Let me get the obvious out of the way, first.
If you did not vote in the 2010 midterms because you wanted to teach the Democrats a lesson…YOU! DO! NOT! GET! TO! BITCH!
And yes, I am aware that I’m being a broken record about this. But given that we are about to embrace austerity measures that have been turning Britain into an Economic Power House, (And yes, if you follow the link to the New Yorker article, you can see that I was employing the time tested tacit of sarcasm.) it behooves me to point out the following fact that should be tattooed on the head of every man and woman of voting age.
You do not punish politicians by not voting, you enable them!
You know what? I’m sick of beating this drum. If you didn’t vote last year, stop reading this now.
Seriously, fuck off. I’m in no mood for dealing with dilettantes!
The deal sucks.
There’s no way to spin this.
The deal sucks.
Congress collectively has taken a giant crap on the grave of John Maynard Keynes and is kicking it Hoover style. And Obama has made the tactical choice of taking this seriously because he wants to look like the “Grown Up” in the room.
Here’s the thing.
When a bunch of angry children stamp their feel and scream that they won’t eat their vegetables until they get their ice cream first, a grown up doesn’t give them the cock-a-doody ice cream! He sends them to their room and yanks out the TV! In Obama’s case, he should have demanded a clean debt bill from day one and made it clear that threatening The Full Faith and Credit of The United States of America is not the way to make clear the need for debt reduction.
There is a time for negotiation and there is a time to come into a room with a 2×4 and make like Joe Don Baker in”Walking Tall”. This situation called for the later.
So, now the question that’s been going around the left blogasphere is what do we do about Obama.
My response is we’re asking the wrong question.
Yes, I get the anger towards Obama. And I’m there too. But anger is not enough. Not now. The Tea Party has anger and all they’re producing is bile and bad policy. We have to think this through.
PRIMARY CHALLENGE: Now, I know that Sen. Bernie Sanders floated this idea a couple of weeks ago. And I’ll admit, it’s not necessarily a bad idea to make Obama sweat a little bit. And at least from our side, the candidate de Jour could call him out on his actual failings and not the he’s-a-Muslim-Socialist-Marxist-baby-eater-who-sells-the-bones-to-fund–ACORN horse crap we’re getting from the other side. (And yes, I would not mind seeing the “Why the hell are we not prosecuting Bush and Cheney for war crimes” question come up.
Having said all that, my question is this. Who have you got?
Seriously, can you think of one credible (Key word here, credible.) Democrat willing to take that run? (And if you said Dennis Kucinich, then you and I have very different definitions of the word credible.) The only ones I can think of off the top of my head is Howard Dean and Al Gore. And I’m not sure either of them have the stomach for it at this point.
The other issue that the other sides roster is so filled the casually evil and willfully crazy, that most primary voters will look at this battle and go, “Holy crap! Obama’s the only one with the muscle for this fight” and go running back to him. But by this time, the primary battle has rattled the Independents (I.E. people who get their news in small bites between shifts for the two soul crushing jobs they hold just to keep their heads above water.) so much that they’ll go running to the GOP candidate. (Who, if 2008 is any indication, will be picked quickly as so to avoid looking like they’re in disarray. Unlike those bong sucking hippies on the other side.)
THIRD PARTY CHALLENGE: Excuse me for a moment while I fall down laughing. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
Okay, got that out of my system.
The last time a third party candidate got double digits was Ross Perot. And he only got 18.9% of the vote. And do you really want to hear what Ralph Nader’s numbers were?
Like it or not, there is no progressive third party with the resources to mount a credible Presidential run. (And if you bring up The Greens, I will direct you to Ralph Nader’s number and then take up cigar smoking so I can blow smoke contemptuously in your face.) And if a third party candidate does break through, five will get you ten that he’s a Koch brothers paid flunky. So unless, George Soros decides that he wants to go all in, I think we can rule out a third party challenge.
So you ask, what do we do about Obama?
The answer is you’re asking the wrong question.
For the first two years, we had forward movement. Yes, it wasn’t as fast as we’d like. And God knows there were areas where there was no Goddamn movement at all. (Looking at you DOJ on Bush and Cheney.) But grading on a curve, we were making progress.
But then, our side got it into their heads that we weren’t moving fast enough. And instead of forging ahead and electing more and better Democrats, they decided that the answer was to teach the Democrats “A lesson” by not voting at all. Allowing the fired up “Tea party” the space to help the GOP retake the House and cut our margin in the Senate. And now, we are where we are. Looking down the barrel of policies being called by people who either don’t know or don’t care how things work.
Make no mistake, between now and November 2012 is going to be all about two things. Damage control and mobilization.
The recall elections in Wisconsin are this week. And if all goes well, they should be able to flip the state senate from red to blue. If nothing else, it will stop Scott Walker’s union busting nonsense in it’s tracks. And maybe even reverse the worst of it.
If we can build on that momentum, there’s a good chance, not great but good, that maybe we can retake the House and keep the Senate. (And I’m hedging my phrasing because I haven’t had a chance to dive into the recent polling numbers.) And that’s where our focus needs to be.
(Memo to the aforementioned Green Party, while you may not have the resources to mount a Presidential run, you can still get in the game. If you target seats where both Democrats and Republicans have low approval number, a Green with a fiscally progressive message might have a shot at a pick up. It would still be tough but it’s more doable than going for the big brass ring.)
Now, as far as Obama is concerned, in the end, I may vote for him if only because who ever gets the nod on the other side will be far worse. But I’m not giving him any money. I will devote my meager resources to Sen. Jeff Merkley who up for re-election this year. (Not to mention the poor sap who goes against Greg Walden in the House.) Somehow, I think he’ll be fine without my nickles and dimes.
And let’s face it, we could have a President who’s a cross between King Solomon, F.D.R. and Captain Kirk and without a Congress passing decent legislation, all he could do is stand around the Oval Office, looking awesome.
And awesomeness in a vacuum means jack shit.
It’s easy at this point to just say “fuck it” and shut out the world. But for every voice that stays silent, every person who walks away, there’s someone on the other side to fill that void with misplaced anger and faulty reasoning.
Engagement is the only thing that will walk us through this nightmare.
G’Quan wrote, “There is a greater darkness than the one we fight. It is the darkness of the soul that has lost its way. The war we fight is not against powers and principalities, it is against chaos and despair. Greater than the death of flesh is the death of hope, the death of dreams. Against this peril we can never surrender. The future is all around us, waiting, in moments of transition, to be born in moments of revelation. No one knows the shape of that future or where it will take us. We know only that it is always born in pain.”
Citizen G’Kar (Written by J. Michael Straczynski.)
We go on, no matter what.
Because the price of giving up is too great.