736My thoughts on this election
- Nov 8, 2012
First of all, in the interest of full disclosure, I did not vote for Obama this time. I voted for Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate. Many Democrats and Progressives criticized me for this since they saw Romney as the far worse alternative, but I had to remain true to my core beliefs, and too many of Obama’s policies were in stark contrast to so many of those beliefs that I could not in good conscience vote for him no matter how bad Romney was. I also did not vote for Bob Casey because his vote for the Blunt Amendment was so anti-woman as to preclude me doing so. Having gotten my votes out of the way I want to say that I think Tuesday was an enormous victory for progressive politics, and I am delighted by the outcome.
You may be surprised to read this, but I saw a similar message in 2010, and I think both Democrats and Republicans were too tone deaf to see it. What I took from the 2010 elections was that progressive voters are getting fed up with the rightward drift of the country, and they demonstrated that by simply staying home in large numbers or by refusing to vote for Democrats who too often act like Republicans.. Progressives actually fared pretty well in 2010. The vast majority of Democrats who lost were Wall Street sycophants and Blue Dogs. That trend continued this week. Most of the Democrats who lost were Blue Dogs whose ranks now number a mere dozen. They numbered well over 50 in 2009. The only Senate seat the Democrats lost to the Republicans was lost by Bob Kerrey who was running to succeed retiring DINO (Democrat in name only) Ben Nelson. Kerrey is a right-winger who is in bed with Wall Street. He is pretty much a clone of Joe Lieberman. I am delighted he lost. Will the Democrats get the message this time? The vast number of Congressional candidates that were courted, recruited, and financed by the DCCC this election were again Blue Dogs, and again, most of them lost. How many progressives could we have elected if the DCCC had spent more of that money trying to elect more progressives – who, by the way, have shown themselves to be considerably more electable in recent years. Still, the composition of the Democrats in Congress and the Senate is now decidedly more to the Left with the arrival of more progressives and the departure of Blue Dogs and Ben Nelson. That is potentially a game changer and a very good thing.
How Obama governs going forward is crucial to our country’s future because if he continues to back policies like austerity, the truly awful Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement, The XL pipeline, etc. 2014 will not only be a repeat of 2010, but 2016 will see a return of the Republicans to the White House. Our huge progressive victories this week will only matter in the long run if they translate to more enlightened policies in Washington and in the White House.
Yesterday the Justice Department was in court trying to overturn the permanent injunction a judge issued earlier this year against enforcement of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) under which any one of us can be arrested and indefinitely incarcerated with no recourse to due process. If you missed that story it is probably because the mainstream corporate media largely ignored it. The only story I saw was in the National Law Journal. A good start for Obama’s second term would be to repudiate that law rather than fighting to preserve it.
Let us also hope Obama thinks twice about the name his Administration is floating as a second-term replacement for Timothy Geithner. That person is Chester Bowles, co-chair of the Simpson-Bowles Deficit Reduction Committee (whose report was never official because the members of the committee did not vote yes in sufficient numbers to approve its recommendations), a major ally of Wall Street, a deficit hawk, and a long-time advocate for radically cutting back Medicare and Social Security benefits. A” Democrat,” Bowles actively campaigned for several Republican deficit hawks this year who were running against progressives who oppose draconian austerity measures.
It is time for progressives to let this White House know that we expect them to embrace progressive policies, and it is time to let Congress know that we will vote them out if they don’t light a fire under the Obama Administration to force them to do so. This election was an opportunity for Barack Obama to do the right thing instead of acting as an errand boy for Goldman Sachs. I hope he gets the message.
1117 Wheatland Avenue/ H-4
Lancaster, Pa. 17603
Home phone: 717-295-0237