- Believing Obama is progressive is like calling a cat
a dog. Only the delusional think so. He's, in fact, hard-right, a neocon,
a warrior president, a corporatist pursuing anti-populist policies favoring
wealth and privilege, not social justice when more than ever it's needed.
- He's a fraud, an elitist, chosen years ago, then put
on a fast track to power. Big monied interests love him. So do war profiteers
and members of America's aristocracy. He's one of them.
- Only the voting millions who backed him were defrauded.
Will they awaken, finally understand, and express their ire publicly more
strongly than in mid-term theatrics, throwing out bums for new ones. It's
high time. A year two Obama assessment is coming. Watch for it, parts I
and II. A year one analysis can be accessed through the following links:
- Definitions of Progressivism
- Merriam Webster defines it as people "believing
in moderate political change and especially social improvement by governmental
action." The Oxford Dictionary says it's anyone "advocating or
implementing social reform or new, liberal ideas." Wikipedia calls
it a "political attitude favoring or advocating changes or reforms
through governmental action."
- Progressivism began in the 19th century to end slavery,
support women's rights including suffrage, small farmers, and political
populism - namely:
- -- social reforms benefitting ordinary Americans;
- -- citizens having more control over government;
- -- establishing comprehensive education as a universal
- -- curbing excessive corporate power;
- -- eliminating corruption and waste;
- -- supporting organized labor;
- -- laws to prevent child worker exploitation;
- -- environmental conservation, and more stressing social
values above financial gain.
- Obama's agenda is mirror opposite - anti-progressive/populist/liberal.
Judge him by his advisors and top officials. They support power, not working
Americans. Their policies are pro-war, pro-business, pro-privilege, pro-super
wealth, anti-dissent, anti-democracy, anti-freedom, anti-civil and human
rights, anti-environmental sanity, and anti-government of, by and for the
people. They oppose virtually everything most people want, need but don't
get under either party, one a near clone of the other.
- After eight Bush/Cheney/Republican years, Americans wanted
change. Obama's promise won the most sweeping non-incumbent victory in
over 50 years, along with congressional Democrats gaining large House and
- Out with the old. In with the new. Everything changed
but stayed the same. In fact, it worsened with perhaps greater harshness
coming in Obama's next two years, including escalated imperial wars, neoliberal
austerity, greater than ever impoverishment, desperation and despair, as
well as hardened repression to curb popular anger.
- Surprisingly, however, Obama's approval rating still
hovers close to 50%. On December 6, the conservative Rasmussen Reports
Daily Presidential Tracking Poll said "47% of voters say they at least
somewhat approve of the president's performance. Fifty-three percent (53%)
disapprove." It also found 28% strongly approve, 41% strongly disapproving,
"giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -13." It's
about the same one he's had all year despite greater numbers being harmed,
a trend showing no sign of abating.
- One progressive, Tikkun's Rabbi Michael Lerner, expressed
concern in a December 4 Washington Post op-ed headlined, "Save Obama's
presidency by challenging him on the left," saying:
- "People who used to say, 'Give (Obama) more time'
when (he) was criticized for capitulating to the right, or who argued that
(he) must have a plan to turn things around, are now largely depressed
- If so, polls like Rasmussen's don't show it, at least
not convincingly. Lerner, however, believes "many liberals and progressives"
are mad about Obama's unwillingness to veto "tax relief for billionaires,"
besides continued imperial wars, escalated in Afghanistan, abandoning the
healthcare public option, refusal to prosecute Bush war criminals, and
his overall unpopular agenda.
- Instead of condemning Obama and congressional Democrats,
Lerner worries mostly about "a full-scale Republican return to power
in 2012." A "disaster" he said, given their economic policies
and environmental record, as well as disdain for social justice and world
- Clearly, Lerner's been largely AWOL during the past two
years, mindless that Obama's extremism exceeded Bush and that Democrats
overall are as hardline as Republicans. Their rhetoric alone differs. On
core issues like war and peace, corporatism, police state repression, and
environmental pillaging, there's not a dime's worth of difference between
them, what Lerner and other progressives should understand, highlight,
repeat, and preach to their faithful, not believe leopards can change spots.
- He does, wanting Obama to be "the candidate whom
most Americans believed they elected in 2008:" the myth, not the man
whom James Petras calls:
- "the perfect incarnation of Melville's Confidence
Man. He catches your eye while he picks your pocket. He gives thanks as
he packs you off to" imperial wars. The "first Jewish president,"
he "unconditional(ly) support(s the) pro-Israeli Lobby and the colonial
expansionist and bellicose policies of the Jewish state."
- Liberals, progressives, and intellectuals who "support
a politician who publicly and openly embraces new wars, billionaire bailouts,"
and mass privatizations, including essential services like healthcare,
Medicare, education, perhaps Social Security, and more are "what C.
Wright Mills called 'crackpot realists.' " Their followers are what
Walter Lippman described as the "bewildered herd," clueless of
the world around them, mostly how gravely they and their loved ones are
- No matter. Lerner, and others like him, want Obama's
presidency saved - "by challenging him in the 2012 presidential primaries
with a candidate who would unequivocally commit to a well-defined progressive
agenda and contrast it with" his.
- Those Democrat, however, don't exist, and progressive
independents aren't welcome in a party embracing Democrat Leadership Council
(DLC) extremism. As neocon as Republicans, they're anti-populist, anti-environmental
sanity, anti-labor, anti-welfare, anti-peace, pro-business, pro-privilege,
pro-war, pro-Israeli belligerency and occupation, and pro-imperial zealotry
for global dominance.
- They support super-wealth and oppose social justice for
Blacks, Hispanics, Latino immigrants, Muslims, working Americans, the poor
and disadvantaged, consumer protections, populism, progressivism, honest
elections, human and civil rights, and democratic values.
- Obama buys it, governing accordingly. Believing he can
be shoved to the left is "crackpot" lunacy. So is thinking congressional
Democrats can, any of them. They cannot, what checking their voting records
show, supporting pro-war defense budgets, Obamacare, pro-Wall Street finance
reform, pro-agribusiness food "safety," pro-Big Oil/Wall Street
cap and trade, and much more.
- Progressives? Hardly! They're not likely to change -
not now, next year, in 2012 or thereafter. They won't follow Lerner's platform
embracing "love, kindness and generosity....a new New Deal....(a)
Caring Society: 'Caring for Each Other and the Earth.' " They support
same old, same old, business as usual, softened only rhetorically.
- It's high time Lerner and other progressives understood,
concluding other ways must be found for change outside the two-party dictatorship
- independents committed to populism, real elections, excluding big money
donors, social justice, civil and human rights, democratic values, and
unconditionally ending imperial wars and occupations immediately, as well
as slashing the defense budget, closing all overseas bases, and cutting
force levels, no ifs, ands or buts.
- In today's environment, however, achieving those goals
is enormously challenging. But it's no reason not to try! To borrow a phrase,
there is no alternative.
- A Final Comment
- On December 6, The New York Times reported Obama's capitulation
to Republicans on extending the Bush tax cuts for the super-rich on income,
capital gains, and dividends. Also on their federal estate tax that lapsed
at the start of 2010. Despite their rhetorical disapproval, congressional
Democrats will likely concur, while at the same time agreeing to deep austerity
cuts for working Americans.
- Obama again showed his allegiance to wealth and power.
The two-party dictatorship is venal and broken. Replacing it with real
progressive change is vital. Indeed, there is no alternative!
- Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached email@example.com.
Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge
discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour
on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and
Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.