedement to continuing the FDR legacy of the Democratic Party.

    He has been, though, great for Wall Street . . .

    Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

    by Deward Hastings on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 10:22:25 AM PST

    •  Funny. Wall Street hates his guts. (10+ / 0-)

      It's actually really funny talking to my friends who do work on Wall St.  They are convinced he's a Socialist no matter what you tell them about the facts.

      So he must be doing something right.

      •  Wall Street's wallets don't hate his guts, though (7+ / 0-)

        Take a look at his largest contributors in 2008.  Any of those names sound familiar?

        •  Actually wall street has been financing (0+ / 0-)

          Romney at more than 10 times the rate they are donating to Obama.  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/...

            Sure there are probably a few good progressives who work on wall street and still support Obama, but the vast majority of donations is going to Romney.  

          Wall street clearly believes that mitt Romney is the candidate who will help the 1% make it to the .01%.  Ihope we can stop using the very lame "Obama works for wall street" argument.

          •  you are partly right (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            chipmo

            There's no reason yet for any money to pour to Obama, because his campaign hasn't even started yet.

            My hypothesis is that the 1%ers realize that having a John Bircher kook in the White House is bad for business, so their immediate priority is to make sure that Romney wins the Repug primary and not one of the drooling nutjobs.

            Once the Repug nomination is secure and the nutters won't get it, the 1%ers will switch back to the same group they have relied on in the past, the same group that has buttered their bread for 6 years now, the same group they know will help them in the future----the Democrats.

            My hypothesis is testable.  Watch the patterns of campaign contributions over time. If you are correct, and the Wall Streeters really want to abandon the Dems and jump to the Repugs, then the majority of their money will continue to go to Romney throughout the entire campaign. And if I am right, and the Wall Street move to the Repugs is just a temporary tactical move to keep the nutjobs out of the White House, then the majority of their money will go to Romney until Romney locks it up, and then as we get closer to the actual election the majority of the money will shift back to the Dems, where it has been since 2006.

            Time will tell, clearly and unmistakeably, which of us is correct.

            •  If you read the article (0+ / 0-)

              the drop in Wall Street donations has occured during the 2012 election period.  Donations have gone from a 5 to 1 preference for the GOP to an 11.7 to 1 preference for the GOP, just in the past year.  There may be an increase in Obama donations closer to the election, if it appears that he is going to win. I don't see how it could be any clearer.  Wall Street prefers Mitt Romney by a big margin.  They are clearly disappointed in the actions that our President has taken lately, and the drop in contributions has made that clear.  

              I would prefer public financing for elections.  I hate the Citizens United decision, and I think the money in elections could possibly be the destruction of fair elections.  But, this is the playing field we are on.  If we want to compete, we need to raise money.  Some of the money will come from people who work in oil and gas or investment banking.  Until the laws are changed, that is how it will have to be.  

  •  this isnt about Obama, it's about the Dem Party (22+ / 0-)

    As I have often said in the past, Obama is not the problem, and never was. The problem is with the entire Dem party as a whole. Whether Obama is progressive or not, doesn't matter--it doesn't matter because the Dem party itself is not progressive, hasn't been since the 70's, and shows no sign at all that it currently wants to be. On every issue that you list above, the Dem Party as a whole has fallen flat on its face. The Dems have become Eisenhower Republicans. They show no sign that they WANT to be anything other than Eisenhower Republicans. They long ago forgot what it is to be Democrats.

    Previously, progressives had no choice.  The Dem party was the only game in town, and we all had to hold our noses and vote for the bastards whether we liked them or not. It was the only way available for progressives to have any public say.

    That is no longer true.  The Occupy movement has sparked a groundswell of real progressive activism that is NOT based on or dependent upon either political party. When the weather gets nice again and the big Occupy groups up north get active again, we will have the ability to grab BOTH parties by the balls and squeeze until they yelp. We now have alternatives to electing piss-poor politicians just because the other guy is even worse. We can now wield power from the streets. We no longer have to be inside the Dem Party to influence it. We no longer have to beg the Dems to toss us a bone once in a while---we can now demand steaks from them. We no longer have to kiss the Dem party leadership's ass--they have to kiss ours.

    The entire game has changed. It was not the Dem Party that changed it. But the Dem Party had better change WITH it.  

    It's no longer the world it was on Feb 5, 2011. Adapt or die.

  •  What's a "reluctant progressive"? (13+ / 0-)

    Are you speaking strictly about progressives who might be reluctant to vote and campaign for President Obama? As far as voting for President Onama, I don't think there are many "reluctant" progressives on this site, as much as resigned progressives, like myself, who realize we don't have any real alternative. As far as campaigning for President Obama, I admit I don't have the enthusiasm I had in 2008. What I do have enthusiasm for is seeing that Senator Kohl's Senate seat remains in Democratic hands, and that the Wisconsin State Legislature return to Democratic control, and of course see that Scott Walker is defeated in his recall election. You can tell me all the good President Obama has done, but none of it has nearly the impact in a positive sense, as the things Scott Walker has done to me and other Wisconsinites in the negative sense. There is a war going on and it needs to be fought on many fronts. The people who strongly support this president should stop wasting time writing diaries that are better suited for a fanzine, and get to work, because a lot of us won't be there this time around.

    I'm no philosopher, I am no poet, I'm just trying to help you out - Gomez (from the song Hamoa Beach)

    by jhecht on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 10:22:53 AM PST

    •  Don't mix up true progressives with the far left (0+ / 0-)

      T

      •  So clarify please. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        BradyB

        Which are the ones that are in favor of Obama's policy with regard to drone warfare and prosecution of whistle blowers, the far left or true progressives?

        Because whichever one it is, I'm the other one.

        The bourgeoisie had better watch out for me, all throughout this so called nation. We don't want your filthy money, we don't need your innocent bloodshed, we just want to end your world. ~H.R.

        by chipmo on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 01:53:03 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  oh gosh (14+ / 0-)

    got rid of DADT...slowly, but he did it
    turning around a failing economy
    got us out of Iraq
    saved the US auto industry
    increased cafe standards
    consumer protection agency
    2 women appointed to Supreme Court
    got Osama bin Ladin
    saved several Americans caught by Somalis
    improved US standing around the world
    health care act ... not perfect but huge improvement, esp the pre-existing conditions
    got 20 billion from BP
    ...
    I was most pissed about not letting tax cuts for the rich expire, but he horse-traded that for a lot
    ...
    no, he's not perfect, but he is sure a lot better than the repubs

    perhaps I'm not progressive enough, but he's certainly my favorite pol

    www.tapestryofbronze.com

    by chloris creator on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 10:24:58 AM PST

    •  Amen (4+ / 0-)

      I'm sorry but if anyone stays home and doesn't vote the sraight Dem line then they'll have no right to complain when Ginsburg is forced to retire due to bad health and is replaced by Scalia jr, or when offshore drilling is allowed in fragile ecosystems, when environmental policy is driven by the presumption that global warming is a fantasy, when all taxpayer funding for planned parenthood and NPR is withdrawn, when troop withdrawals from Iraq cease, whe rich taxpayers get yet another tax break or any of the other countless things that a Republican prezand Congress can to.   In a nutshell, get your ass to the polls in November and vote for Democrats, or just shut up when the people you helped elect to office by staying home pull shit you don't like.

  •  Decently bombing with drones... (9+ / 0-)

    civilian deaths up again in Afghanistan, use of drones in several countries. Decently ignoring the violence and torture directed towards occupiers. Decently letting wall street criminals...so far...walk, as Bradley Manning was tortured in Federal prison. Decently claiming and using the right to assassinate American citizens overseas without trial...decently backing the NDAA which further erodes civil liberties. "Decent" is not quite the word I would have used.

  •  Even Superman needed some track to stop the train. (11+ / 0-)

    Best quote of this Sunday morning shows came from Xavier Bacera on Obama's progress on reviving the economy:

    In response to Republicans that think the only way Obama could be deemed a success is if economy instantaneously reversed course the day he was elected:

    "Even Superman needed some track to stop the train."

    •  soy (0+ / 0-)

      Ur message to reluctant progressives is a cartoon comic book image?

      I will not send money to, work for, or vote for, any candidate whose behavior benefits the 1% over the 99%. Work for my vote, money and time, or lose it. Not the other way around.

      by Nada Lemming on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 01:39:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  indefinite detention, president ordered killings.. (7+ / 0-)

    of American citizens, drone attacks on miscellaneous countries, domestic surveillance.

    You want us to hold our nose against the stench of the decay of American freedom

  •  Fighting on issues is why Obama doesn't inspire. (5+ / 0-)

    I agree politics has to be about real issues and not personalities. Especially personalities that are directly opposed to one's positions.

    Progressives understand that creating jobs and real economic reform are the only way forward. Yet, Obama says, "Government can't create jobs."

    Progressives understand that US military spending is crushing the rest of the budget, but Obama thinks the entire nation should be modeled after Seal Team 6.

    Progressives like the Bill of Rights just fine, but Obama just declared the entire US a "battlefield" and just took the power to arrest and imprison Americans without any legal process whatsoever.

    Progressives want energy reform, because it's absolutely necessary for the future. But Obama thinks fracking is fan-fracking-tastic! He is also opening up federal lands to oil exploration, including formerly protected areas. They even think drilling in national parks is somehow a great idea.

    Progressives want banking reform. But the Democrats are bought off, so they are running a protection racket within the USG.

    Progressives want an end to the war on drugs, but AG Holder is going after cancer and AIDS patients who need pot to keep up their appetite.

    Progressives want a party that will actually listen to them, but instead are relegated to the supine position of Window Dressing within the Democratic Party.

    Progressives want money out of  politics, but Obama is still raising record amounts from Wall Street, so that one is straight out the window!

    Progressives understand that strengthening the social safety net is better economics and better politics, but Obama wants to slash away at it. He wants to raise the retirement age, while slashing SS and both "Medis". He then wants to give that money to the Pentagon. Or Wall Street.

    That's just the teaser. The fact is, we can support Obama and Democrats if we like. Or not. It won't make one bit of difference in terms of issues. Both parties are wholly owned corporate subsidiaries now and that's the real problem. That's why both parties insist on "austerity" during a depression, even though they all know that will only deepen the economic crisis.

    So support BO and the Democrats all you like. It makes no real difference to anyone whose future is being flushed down the loo. It will make no difference to the millions of people being thrown on the trash heap of despair by corrupt leadership that only cares about how they can make billionaires that much richer.

  •  Given the President's approval among Democrats (2+ / 0-)

    and the way our electoral system is set up--that is, that the winner of the Presidential election is all but guaranteed to be a representative of Wall Street from either the D or the R faction--I'm not sure it's an efficient use of time to try to convince progressives of anything.

    If there's one thing I've learned here at Daily Kos it's that Horse Race politics trumps principles, beliefs, ideology, and facts, whether it's from the D or the R crowd. I think your time would be better spent motivating people in the Tribe to continue or increase their fundraising and GOTV efforts.

  •  It boils down to this in a nutshell: (19+ / 0-)

    Voting for Obama and Democrats means we have a shot at getting the change we need.

    If Republicans win, we get nothing and everything that has happened so far will be swept away and there will be nothing left.

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 10:27:53 AM PST

  •  Agreed completely--as you know (0+ / 0-)

    Ok, so I read the polls.

    by andgarden on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 10:28:33 AM PST

  •  Obama supported Medicare for all? I missed that. (6+ / 0-)

    What the hell is Leonhardt talking about? Getting Obama to say a few nice words about a public option was like pulling teeth.

  •  I'm on board with Armando's (3+ / 0-)

    attitudes towards reason and persuasion. I've commented on Obama's critics' diaries and I've acknowledged the Presidents faults despite the fact that I am getting deeply involved with OFA. I don't actively seek Obama votes because that's what I do anyway for OFA in Florida.

    However, I am more interested in discussing topics and issues on Daily Kos rather than building political support for the President. The only thing that I ask from cynics here is that they understand that I value my campaign work. Regardless of that, I offer my respect towards their criticisms of the President, especially when they are well argued. Since we don't have a primary season, we really should get more into issues in 2012.

    So say we all! Battlestar Galactica (re-imagined version)

    by nerve on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 10:31:13 AM PST

  •  Nothing wrong with lesser-evil voting (5+ / 0-)

    There are circumstances where it's unwise or ethically unsound:

    -When even the lesser evil is beyond what you tolerate

    -When you don't think it matters between the two evils, which one is in charge, e.g. if the more-evil party is only rhetorically more evil

    -When you believe better long-term outcomes are possible by letting in the greater evil (sharpening the contradictions, as some Marxist theorists and even practitioners have argued, e.g. the Red Brigades and some less-deranged people)

    -When you believe the incumbent less-evil party would become more to your liking after a sting in opposition

    I'm sure there are others.  I don't think any of them apply in this case, so of course I'll support Obama.  I'm sure some other diary will give an opportunity to list my complaints about him in the comments.

    But nobody's buying flowers from the flower lady.

    by Rich in PA on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 10:32:00 AM PST

  •  I hope everyone gets your point! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    andgarden

    "Do not fight for pols. Fight for the issues you care about. That often means fighting for a pol of course. But remember, you are fighting for the issues. Not the pols."

    Those who work hard for issues and have something to offer candidates, both incumbents and challengers, are regarded as great catches because they can offer knowledge, credibility, access to issue-specific voters, workers, and/or votes.  And only those pols who are politically tone-deaf will fail to adhere to the causes of these supporters ... unless the supporters demonstrate that they are about the pol first and the issue second!

    I know that you have "forwarded" your message before, but keep on doing it.  And if anyone gets irritated by the repetition, remember that their irritation means that they too are beginning to remember what you're trying to teach them.

  •  SCOTUS -- The next picks determine (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lying eyes, OleHippieChick, Cedwyn

    what will be possible.

    Of anybody running, Obama is the one I would have make those picks.

    ***Be Excellent To One Another***
    IF THEY ARE GOING TO SCREW THE PEOPLE, MAKE THEM OWN IT.

    by potatohead on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 10:32:31 AM PST

  •  "Progressives for Ralph Nader" - worked out well (6+ / 0-)

    So is it going to be Ron Paul this time??

  •  To the Democrats and/or Progressives ... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OleHippieChick, nerve, Cedwyn, imfunnytoo

    who say they would not vote for Obama because he didn't fulfill this particular goal or that -- wake up!  Just as the GOP will not find their mythical knight on a white charger to rescue them from the current batch of misfits, your "ideal' candidate will never be on the ballot.

    Think of it as a multiple-choice test -- "Which of these choices best answers the question?"  If you do not vote with that approach (or do not vote at all), you're ducking the issue.  Given the rational realization that all your ideals will not be met, which candidate will allow the country to progress the most -- Romney, Gingrinch, Paul, Santorum, Obama?  It seems like a no-brainer to me.

    "Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything even remotely true." -- H. Simpson

    by midnight lurker on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 10:32:44 AM PST

    •  It's my perception that (0+ / 0-)

      those on the left who did not vote in 2010 because they were dissatisfied with the direction and (lack of) spine on some issues of the Obama Administration

      unintentionally fostered an election environment that brought in:

      Scott Walker
      John Kasich
      Jan Brewer
      Scott Brown

      And the Freshmen Tea Party Congressional contingent.

      [Rand Paul, et. al. ]

      for that and Scotus...I'm pulling the lever for Obama.  

      Downticket if a third party person is more in line with the issues that matter to me, I'll vote for then...but there are very few of those running, since I have views that don't automatically line up across the board...
      So mostly in the downticket races as well, I'll be voting Democrat[ic]

      A happy holiday without subsidizing the 1% But the coal in their stocking is clean coal!

      by imfunnytoo on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 12:28:47 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Why Not Obama (3+ / 0-)

    1. If Obama is reelected, the elections in 2014 are likely to make 2010 look good by comparison. The election 6 years after a change in the party of the President is usually a landslide for the "Out" party. See 1938, 1958, 1966, 1974, 1986, and 2006. The only counter-example is 1998, when the Republicans vastly overplayed their hand on the Lewinsky scandal, and the economy was in great shape.

    2. Basically the major parties split time in the Presidency. Over the last 72 years, each party has held the Presidency for 36 years. Obama's defeat would make it more likely that the Democratic candidate will win in 2016 or 2020; if Obama wins, there is every likelihood that the Republicans will win both of those elections.

    3. Obama's reelection will validate the argument that the way a Democrat gets elected is by distancing himself from the party's base for three years, appealing for a non-existent bipartisan consensus, and Democrats are too stupid to punish him for his faithlessness.

    4. If you keep voting for the lesser of two evils, you're going to get a greater evil half the time, and a lesser evil the other half. If you stop voting for the lesser evil you might, just might, finally get somebody good, after the voters get sick of 4 or 8 years of Republican rule. Isn't that a better alternative?

    •  Point 4 doesn't hold up to history (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sam I Am, Diebold Hacker

      Here is the model for how governments transform into autocracies.

      1. A determined minority makes governing nearly impossible
      2.  Repeated attempts to solve the problems by normal power transfer still leave the country deadlocked.
      3.  Somebody from that minority is given executive power, usually emergency power to get past the current crisis
      4.  The newly empowered minority changes the rules so it can never be replaced.

      See Italy in the 20s, Germany in the 30s, Rome at the end of the republic, Russia in 1918 (after the fall of the Tsar, but before Lenin took power)   See also most of the nationalist movements in former colonial societies in the 20th century - if they didn't start out as being run by a thug, it often didn't take long.

      It doesn't always happen, but a very typical response to "letting the worst evil take power" is that the evil will end whatever process of peaceful power transfer put them into power.   So you never get to the "and people wake up and vote in the good guys" part.

  •  I am totally on page with you on everything (4+ / 0-)

    And thank you especially for the civil rights passage. It is the most disappointing area. How hard would it have been to stamp a veto on the NDA and say, "Now, go strip out that amendment so I can cut a check for our troops."

    The Republicans voted down the NDA three times in 2010 and ultimately never passed the bill at all! "Voting against the troops" didn't hurt them in midterms did it?

    But you make good arguments on other issues. And of course the Republican alternative would be a nightmare.

    The LGBT constituency has probably benefited more than anyone. I would argue the eight years of George W. Bush gridlocked a lot of progress that created a mearly inevitable federal cascade. But Obama has certainly turned a corner from his initially reluctance to engage and proven himself an excellent ally there.

    Besides we now have to make sure to keep indefinite detention authority out of the hands of a GOP President, in perpetuity...

  •  Obama is much more progressive than Clinton (6+ / 0-)

    Clinton sold progressives down the river on a number of issues, from NAFTA to DADT to DOMA to the repeal of Glass-Steagall to Welfare "reform", etc, etc, etc. Hell, I don't recall anything especially progressive Clinton did. Can someone refresh my memory?

    President Obama hasn't scored with a slam dunk every time and he's not the best player, but at least he's playing on the same team as progressives. I don't the comparison with Clinton at all. If Clinton is center left then President Obama must be to the far left of him.

    "To the People (aka the 99%): Our only demand is an invitation: Join Us!" -- Occupy Oakland Demands 10/13/2011

    by mic check oakland on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 10:34:04 AM PST

    •  Clinton started extraordinary rendition (4+ / 0-)

      and indefinite detention without trial. And warrantless wiretaps on American citizens.

      Oh wait--you asked for something PROGRESSIVE that Clinton did . . . .

      Sorry, can't think of anything offhand.

      •  I know! (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Jeff Simpson, wu ming

        Yet the same liberal Democrats that came away supporting him overwhelmingly are the one's chucking tomatoes at President Obama for passing healthcare reform where Clinton failed, for repealing DADT and ending the defense of DOMA, and for repairing some of the damage caused by the odious Financial Moderization Act of 2000.

        Obama can do a lot better, but there is no doubt that he has stood stronger against a Republican majority than Clinton who did nothing but bluster (and then fold faster than Superman on laundry day).

        "To the People (aka the 99%): Our only demand is an invitation: Join Us!" -- Occupy Oakland Demands 10/13/2011

        by mic check oakland on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 11:01:28 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Exactly. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dallasdoc

        Muslims overwhelmingly supported Bush because Bush promised (at least to muslims) that he would get rid of this program. And we got further screwed by Patirot act. Then muslims overwhelming supported Obama because he was against Patriot act, and was for closing gitmo etc, and we got NDAA.

        So we are done with both parties, and many I know would stay home or vote third party.

    •  The 2008 electorate (0+ / 0-)

      was 12-16 years on and a lot more liberal- about 12-16% more were post-1968 culturally- than the electorate 1992/96.  The fairest way to measure the two is by comparing their accomplishment to what their electorates were willing to permit.

      Though culturally liberal numbers keep on growing, as we close in on the tipping point in the electorate (happening around 2018) the culturally pre-1968 siding parts of the electorate respond by becoming more desperate and fervent.  And they discover, or are finally willing to employ, the arguments that get at the latent conservatisms that many soft liberals and Democrats and Dem leaners still harbor.

      Both things are well illustrated by the Obama Administration- the pressures of a country slowly and irresistably shifting the left/liberal way, yet the success of conservative appeals to grant their side the benefit of the doubt in all things in the here and now.

  •  I am sick of narcissistic so-called progressives (20+ / 0-)

    complaining about the President.  Its all "well he didn't work hard enough for my pet project so he's the same at a Republican" - its nonsense.  The president is not a dictator.  He can not wave his magic wand and make things happen.  It has taken 30 years of GOP obfuscation and manipulation of public opinion to get us into this mess.  
    President Obama is a student of history - he got into a lot of trouble with these same progressives when he cited Ronald Reagan as an example of a president who changed the course of our country - they went apoplectic.  He was not praising Reagan's politics he was praising his ability to get things done on the long view.  
    He is trying to change the course of our country away from the one its been on for 30 years - away from "trickle down economics".   Progressives often wear their passion like a badge of honor and are willing to let those who are not pure enough go down in flames.  Its a destructive mind set.  

  •  I don't agree with Obama on everything (15+ / 0-)

    But the only person I agree with on everything is myself, and I'm not running.

    This isn't a "lesser of two evils" scenario. It's a guy I agree with 90% or more of the time versus a guy I don't agree with on anything. Which one to support is a no brainer. There's no such thing as a perfect candidate. There never will be.

    You don't have to ask me twice to support Obama. I just got back inside from putting the Obama bumper sticker that finally arrived in the mail on my car, and I just ordered a few more for my family and threw in an extra 20 dollar donation.  I'm all in for 2012!

    BTW, whoever at the Obama campaign had the idea to let you tack on extra money for a donation on the checkout page when purchasing merch is a genius. I bet they're going to get a lot of people donating a few dollars when buying stuff just for the sake of getting to a nice, round number to make balancing their checkbooks easier.

    TEABAGGER: Totally Enraged About Blacks And Gays Getting Equal Rights

    by yg17 on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 10:35:49 AM PST

  •  Ur pic is the reason. Scotus. If nothing else. nt (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    stonedoubt

    "Say little; do much." (Pirkei Avot: 1:15)

    by hester on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 10:35:54 AM PST

  •  It's those thing you label his "perspective" (4+ / 0-)

    on executive power that are the sticking point for me.  I've had frustrations and disappointments (as well as some appreciation and pride) with many of his decisions on who to hire or how to conduct his interactions with congressional Republicans, what legislation to fight for or what regulations to create, etc.  But that's par for the course.  I don't expect any president to satisfy my every want.

    But there are things he has done unilaterally, as assertions of executive power, like expanding the surveillance state, selectively prosecuting those who revealed government wrongdoing whilst refusing to prosecute the wrongdoers exposed, squelching judicial relief for wrongs done to individuals in the name of state secrets, elaborating on Bush's multi-tiered system of justice including indefinite detainment without charge, engaging in assassinations and using secret law and secret evidence as justification for them and so on.

    And the question I have to answer for myself is "am I willing to make myself part of this evil by voting for the person who did this."

    I won't pretend I'm a virgin when it comes to making myself part of evil.  But as of today at least, I really don't know if I can do it this time.  Sure, one can argue that by sitting the presidential race out or writing in Bernie Sanders or whatever, I'm effectively casting a half a vote for the Republican who will unquestionably be much worse.  But I'm not at all convinced moral arithmetic works that way, that one can truly be forced by outside circumstances to put a stain on one's soul, and the only question is how bad is it to be.

    With all this manure around, there must be a pony in here somewhere. - Count Piotr Vorkosigan

    by jrooth on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 10:36:23 AM PST

  •  the majorty who voted for Obama were center left. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OleHippieChick, Cedwyn

    I am along time Democrat and voted for Obama because he was pragmatic,  and along term thinker. He is a center left, While the Clintons, both Bill and Hillary, are both square in the center and more conservative than Obama. Obama NEVER promised a public option in health care reform when he ran for president as he knew the majority would not go for it. Change happens with compromise and the far left needs to understand that no one wants all that they want.

    I still find it hard to understand those magical thinkers who some how saw Obama if this leftist light. Obama has done well considering what was handed him, the lose of the House in 2010 because those magical thinkers did not vote.

    He is a great president with good character, and I hope the far left does not do what it has done many times in the past ...not vote because they did not everything they wanted

  •  I want that on my (very big) bumper sticker (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jrooth
    I won't pretend I'm a virgin when it comes to making myself part of evil.

    Or maybe a sig file.

    But nobody's buying flowers from the flower lady.

    by Rich in PA on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 10:38:57 AM PST

  •  so, in other words, any Democrat (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BigAlinWashSt, temptxan, blueoasis

    and if we had primaried the President the winner of the primary would have been in a weaker position, thus we're back to the only choice being President Obama.

    We still have the problem of active support. I can't go door to door if I have any misgivings. I would hurt the President's chances if I doubted him (which I do). So those of you who make those lists or refer to those lists of the great accomplishments, you'll have to do that work. You'll have to get on the telephone, you'll have to knock on doors. You'll have to find replacements to help you.

  •  I expected a Clinton-esque Centrist in Obama. (3+ / 0-)

    And in that regard, I am not disappointed.

    Did I want a more progressive proposal for health insurance reform (i.e. Medicare for All), a serious re-evaluation of the provisions of the Patriot Act, and the closure of the Guantanamo Bay detention camp?  Yes.  Am I surprised that these did not happen, given the current D.C. climate?  No.

    My point is, we probably couldn't have elected Dennis Kucininch (or Bernie Sanders) as president.  So, we at least (re-)elect a president who, with the support of Congress, can be swayed to the left on key issues and make the judicial appointments that benefit our issues in the long-term.

    However, Obama cannot (and will not) do this alone.  We need to take back the House and strengthen the Senate with more progressive voices.

    "What's next?" - President Josiah Bartlet, The West Wing

    by shaf on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 10:42:32 AM PST

  •  climate change (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OleHippieChick, Lawrence, mightymouse
    It's one thing to be fighting for better policies on climate change and another to be fighting just to make people understand that we need policies on climate change. We can remind President Obama that he's right and therefore needs to do right. With a Perry or a Romney or any of the second tier Republican candidates we would be back to the square one of having to correct one of the most fundamental wrongs. Climate change is about the science, and the Republicans don't accept the science. The politics of climate change begins with framing. And with President Obama we are in a paradigm where science exists, is valued, and is understood. With Republicans we are in a paradigm where science doesn't exist.

    http://www.dailykos.com/...

    The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

    by Laurence Lewis on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 10:44:34 AM PST

  •  I'm not sure how a progressive (2+ / 0-)

    ...supports a President that believes it's constitutional to assassinate American citizens without any type of due process. This is a more extreme act of executive power than Bush ever tried to exert.

    That should Exhibit A in the case of not backing the current administration.

    The higher that the monkey can climb, the more he shows his tail.

    by Age of Quarrel on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 10:44:51 AM PST

  •  Having Lived This Argument 35 Continuous Years, (7+ / 0-)

    I won't oppose his re-election.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 10:45:42 AM PST

  •  I'm not lukewarm. (6+ / 0-)

    I have disagreed with President Obama on any number of issues, and he's not been as progressive as I'd have liked. But I think he remains the best president of my lifetime, facing the toughest economic and political challenges in an atmosphere that has seldom been more rancorous.
    And he's black, in a white-man's club, always other for too many Americans.

    Yet he ended DADT (not soon enough), instituted health care reform (not far enough), set up financial reform (not enough, not yet), ended one of our Endless Wars (too few), and so on. In three years.

    I am not lukewarm. I am scalding-hot-all-in, and I eagerly anticipate the next five years.

    Dear Ayn Rand fans: Please, would each of you just go all John Galt, immediately? Thank you.

    by CitizenJoe on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 10:45:43 AM PST

  •  Think you're giving Foreign Policy the short (9+ / 0-)

    stick here.  We spend a trillion per year on defense, intelligence and national security in the elite's quest for world empire.  That doesn't stop, nothing else can improve sufficiently, and it destroys countries and kills people.  In analyzing that issue, I find that the Obama administration has followed the same basic world hegemony goals as formalized under Bush.  That is an unacceptable approach to that extremely important issue imo.  I'm waiting to see what this administration's response to the current dangerous situation in the Middle East and how it handles the significiant pushback many countries are now giving the U.S., Israel and NATO.

  •  I reluctantly will vote for President Obama. I (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chuckvw, BigAlinWashSt

    have grave concerns with this administrations stance on issues including but not limited to the unitary executive (see ACTA), indefinite detentions, increased use of drones, increased grants from homeland security to militarize our police. He is the lesser of two evils so that will get my vote.

    Never kick a fresh turd on a hot day. Harry Truman

    by temptxan on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 10:51:07 AM PST

  •  Well, site rules preclude certain speech (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BigAlinWashSt, Nada Lemming

    on the site, so I can't rebut anything you said, if I wanted to.

    Why Obama? An argument to reluctant progressives for supporting the president's reelection

    We delivered. They failed us. We have moved on. (h/t to my good friend)

    by gooderservice on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 10:51:56 AM PST

  •  As someone already relying on the ACA... (5+ / 0-)

    I think that it is a vital issue. More needs to be done, yes, but the advances to health policy that it's already made are vital to preserve. The trap is to throw out "good" because we're waiting for "perfect." No one will see "perfect" in our lifetime.

    "Mitt Romney isn't a vulture capitalist: vultures only eat things that are dead." -S. Colbert

    by newinfluence on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 10:54:20 AM PST

  •  As the social studies teacher (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chuckvw, blueoasis, pfiore8

    a solid old school Democrat who lives next door said  regarding voting for Obama again 'what choice do I have....'. He loathes this administrations education policy. He disagrees with The Third Way, 'centrist' Democrat's on most everything issue  but he doesn't  not want the lunatic hardliners to win. Yes it would be worse if the Democrat's lose. Keeping the wolves from the door has it merits.

    How to get our party to represent the people and our law is a whole other issue. I think most people are fully aware that while they have no real choice they need to be able to survive to fight another day.  That said I would like to be able to read about something other then how scary the Republicans are and not be told constantly that two legs are better or that this is what democracy looks like.      

  •  No reluctance (4+ / 0-)

    I will fill in the circle and lick the stamp...

    ...but as someone who has spent most of a long life doing his small part to end criminal wars and to protect and expand the rights and dignity of all humans, I am not obliged to overlook the lazy betrayal of so much for which we fought.

    If only donkeys could have elephant balls... Occupy!

    by chuckvw on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 10:55:42 AM PST

  •  Like many people that voted for Obama ... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OleHippieChick, Fredamae

    I am somewhat disappointed.  I do realize the intense opposition, but am disappointed anyway.

    However there are many cases where politicians have done their best work when they were not facing reelection.  For a current example look at Bloomberg in NY City.  If Obama wins in Nov he will have four years to do his best work.

    "The right to be heard does not automatically include the right to be taken seriously." -- Hubert H. Humphrey

    by Candide08 on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 10:55:54 AM PST

  •  In Matters of Civil Liberties Obama gets a "D-" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chuckvw

    I think the author is correct over-all and I AM supporting this Presidents re-election.  I especially agree that Obama as Pres is really not that much different than Candidate Obama said he would be.  I saw "red flags" but the majority of my fellow Dems disagreed with the few who argued for awareness of those red flags.  I got on board post Primary and helped him get elected.  I was not exactly comfy with Clinton either btw.
    It's his positions on NDAA, Plan B, Extension of the Bush tax cuts, His tardiness on DADT, Medical Cannabis;really the destructive nature of the WoD's in general and etc's-He has selectively and Egregiously Ignored Science imho.

    •  Such bull, best civil liberties in a long time (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Luschnig

      YOu  do not seem to undestand waht teh president  can do vs congress.

      1. DADT got done and he did it in slow reasoned manner with military involvement, so it would last.

      2. He has been Very Good on woman's  civil liberties when it come to reproductive choice, and has picked the right battles. He ahs stood up strongly for contraception coverage in health care.

      3. Bush TAX extensions =congress, and ahs Noting to so with civil liberties.

      4. Frankly I think the so-called medical cannabis should be more highy regulated or shut down. In CA they are just legal ways to sell pot to under age teens who have NO medical conditions at all.

      •  When the Pres finally decided to "bring it" (0+ / 0-)

        to the people I believe he was "tardy".  I personally believe he should have "brought it to Us" 3 Years ago-the handwriting was already on the wall when when McConnell clearly stated What the RW agenda was (one term president is the #1 Mission) and it did Not include working With Obama.
        I agree with you mostly on your assessment of those things he does support under the heading of "civil liberties", but as the author points out: He Missed his Opportunity to be Great by including All Liberties, not departmentalizing them.

        I do understand the obstruction in Congress and nothing pisses me off More than when the Excuse of "The Dems Had Control Of Congress for 2 years and did nothing" is used. It is in fact a Lie. The Senate Minority has definitely called the shots in the Senate via the Filibuster.

        Most everyone should understand the House passed over 300 Bills, many of which would have dramatically Improved the economy by now, only to be Filibustered in the Senate by Obstructionist RWNJ's in Record and Historical numbers (Over 200 times since 2006)-However,
        I do not fully understand what Executive Powers the Pres Could have used in the manner he now does.  Why did he wait to get tough, directed with purpose and accept the reality we all understood years ago AND TOLD HIM ABOUT: THE REPUBS WILL NOT WORK AND COMPROMISE IN A BI-PARTISAN MANNER!

        As far as Medical Cannabis, Science and stats disagree with you.  Kids in states where Cannabis Is legal for Medical use have and are Losing interest as it is "old peoples medicine".  If you want to know where its Easiest Now and long before any states passed MedCanna laws, to find it-It is the school yards, but it is the Cartels who recruit these kids by offering them Money to sell their drugs. The "it's for the kids" argument is bs. (no offense)
        Cannabis is a plant (Phytomedicine) that is used in its natural form-it is not a drug. Thats Why BigPHRMA ain't allowed to sell it.  We already have plenty of "regulation" of the Human Body and what an individual chooses to put in it already.

  •  I Think That This Summs It All Up! (4+ / 0-)

    But, when it comes to voting, when we only have two choices, you've got to grow up and realize there's a big difference between a disappointing friend and a deadly enemy   Bill Maher

    Conviction Is Worthless Unless It Is Converted Into Conduct! Thomas Carlyle

    by rduckham on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 10:57:26 AM PST

  •  Can't blame Obama for Worst Congress Ever! (5+ / 0-)

    I for one don't blame him too much for things not getting done. He is like the kid that went up for his time "at bat" and the other kids just took the ball and went home. No other president had this level of bullshit from Congress to deal with. I mean Bush Sr. had his legislative doldrums from a Democratic House. And Clinton had to fight publicly to get any legislation on the floor. But for President Obama it was a full court press to stop government from doing anything for three years. How can you get anywhere with that level of stupidity in Congress?

    Given a normal Congress he might have gotten more done. But this one kept calling him anything but President.

    "I think it's the duty of the comedian to find out where the line is drawn and cross it deliberately." -- George Carlin, Satirical Comic,(1937-2008)

    by Wynter on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 10:58:31 AM PST

  •  Progressives are not Obama's 2012 problem. (8+ / 0-)

    Obama enthusiasts always seem to miss the point and target liberals and progressives as "the problem" when it is moderate and independent voters who are Obama's biggest problem and why he is under 50% in approval ratings.   Obama's campaign has the same problem dating to its attack on "professional leftists" during the health reform debate. What Obama campaigners, professional and otherwise, forget is that independents and moderates also wanted a Public Option to get free of the insurance industry that is killing them, bankrupting them and taking their jobs as it sucks up 20% of US economic resources.

    The 2010 elections were largely about no public option, no real health care reform after promises of public option.  Independents and moderates, former Obama voters turned out Democrats in response to Obama and Democrats not voting in public option.

    The same dynamic is true on other big issues. Wall St reform is another example where the Tea Party and Occupy Wall St agree that nothing was done to reform Wall St, nothing was done to prosecute Wall St and nothing was done to make Wall St help the millions of Americans who were defrauded of their homes and savings.  That Obama is still floundering around on the Wall St issue in 2012 is a perfect example.  Only the push by Democratic state AG's forced his hand. Even then Obama's guy doesn't even show up at the meeting.  All this documented on DKOS.

    The list continues to just about every issue, Bush tax cuts, energy/oil/climate with Obama admin's horrible handling of BP Gulf disaster, fracking, offshore drilling.  

    Obama's problem is he made differences between himself and Romney small.  On health care, Obama claims he and Romney are one. Despite that, liberals and progressives are a pragmatic lot. We know that Obama is marginally better than Romney. Despite the dishonesty and incompetence to fix nation's problems, we'll vote for Obama.

    Bottom line is Obama enthusiasts better start focusing on Obama's real problem demographic of independents and moderates and stop with the bashing of liberals and progressives.  If Obama loses in 2012 it will be because independents and moderates feel as betrayed and disillusioned with Obama as progressives but unlike progressives, they will not vote for him again.

  •  Move your focus from the POTUS (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SteelMohawk, mightymouse

    Presidential politics is a game progressives just can't win. Nor, thank goodness, can those on the extreme right. Not that I think progressives are as extreme as the teabaggers...just that we are extremely dangerous specifically to those moneyed interests that have outsized influence in presidential politics.

    If we spend all our time fretting over the fact that Obama didn't live up to the promises he made (and don't tell me he has) we'll miss the fact that NO president under current conditions could be truly progressive.

    We can choose one of two guys. One will disappoint us, the other will crush us. So focus on changing the game. Occupy shit. Scream at the DNC, DCCC and DSCC when they call for more money or time. Run for Congress or recruit a progressive who will.

    Attack campaign finance in your state. State politics are cheap, but really effective. It's a weak spot in our system we can exploit. The failure of California to pass single payer was a HUGE political blow that wasn't much more than a blip around here compared to news of Romney, Newt and the gang of dumbshits running to challenge Obama.

    Obama is not our problem. He's mostly a symptom and the only cure for that symptom is suicide.

    •  My thoughts exactly (0+ / 0-)

      I will also add that if your state's (district in my case) doesn't have a progressive voice, try to get some dems to some progressive meetings, or at least support candidates running for seats in congress or the senate (which is what I have to do at that level).   You have to get progressives numerous enough for others to see who they are really fighting for.

  •  But this would be sane. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nada Lemming, mightymouse
    But let's abandon the Obama-centric approach and focus instead on the issues.

    If religion means a way of life, and life's necessities are food, clothing, and shelter, then we should not separate religion from economics. - Malcolm X

    by dirkster42 on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 11:04:16 AM PST

  •  4 decades of regression, (2+ / 0-)

    if a Republican is appointing Supreme Court justices over the next four years.  It is worth giving away everything else, because nothing else lasts nearly that long.

    So I see only tatters of clearness through a pervading obscurity - Annie Dillard -6.88, -5.33

    by illinifan17 on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 11:04:45 AM PST

  •  I guess I just don't understand (9+ / 0-)

    Maybe it has something to do with growing up poor in rural Mississippi.  Or maybe it has something to do with being an Old Redneck.

    But I don't understand something and maybe one of my fellow Kossacks can explain it to me:  WHY IN GOD'S NAME DO "RELUCTANT PROGRESSIVES" NOT UNDERSTAND THAT, FOLLOWING THE 2012 ELECTION, PRESIDENT OBAMA WILL BE THE ONLY THING STANDING BETWEEN THIS NATION AND A RETURN TO THE 19TH CENTURY???

    Republicans control the House and likely will retain that control.  They stand an excellent chance of picking up the Senate.  Do "reluctant progressives" suggest we let them have the White House, too?

    Exactly WTF do "reluctant progressives" propose as an alternative to President Obama?

    •  If that's true then it is back to the 19th (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LaEscapee, blueoasis

      century.  Because electing him sure won't stop it.

      An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

      by don mikulecky on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 11:13:23 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  It's a purity thing. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Andrew F Cockburn

      I see it especially in the same crowd inclined to support Ron Paul.  They get their one pet issue ("indefinite detention" is frequently trotted out) and, when the person in question fails their litmus test, it becomes easier to oppose rather than to support.  A lot of younger Democrats (30ish and younger, of which I count myself) don't have a personal memory of the Clinton years and don't realize that being in opposition is a whole lot "easier" morally than being in power.  The opposition can state the ideal that they would pursue - but once you're actually in power, all of a sudden you're the one making the sausage, and it sure ain't pretty.

      Frankly, a lot of people on this site don't realize that you cannot win 100% of the time in politics.  Sometimes you lose.  Sometimes you find yourself enacting policies that your base doesn't support, perhaps because you don't agree with your base, or often because, such as national security issues, a practical calculus that you simply can't fight the general public's staunchly pro-military opinions; sometimes the opposition simply gets you over a barrel.  "Death panels" is an excellent example of that - no amount of messaging or PR was going to save Obama at that point, given how the media so slavishly reported the claim without challenge.  I'm surprised that he overcame that at all, even if the resulting PPACA is watered down by progressive standards.  I'll take weak tea over dying of thirst, which was where that death panels nonsense was going to lead us.

      Obama may be the first time that I've been an adult and seen a Democrat in office but I at least gave myself the opportunity before the election to realize that it's not all rainbows and unicorns, that it's one thing to say what you would do if you were the Emperor of Rome, it's another thing to be able to actually do it within the limits the Constitution places on our small-"r" republican form of government.

      "What Washington needs is adult supervision" - Barack Obama

      by auron renouille on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 11:43:09 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Way to go (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      worldlotus

      Old Redneck

  •  look at Obama's diverse cabinet (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    worldlotus

    When I watched the State of the Union and watched the cabinet members walk in , I noticed for the first time, how youthful and diverse his cabinet was. Obama has surrounded himself with brilliant, progressive, diverse staff with the experience needed for their jobs.

    Complainers, if you want change, you must get involved the grassroots and actually do something.
    And you must also realize you will not get everything you want. Just like in life to succeed you must compromise.

  •  Just in time for this post (3+ / 0-)
    Add to that the appointment of judges at the appellate and trial level, for many, if not most, progressives, I would hope that this issue alone could persuade regarding the urgency of supporting the president's reelection.

    A WAPO article on Obama's selections to the judiciary:

    Obama judges narrowing Republican edge on federal bench; shift seen on several appeals courts.

    As you and this article note, it isnt just SCOTUS picks, as important as those are. SCOTUS takes relatively few cases. Obama, despite obstruction and his own slow start, has had an impact on the district and appellate courts, and could continue to do so in a second term.

  •  Great post than you (0+ / 0-)

    But of course, as we see in the comment section, there is a big difference between a reluctant progressive and an obstinate progressive.

  •  I disagree with your assessment (3+ / 0-)

    of the President's performance as decent but not great. And with your characterization of some of the issues.

    However, I appreciate you showing that, even from a critical point of view, the balance of the scale is overwhelmingly Obama's.

    One other thing, closely tied to the judiciary, is that Obama advocates a small-l, small-d liberal democracy, not a theocratic oligarchy.

    I understand you focused on issues, but I would also point to personal qualities such as intelligence, temperament, work ethic, character, and role modeling as worthy of some consideration in selecting a POTUS as well.

    I will enthusiastically support Obama and Democrats this year. The alternative is too awful to contemplate.

    "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them...well, I have others." --Groucho Marx

    by Dragon5616 on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 11:09:21 AM PST

  •  What Obama has proved (again) to me (4+ / 0-)

    is that the time and effort we spend electing people is wasted.  We need to be building a movement that will last and help us survive the coming crisis.  Wasting more time and resources on elections is buying into the 1% game plan.  You will keep them in power by electing Obama.

    An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

    by don mikulecky on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 11:09:54 AM PST

  •  Armando, it's a relief to hear this expressed so (3+ / 0-)

    clearly:

    First, let me tell you where I stand with regard to President Obama's term so far: he's been a decent president who missed a chance to be great. His misreading of the politics and political bargaining, his reluctance to reshape the financial system, and his tardiness on fighting for fairness, meant that the real chances for transformative change were missed.

    You put into words exactly what I feel.  I will of course vote for him--think of the alternative, ugh--but I'll do with regret.  I wanted FDR or LBJ, but we got...Carter.

    "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

    by Diana in NoVa on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 11:12:00 AM PST

  •  The issue most damning for many (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    worldlotus

    here is Obama's willingness to surveille, outside of constitutional authority.
    Obama is a lifelone lover of our constitution. It was his focus in school. What he is doing is out of character, to say the least.
    What I think many ignore in what seems like an over excited condemnation of our president, is that he is privy to information that none of us will ever know.
    We spent 8 years under Bush hearing that argument, and it became a joke. But, reality and logic tells us, it's still very true.
    There have been many thwarted terror plots in the US in the last 3 years, that we've heard of. Can't we easily jump to the conclusion that it's just that surveillance that's exposed those plots?
    We live in an age of loose nukes, which was one of Obama's leading priorities as a Senator. The possibility of a terror group getting their hands on one is unimaginable.
    And, it is VERY likely that there are terror groups in the world who are attempting to do just that.
    Like I said, these recent policies are unexpected coming from the President.  I just think we need to give him the benefit of the doubt and know that it's truly in our best interest. At least it's in the open. We know this is happening. That's what makes our country great.
    I am sick of reading about how Obama's policies are fascism in the making. Do you suupose fascist states do these things by announcing them and signing a bill supporting them?

  •  My sig line (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    andgarden

    says it all for me.

    It's the Supreme Court, stupid!

    by Radiowalla on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 11:13:14 AM PST

  •  I don't need (0+ / 0-)

    to be persuaded.

    I really, really don't.

    Read my stuff at burn after writing and The Huffington Post @indiemcemopants on Twitter

    by indiemcemopants on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 11:13:25 AM PST

  •  Am I the only one (7+ / 0-)

    who likes Obama more as President than as a candidate?  

    And I am the only one who's not disappointed in him?  That's not to say I agree with everything he's done or that I'm happy with everything he's done.  But I think he's done a damn good job as President.  

    Check out my new blog: http://socalliberal.wordpress.com/

    by SoCalLiberal on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 11:15:34 AM PST

  •  More whining (1+ / 1-)
    Recommended by:
    v2aggie2
    Hidden by:
    LeftOverAmerica

    heh.

  •  Because (0+ / 0-)

    . . . . we need continuous Democratic control of the White House until such point as there is a comfortable reality-based majority on the Supreme Court
    . . . . the Republicans will push us back into recession with their policies
    . . . . this administration has made the strongest case for fairness in economic policy of any administration since Lyndon Johnson
    . . . . The Republicans are not fit to govern the country in their current condition and need years in the wilderness to even begin to figure out why they have lost their way

    I think that list is pretty compelling right there.

  •  but (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueoasis, Orange County Liberal
    At least with regard to the political narrative, President Obama carries the banner for addressing climate change and for protecting the environment.

    He doesn't mention climate change.

    This is a problem, because we need a motivated populace for us to take it on.

    An ambulance can only go so fast - Neil Young

    by mightymouse on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 11:20:22 AM PST

  •  If Obama loses, he'll be the first sitting Pres... (3+ / 0-)

    ...to seek reelection and fail who has not received a major primary challenge since Herbert Hoover.

    This isn't because primary challengers make Presidents lose.  It's because they serve as canaries in the political coal mine.  They indicate that substantial parts of a President's party are revolting against him.

    That was true for the Democrats in '68 and '80.  It was true for the GOP in '76 and '92.

    Despite the (justified IMO) grousing about Obama's performance, no serious primary challenge emerged or came close to emerging.  Democrats and Democratic-leaning Independents are substantially behind Obama, though getting them motivated may be an issue.

    Tunis...Cairo...Tripoli...Wall Street

    by GreenSooner on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 11:25:45 AM PST

  •  A lot (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    worldlotus

    Of the problems of Obama's presidency have resided with intransigent "Democrats" in Congress. That is not to absolve any of the bad decisions made by Obama himself and/or his administration (NDAA for example, trying to "Grand Bargain" away things we care about, focus on the deficit, etc).

    However, if in 2009/2010, Obama had not had people in Congress like Ben Nelson, or Joe Lieberman or the Blue Dog Caucus, what are the chances we'd have some at least slightly better legislation than we got?

    I'm not saying a couple handfuls of Congresscritters are the ONLY reason we've gotten what we've gotten, but the "What if?" on if the Progressive Caucus were the dominant force in Congress versus the Blue Dog one...well...yeah.

    I won't hide from the fact I called for primary challenges to the President last year, because I felt he needed an incentive to move left. Although not perfect or complete, it seems that Occupy Wall Street kind of pushed him in that direction. That, coupled with John Boehner being more or less incompetent as a Speaker in keeping his caucus together on anything but the most ludicrous of bills, I think have pushed Obama in the right direction.

    I am intrigued to wonder what happens in Obama Term 2, if he gets another Democratic House and holds the Senate as well. Maybe it would at least set the stage for a good record to run ON in 2016 as opposed to having to run AWAY from it, hm?

    Like I told friends of mine last night; I'm supporting him again this year because every other challenger of his is quite literally insane. We're not having any real debates about policies, so I might as well continue to support the guy right now who is nominally on my side of the aisle, most of the time, versus any of the remaining charlatans who have proven they don't give a flying fuck about me or my family.

  •  And what has happened at the administrative level? (2+ / 0-)

    I agree the biggest issue is the courts--federal judges sit for life and their impact will be felt for generations--not just the Supreme Court, but the lower courts too. But another big area of change has been at the administrative level. I don't have the time, but I would love to see a careful analysis of what has happened in Rules and Regulations which now make up so much of our governing law. I know there are mercury emission limits for the first time, that there are significantly increased fuel efficiency standards, that consumer regulations have improved, etc.  We often forget about how central these regulations are to everyday life (OSHA standards anyone?) and it is an area that has not had to have the careful political maneuvering around Senate rules that require a super majority to get anything done and the political theater that  all of Congress has become. I think such a careful evaluation of regulation would demonstrate a sea change from the Bush era.

  •  Is this an argument... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TJ

    ...for the president's reelection ?

    Actually, I am kind of depressed after reading the diary! It just reminded me of what "could have been" if President Obama did not squander lost opportunities.

    I for sure will vote for him, but I'm not working hard for his election as I did last time.

    He has been a good or fair president. But I keep on thinking of how he squandered his first two years...

  •  A fair summation but please lose "Fairness Issue" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Orange County Liberal, tardis10

    you have inadevertently stepped into one of my pet peeves.
    That is your use of the phrase "The Fairness Issue".  Ugh, please do not use this phrase for the earliest days of triangulating centrism.

    Back in the 80's as America was being hollowed out and deindustrialized, the precursors of the DLC who wanted to condescendingly refer to issues of concern to what had hitherto been the base of the party lumped them together as the "fairness issue".  This was the rubric under which the labor movement, the civil rights movement, etc. were now thrown.  Much less interesting and sexy, they thought, than entrepreneuriialism, than civil liberties, than the environment than social liberalism.  Just one issue among many and far from the most important.

    Every time I heard "Fairness Issue" I wanted to puke.  These clowns were saying the base of the party no longer mattered.

    Please find another phrase to describe what you're talking about here.

    Otherwise a fair summation.

    sTiVo's rule: Just because YOU "wouldn't put it past 'em" doesn't prove that THEY did it.

    by stivo on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 11:34:54 AM PST

  •  As a gay, disabled Vietnam veteran (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dannyinla, Kitty, worldlotus

    who served honorably and as one who is dedicated to the re-election of the president, I implore everyone to GOTV for President Obama.  My belief is that he will respond in a more Progressive/Liberal way aftter the election is over.  As of now, he has accomplished so much of what he promised, especially with regard to veterans.  The VA has improved immeasurably since this president came into office.  And as a gay veteran I can tell you President Obama is widely respected and appreciated by so many veterans who believe in equality and fairness.  We veterans served so that everyone would be treated equally.  President Obama is a gem.

  •  Remember when (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sam I Am, worldlotus

    Remember where we were as a country back on January 20, 2009?  The country was on edge as many were talking about the real possibility of a complete economic meltdown and another Great Depression. The aftermath of Katrina was still fresh in our thoughts.  A decade of politics of fear and politically convenient terror warnings had left us shell-shocked with constant terror on our minds.  We remained in the midst of two wars, both of which were overextended and extraordinarily mismanaged.

    The previous administration had left office with the country shedding 750,000 jobs a month, a massive deficit, a policy of torture, the American auto industry about to collapse, millions of homes foreclosed, tens of millions without access to health care, a politicized Department of Justice, FEMA in shambles, energy companies running the Interior Department with bribes of sex and cocain, an overextended military, Bin Laden on the run, and our reputation and moral leadership diminished.  In every conceivable way, the country was driven into a ditch.

    Like President Obama or not.  Agree or disagree with his policies.  But in the end, even with all of the problems and challenges we continue to face, the country is in a much better place today than it was a few years ago.  It is unfortunate that so many are unaware of Obama's many accomplishments.  And it's a damn shame that some have vilified and disrespected Obama as they have.  I don't know of anyone currently in politics who could have addressed so many overwhelming challenges with such clarity while withstanding so much abuse with such dignity and grace.

  •  US drones target rescue workers (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BradyB
  •  'So-called' progressives need only look (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    v2aggie2, worldlotus

    at themselves in the mirror. Can any of you progressives say 'I did what I could to keep Obama on a progressive agenda.' Imagine attempting to play QB in the super bowl today and you have no offensive line, and for that matter, no officials. Well, that's what Obama has been facing for the last three years. Cheap, dirty attacks and little cooperation. Now is the time to bury the right and the anti-Obama mindset for good.   Stop for a second, think what would a Rmoney presidency look like? After Nixon, Raygun and Bush - I don't want to consider even the possibility.

  •  Competence (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    worldlotus

    Remember when Tennessee, Mississippi, and Kentucky were under water due to massive flooding, and Missouri and Alabama were devastated by a series of tornados, and how all of the citizens living in these areas were left standing on their rooftops for days begging for help while others perished needlessly in the streets because the Obama administration did not respond?  Me neither.

    Competence.  It's a beautiful thing.

  •  I'll work for down ticket ONLY. f'k the rest of (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pronin2

    them.

    Since my frustrations with the Democratic Platform being ignored or sold out - for decades - then what I do or don't do is immaterial, right?

    After all, that piece of shit AHIP-care and almost selling out medicare and doing the bipartisanny thing were good cuz I do NOT matter!

    numbers numbers numbers ...

    will there be 600,000 waiting in the freezing cold to see obama on election night?

    I doubt it.

    oh yeah - and all you ... ha ha ha ... 'reality' based blog-0-topians - check out table 409 in the Statistical Abstract of the United States, 2012 --

    between the congressional elections of 2006 and 2010

    WHERE did almost 3 million Democratic voters go?

    WHERE did almost 8 million Republican voters come from?

    Guess what kissing Joe Lieberman's ass accomplished? Guess what being bipartisan accomplished? Guess what Republican Lite accomplished.

    Obama said a LOT during the 2008 campaign, and lots of us can legitimately claim that he didn't promise us much more than more Clintonian sell out-ism and lying.

    BUT - he IMPLIED more than being an ass kisser to wall street.

    Out here in the Great State of Wishy-Warshy, Pacified Northwest, the 'word' is that Jay Inslee and the senior Democrats do NOT want to figure out how to counter thug lies on getting the revenue to fund the foundations of prosperous society - vibrant communities and fair markets - Jay Inslee wants to focus on running the same ol same ol DC centric Lessor Of Two Evils campaign so he can get elected ...

    and then ...

    and then ... what, same ol shit all over again?

    Guess what Jay, Maria Cantwell, Barack -

    you don't give a fuck about me,
    other than to lie to me, or
    to badger me, or
    to scare me

    and you're getting from me

    bad mouthing,
    NOT a penny,
    NOT a dime,
    NOT a second of time.

    There is still time to EARN my vote you sell outs -

    PASS the kind of legislation that has been promised for decades - either that or I'm voting

    "Medicare ForALL" - just like I did in 2010 for all state and federal offices.

    I've voted Democratic since from '78 when I was 18 to 2008 - and those votes were in Massachusetts or Washington ( I missed some elections from moving blah blah blah working in alaska ...)

    What you've ALL earned from me over 30 years of selling me out and being fucking liars  - you've earned - kiss my ass.

    rmm.

    Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look; He thinks too much: such men are dangerous

    by seabos84 on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 11:51:06 AM PST

  •  Thanks nt (0+ / 0-)

    The radical Republican party is the party of oppression, fear, loathing and above all more money and power for the people who robbed us.

    by a2nite on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 11:51:14 AM PST

  •  Good diary. Another factor for progressives... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TomP

    ...is that the President will and has bent to pressure. Not always. It's not his instincts. And aside from SCOTUS assignments (his no-brainer case for reelection IMO)  his political and tactical instincts can't be trusted. But he needs progressives and when he does he knows how to make a move.

    I hope that be reelecting Obama, 2012 - 2016 can be used by progressives to improve our game.

    Eliminate the Bush tax cuts Eliminate Afghan and Iraq wars Do these things first before considering any cuts

    by kck on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 11:55:29 AM PST

  •  Prissy Progs (5+ / 0-)

    I should know.  I'm awfully prissy myself.  But this is no time to split hairs, people.  Not voting for Obama is the same as voting for Romney and it will lead to ruin for the country.  We have to keep working for more progressive candidates, but we can't let Romney appoint any Supreme Court justices.  

  •  Agree that the strongest argument is 3 words: The (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lawrence

    Supreme Court.

  •  Why Obama? (6+ / 0-)

    Because the other option is worse.  It is just that simple.

  •  Thanks, Armando. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Diebold Hacker, pronin2

    I'd like to begin by thanking you, straight up, for actually acknowledging that Progressives are rightly disappointed by the President on many fronts.

    While your diary does mention the some of the disappointments, it gives short shrift to their magnitude.   To claim that the President has the power to (1) kill U.S. citizens even on U.S. soil by simply declaring them "terrorists", (2) detain people found innocent in a court of law, and (3) prevent any inquiry into his actions by an assertion of executive privilege is an anathema to me and to Progressive ideas.

    Likewise, the fact that President Obama keeps trying to negotiate a grand bargain on social security -- with a "chained CPI" which will cause, month by month, a slow starvation of elders on social security is an offense against everything that I stand for.   And similarly, the fact that the President has broken faith with Progressives on specific issues -- such as promises regarding abortion, such as his ridiculous delay to implement the end of DADT and his pretending that he could no do it by executive order -- is something that I and other Progressives have found sickening.

    Having said all that, I made peace on the issue of supporting President Obama's re-election with the following:

    (1)   I will vote for him.  

    (2)   I will not give him money.   I will encourage others to withhold money as well, because withholding money is the only way to get through to him (see, DADT, Obama year 1, the cut-off of fundraising causing Obama to change direction and make DADT an important issue).

    (3)  I will not canvass for him.

    (4)  I will continue to demand accountability; I will offer Progressive critique of the President; when I think he is wrong, I will say so.

    For taking this position, I've been told that I am actually helping the republicans to win.   I've been told that I must continue to give money to Obama's billion-dollar campaign warchest -- otherwise, I'm just asking for the Republicans to take over the universe and destroy me.  I've been called stupid, I've been called silly, I've been called god damn near traitorous, all because I refuse to shut up and I refuse to give him more money.

    So, while I agree with you that the stakes are so high that Progressives must support Obaba, may I respectuflly suggest that the proper target of your diary is not the Progressives, who are willing to at least vote for the President, but rather the Obama partisans, who view any critique of the Presidnet or unwillingness to support his fundraising as a sign of treason and stupidity?

    •  Huh. I don't think you're (0+ / 0-)

      helping the republicans to win by not contributing or canvassing...

      If the Republican nominee was an excellent debater, with a clear stance on issues and not given to Creationism fairy tales or overt elitist scorn...then maybe.

      But voting for Obama, which you say you are doing, is a vote against crazy.  

      A good thing.

      A happy holiday without subsidizing the 1% But the coal in their stocking is clean coal!

      by imfunnytoo on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 12:42:57 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  We can't afford to let him lose the next election. (3+ / 0-)

    I agree with much of what Armando has said here. I have been fairly disappointed in President Obama overall. He has not fought as hard as I would have liked to seen him to on critical issues.

    That is not to say that he has done nothing for our country. The list of his accomplishments can be found elsewhere. But he has not done enough on reversing the damage done to civil rights under W's watch nor has he moved far enough on the climate change issue.

    He has only recently been starting to show a more feisty side, which I find encouraging. I just hope that he maintains it. I know that he has been having to fight an obstructionist congress. They will destroy the country just to get at him. It is this juvenile attitude on the part of conservatives that proves that they are not fit to rule anyone.

    Conservatives are bent on an agenda that will destroy the middle-class if we don't continue to fight them. They just don't care about anyone but their rich friends. I too often see my fellow liberals being conciliatory towards the other side and backing off on their core values. Our representatives are the perfect example of this.

    We have to stop being perceived as wimps. We're not. Some of the most courageous figures in history have been progressives. We just need to stand up and prove that this is still true. Otherwise conservatives will keep trying to steamroll their agenda right over the top of us.

    Since this is true, we can't afford to let them win. Now is the time for us to stand together, regardless of whether Obama is everything we've hoped for or not. The current political climate is the best opportunity I've seen in a long time for us to take control of the narrative again.

    If we can use the momentum that's been created, we might just finally be able to be in the driver's seat of our government again. But once we have it we can't let up. We need to continue to hold our politicians feet to the flame to get them to perform our will. Politicians can't be expected to enact change on their own, they are too worried about their positions. Real change has always come from ground up activism.

    I feel that our activism is the primary reason that President Obama has been able to set forth on a bolder path. He's seen support for his ideas from the American people. We need to keep it up and show President Obama that we will support him. We can't afford to go to sleep again. Our continued activism is the only way that REAL change is ever going to happen.

    "People who cannot recognize a palpable absurdity are very much in the way of civilization." --Agnes Repplier

    by Shadowraven on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 12:00:19 PM PST

  •  "Cajolements." Must remember this one. (0+ / 0-)
  •  a fair and honest summary (2+ / 0-)

    to it i would add the same thing i've been saying since he scolded us what seems like an eternity ago, that obama's presidency will be determined as much by his political context as anything else.

    so yes, it makes strategic and tactical sense for progressives to make sure obama is reelected, as you have laid out, but it is also of the utmost importance to constrain the president's political reality with both aggressive direct action and by pushing the congress in a progressive direction.

    obama with a GOP controlled congress and a quiescent populace will be as awful as clinton. obama with democratic majorities that are majority progressive, and afraid of crossing a restive progressive political movement, could be a very good president indeed.

    the primary races this cycle are pretty important, not just for taking the house back and holding the senate, but for making sure that if there is to be another wave election, that we do not just elect another worthless batch of blue dogs and corporate new dems. and if we are lucky enough to win, we need our direct action to be just as unrelenting, even as we win victories.

  •  I agree with this post. I think Obama is (5+ / 0-)

    determined to be a servant of all the people, and govern from the center. I think it is up to US to determine where the center is.
    I think he will take the country as far to the "left" as he can.
    I think he's the kind of President that is the best the left can hope for at this time in the country who will allow a space for liberalism and progressive ideas to rebuild.
    Liberals should realize that "the government is the problem" meme was built partly with the help of entrenched bureacracies and unresponsive bureaucrats.
    There is no greater issue than giving the average American faith that the government can be flexible, adroit, and responsive and directed at solving problems .

    I could go on, but I would just be putting a slightly different angle on the diary.
    There is a major power grab occurring in this country. The religious right is desperate and is making a play for absolute power. We must stop them. I think 2012 is critical. We need to win up and down the ballot, and any criticism  we have for the President and his policies must not detract from that effort.

  •  All we need to know is: The Republican (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TomP

    alternatives suck worse.  And we do know it.  Thus there is no further need for diaries exhorting and or browbeating us about 'standing with the Party', other than to annoy people and keep the pie wars alive.

    99.9% of folks here will vote for him, no matter what they say, although to be honest, the entire site could vote for 'Bob the Happy Hamster' and it likely wouldn't change a single state's outcome.

    So I really hope the site isn't going to be flooded with pointless 'reasons to vote' diaries.  It's a real pain to wade through pointless stuff looking for things we might actually affect or change.

  •  Good post, Armando. (4+ / 0-)

    I'm from the Elizabeth Warren and Darcy Burner Wing of the Democratic Party!

    by TomP on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 12:21:00 PM PST

  •  I'm a liberal Democrat, like my parents were and (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Orange County Liberal

    pretty much my entire family. The President is a lot more conservative than I am, and he's the candidate of my party, and I'm going to support him and vote for him.
    I'm also going to criticize him as I disagree with him, just as I have every President since I came of age, and just as all my friends do who, by the way, are also all voting for the President's reelection.
    I'm going to spend my meager income and time helping my progressive congressman keep his seat.
    I don't see eye-to-eye with President Obama on every issue. How could I? We're the same age, and have had quite different experiences, to say the least. I think he'll do what he feels like he can to help me, whereas these modern Republicans would drive right past me if I were laying in the street.

    ...and dropping a bar bell he points to the sky, saying "The sun's not yellow-it's CHICKEN!"

    by porchdog1961 on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 12:24:20 PM PST

  •  Barack Obama is deeply, personally (6+ / 0-)

    committed to Constitutional democracy.   Because of this he believes that American democracy is based on partisan dispute and civilized compromise.  What many see as his biggest fault, his thwarted attempts at compromise, beveal his commitment to democracy.  While the unease with this  by his critics reveal their fear of American democracy.

  •  If not Obama, then who? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Luschnig, Andrew F Cockburn

    This is why republicants win--they never criticize their candidate (yes, newt and romney are the exception, because they will nomitate their real candidate at their convention)  All the idiot stuff bush pulled, no negative conservative comments from any of their media.  As soon as Obama started office, the whiney liberal idiots started complaining that all was not done and not ideal.  Get over it.  Vote all republicants out of office.  And stop complaining about Democratic candidates.  Do I like everything he has done--no.  I do not support the duncan ed plan, I wish he had prosecuted bush and cheney for war crimes, but then that would have opened up the US to other problems, so they are dealt with with shame.  Anyway, Obama is far better than anything else.  

  •  Enthuiasm here... (9+ / 0-)

    I'm 53 years old and when I look back, i have a hard time finding a better President in my lifetime.

    Ike? Actually pretty good, but no.
    JFK? Maybe second, but no.
    LBJ? No.
    Nixon? No.
    Ford? No.
    Carter? No.
    Reagan? No.
    GHW Bush? No.
    Clinton? Close, but no.
    W.? Hell no.

    Given what he faced coming in and where we are now, he's been pretty amazing. Obamacare will fundamentally change the understanding and relationship between health care and the government forever more, and will lead to single-payer.

    Best President of my lifetime. He's getting my donations and my time, along with his buddy, Elizabeth Warren.

    Bin Laden's dead, GM's alive - Obama 2012

    •  Nixon was more progressive than Obama (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Diebold Hacker

      Nixon ended the Vietnam War, ended the draft, signed the EPA into law, normalized diplomatic relations with China,  redirected federal funds from defense spending towards food aid and public assistance programs, signed the Equal Rights Amendment to desegregate public schools, and he negotiated the first two nuclear treaties with Soviet Russia (SALT and ABMT).

      Obama only followed through with the agreement W set in place for the end of the Iraq war, and only after Iraq refused to a Status Of Forces Agreement that would give troops immunity in the Iraqi courts for war crimes. He's undercut the EPA in favor of industry repeatedly. He's put troops in the South China Sea to piss China off (heard about the new Marine base in northern Australia yet?), he's putting missiles in Europe and has refused to commit to an agreement with Russia that those missiles won't be used against them. He's kept up defense spending.

      Fuck, Nixon would be a better Democrat president than Obama. It's sad that the best thing you can find to say about Obama is that he signed off on other people killing somebody.

      "I am for Socialism because I am for humanity. We have been cursed with the reign of gold long enough" -Eugene V Debs

      by jabbausaf on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 02:46:53 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Only Koch trolls say Nixon was more (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Lawrence

        progressive than Obama.   Just like they insist black is white and they only want what's best for the workers.

      •  Bullshit. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        foufou

        Nixon CARPET BOMBED Vietnam and Cambodia. Brutally.

        As for EPA, that was something he hardly cared about so he gave it over to one of his buddies - was it Haldeman? - and let him have his way. It was a bone to throw left and nothing more - listen to the damned tapes about it. And while you're at it, listen to Nixon's thoughts on Jews and other minorities.

        He is also responsible for laying the groundwork to get rid of the Fairness Doctrine and restrictions on Media Ownership. Do a little reading about Edith Effron.

        Nixon also gave us Cheney, Rumsfeld, Pat Buchannon and a whole bunch of the other neocons who reared their ugly heads in the 90's and 00's.

        Look at how he treated young John Kerry and John Corsi - yeah, THAT Corsi.

        Your analysis is incredibly shallow. Nixon was nowhere NEAR as progressive as the I-hate-Obama lefties portray him. He was a paranoid and vicious politician, scarred and angry and without compunction regarding killing civilians. And he didn't end Vietnam (1975).

  •  I think that the first issue (0+ / 0-)

    that you highlight is the most important one (no surprise there).  To be clear about it, reproductive choice hangs by a very thin thread.  Thomas, Scalia and Alito would vote to overturn Roe in a minute.   Roberts would not, in my estimation, be far behind.  Any appointment by Romney (or any other Republican) would be guaranteed to be a vote to overturn Roe (if you doubt this, remember back to the "No more Souters" cry that went up when Harriet Miers was being considered for the Court).  

    Right now, Barack Obama is the only thing preventing a return to the days before Roe (and, possibly, before Griswold).  The issue of reproductive freedom for women trumps all else, as far as I am concerned.  I may not be thrilled with everything that Barack Obama has done (and I am not as negative as even the diarist on many of them), but I do not want my daughters to grow in a country where they no longer control their own bodies.

    Thanks, Armando, for a well thought out piece.

    Ultimately, the only thing that matters with respect to preserving choice is who will be nominating the next Supreme Court Justices.

    by Its the Supreme Court Stupid on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 12:41:47 PM PST

  •  If you are a progressive and don't vote for Obama (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Luschnig, v2aggie2, rokkitman

    then either you are an idiot or you are callous and deluded to the resulting consequences.

  •  Politics = Coalitions, folks! (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nerve, Luschnig, v2aggie2, worldlotus

    There is never any room for purity, "my way or the highway". You make common cause with others who have common ground with you and give on other things. Anything else is just pure grandiosity and narcissism.

  •  last time 'round (0+ / 0-)

    last time round i gave him my money, support, vote and all the people i could talk into voting for him.

    this time, he gets my vote and the bully pulpit--he's the president. that's all he gets...

    my enthusiasm is directly proportional to the interests of mine that he has served... he gets a "B-". i'd love to grade on the curve but that wouldn't be fair. i hope he does better next semester....

  •  No thanks, I am done with the goodcop/badcop (4+ / 0-)

    routine of corporate America.  Yes, the good cop is preferable to the bad cop in the short term.  That is why the good cop exists, to keep you playing the game.  In the long run it makes little difference, as capital has an increasingly strong stranglehold on both parties.  When the Democrats actually start to overpower the Republicans, capital simply shifts to the Dems to neutralize them from enacting the people's will, resulting in a Republican resurgence... and so on.  Having two parties both for sale just results in a random walk in the direction of capital's interest.

    The only way out of this dynamic is a political force that is directly opposed to capital.  This could be a takeover of the Dems or a third party, but it most definitely is not the Democrats in their current incarnation.  And if you have hope for the Dems and want to see them move in a more populist anti-capital direction, the way to accomplish it is not to pledge your support regardless of how much they sell out.  The Democrats do not care about the left precisely because they can count on them always falling in line, regardless of how pro-corporate the agenda.

  •  President Obama Will Be Vindicated (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rokkitman, Luschnig, worldlotus, edwardssl

    http://frank-schaeffer.blogspot.com/

    Despite wishes to the contrary.  You would think that after what happened in the fall 2010 elections, these "reluctances" would be a no-brainer.

  •  I'm sick of appealing to the nihilist progressives (9+ / 0-)

    It's no use trying to appeal to progressives who rarely vote because they want a magically progressive candidate that does not ever exist.  There is no such thing as a progressive Utopia even in Europe.

    If you don't want to vote for the Dems or Obama just shut the hell up if Republicans take control again.  That's all I have to say.

    •  You said it well. nt (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      worldlotus

      It's the Supreme Court, stupid!

      by Radiowalla on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 02:21:07 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Talk about a nihilst ... (0+ / 0-)

      The truth is that if the president loses because he loses  progressive voters, it will be his fault, not the fault of the progressives who declined to vote for him because of his odious policies and broken promises/lies.

      If he comes out and tries to force cuts to social security and medicare like he did last summer, I will oppose him and fight his re-election as strongly as I supported him last time around.  That will be his doing, not mine.

  •  See (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Orange County Liberal

    my sig.

    I will not send money to, work for, or vote for, any candidate whose behavior benefits the 1% over the 99%. Work for my vote, money and time, or lose it. Not the other way around.

    by Nada Lemming on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 01:59:56 PM PST

  •  Progressives must demand to be courted (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jabbausaf, Orange County Liberal

    Politics is about power.

    Power is applied through leverage.

    The only power Progressives have (especially post Citizens United) is our vote.

    (Besides of course the power of the Radicals: OWS)

    The only way to apply the leverage of that power is to demand what we want on the issues and to threaten to withhold our vote if we don';t get concessions on those issues.

    Often times those concessions are merely lip service, but that lip service is what moves the Overton Window.

    Anyone who tells a Pol or campaign that they already have that vote has given away their only power.

    This of course drives The Establishment crazy, and often makes them insult and derogate Progressives.

    Tough.

    For both sides.

    But the equation does not change just because things are tough.

    Progressives must demand to be courted.

  •  The issues are precisely why I'm voting for Rocky (2+ / 0-)

    Not for anything Obama has been unable to do (although those things are many) but for the things he has done, the sins of commission and not those of omission. I'm far enough to the left I don't see much practical difference between Obama and Romney, particularly considering that in the unlikely event Romney gets elected he'll be running to the left with an eye towards re-election his whole term. But Romney won't win. Obama will win, since the Republicans won't show up (just look at turnout numbers in the primaries so far) and there will be enough independents and conservative Democrats to push Obama well over the edge. He just won't do it with my vote, which will be going to Rocky Anderson.

    It's odd that foreign policy would be described as "not a major issue for progressives" in this election when we're on the knife's edge of war with Iran (and any other allies they might have) and we've got a president assassinating people with drone strikes and without trial. I have never personally seen so-called liberals be as imperialistic and pro-war as Obama supporters, but it's not a new thing in American politics; it's the same way we got entangled in the Vietnam War under Kennedy and LBJ.

    "I am for Socialism because I am for humanity. We have been cursed with the reign of gold long enough" -Eugene V Debs

    by jabbausaf on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 02:13:23 PM PST

  •  For the less enthused, here is a lesson. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    worldlotus

    Instead of "waiting" for Obama to do anything about Citizens United, start building up support for a constitutional amendment to end corporate personhood and to create real campaign finance reform. In other words, don't just let the leaders do as they do; instead, become the leaders that we need to bring about real change. It doesn't matter if its OFA or OWS, we should be building the common message across America.

    So say we all! Battlestar Galactica (re-imagined version)

    by nerve on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 02:15:37 PM PST

  •  Will Belichick bench Brady if he fumbles? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    auron renouille

    Of course not- Brady is the best quarterback he has. If he has a chance to play someone who is more likely to win the game he will do it in a heartbeat. If Brady breaks his leg, Belichick will pick the best alternative he has- he won't give up and go home.

    That is the attitude I take to politicians. They all disagree with me on some issues and have limitations in what they can accomplish on others. I vote for the one who is most likely to get done what I think needs to be done.

    I don't agree with Obama on some issues and I think that he has screwed up others where we agree. I give him about a 70% rating. On the Republican side I give Ron Paul about a 20% rating (we agree on wars, drugs, and surveillance) and the others no more than 5%. I will give any third party candidate 0% because they can't win and so can't accomplish anything. That makes my decision pretty easy.

    Since I live in West Virginia, I am going to have to make some more difficult calls. Most likely I am going to end up voting for Democratic politicians that I score at less than 50% because the alternatives are Republicans that I score at 0. I hold my nose and do it.

  •  It is not that I am reluctant (0+ / 0-)

    I will vote for Obama -- no doubt about that.

    I am just not fired up -- ready to go.

    But to me -- neither is Obama -- he himself has not caught the "fire" --

    So until he gets all in -- I guess that is a problem for many of us.

    "Proud to proclaim: I am a Bleeding Heart Liberal"

    by sara seattle on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 02:46:08 PM PST

  •  A more progressive agenda is not possible... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Stuart Heady, worldlotus

    ...as long as the Republicans have the ability to block it in Congress.

    The solution to the problem is to get rid of as many Republicans in Congress as possible.  Period.

    The President can lay it out, and make promises. But he does not have dictatorial powers that will overcome Republican obstruction.  The rules are the rules.

    Some still say: "Well, he could fight harder!"  Which is a satisfyingly meaningless thing that people say when they misunderstand the realities of the problem.

    We need 61 good Dems in the Senate, and a clear majority in the House.  THAT is the ONLY solution.  Provide that, and Obama will be able to deliver on the Hope and Change promised in 2008.

    •  the flip side to that, alas, is that a progressive (0+ / 0-)

      agenda is also only possible if the Dem Party itself wants it, and is willing to produce it if the Repug obstacle were no longer there.

      And that is not the case.

      Our problem is not simply that the Repugs don't want a progressive agenda.  Our problem is that the Dem Party doesn't want a progressive agenda either.

  •  In It for the Long Haul (0+ / 0-)

    The Bush II presidency was a disaster. In no manner or form can the damage be undone in four years, and certainly not with a Congress that never quite has enough progressives (though at least a healthcare bill was passed).

    There used to be an intellectual game that if really lousy Republicans were allowed to win, they would so disgust the voters, they would automatically turn to progressives. That fantasy is dead. For one thing, Republicans are trying to make it harder for American citizens to vote and the Supreme Court is no longer reliable.

    Obama is a moderate. Assuming Romney is the nominee, it is highly unlikely that Romney with the type of Republicans now in Congress can be anywhere near being a moderate. At best, Romney would govern as a conservative. Given his weakness on the right, he may be forced to give in to reactionary forces. He is not exactly a man of 'strong moral fiber.'

    Although it has been late in coming, Obama, at least, seems to be digging in his heels.

    Going forward, there are no guarantees with Obama. Letting a Republican president win, however, will resume the Bush legacy.

    Be acutely aware of where we are and that things can still be done. More so than Obama, the Congress is key. But without a Democratic President, very little can be done.

  •  Maybe yoo al should lookup the meaning of (0+ / 0-)

    Progressive.

  •  Environmental issues (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    worldlotus

    Obama has been pretty good here, and has been showing signs of getting environmental issues and climate change right in his second term. Notably, the new mercury rules announced by Lisa Jackson in December were historic, and had been pushed by environmentalists since the 70s. Between that and CO2 regulations for stationary power that will be announced soon, Obama may have just ended coal power in the US. That on its own would be a huge accomplishment.

    Climate change is my top issue as a voter, and I think he's going to get this right. His read on the politics is to push the clean energy line, and I don't entirely agree with that. I think he should be making a strong moral case for fighting climate change. But I do think he's a strong supporter of curbing climate pollution, and that signs are good for his second term. Certainly much better than any of the clowns on the right.

    He's also been pushing the line that we should be cutting oil subsidies, which many number crunchers are showing would take a huge bite out of climate pollution. I could see populists on both the left and right getting behind such a proposal.

  •  It's Not Worth It (0+ / 0-)

    Obama is not the most important issue. The most important issue is Congress. The Republicans have shown that it isn't necessary or particularly important to control the White House. What counts is:

    (1) A bare majority in the House, with an ideologically pure leadership, and
    (2) 41 ideologues in the Senate.

    With that you can control the budget and any appointments, including appointments to the SCOTUS.

    So, the key to victory is to make Congress as progressive as possible.

    Supporting Obama takes away resources that progressives should be expending on Congress. He has plenty of money from his rich friends and the Republican field is--pathetic (in a word). He'll be fine without our support.

    We should put all our resources into moving Congress in our direction.

    •  but here's the problem . . . (0+ / 0-)

      In order to make Congress more progressive by replacing Repugs with Dems, we need to assume that the Dems will be progressive.

      That is an invalid assumption.  The Dem Party is simply not a progressive party, and shows no sign whatever that it WANTS to be.

      So what we actually have to do in reality is replace both Repugs AND Dems, with progressives.

      •  You Are Right (0+ / 0-)

        We have to start with the Democratic primaries. This is where we actually have the most leverage to improve the country. But instead of focusing on Obama, we need to focus on Congress.

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