Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Has Obama Lost the Trust of Progressives?

I wish I had the gift of words on just some days that Glenn Greenwald has every day. His sterling prose precisely depicts where I am today on further trust being invested in Obama's team, and I suspect most liberals/progressives feel just about the same. On this auspicious day after the passing of Senator Edward Kennedy, who did not live to see the health care finance reform bill, which was one of his most special causes, pass, please contact your representatives in Congress and let them know your desires. I believe it will be called the Senator Edward Kennedy Memorial Health Care Finance Reform Bill (if the Democrats decided to pass it without allowing the Rethuglican corporate-driven changes). (Emphasis marks added - Ed.)

Has Obama Lost the Trust of Progressives, as Krugman Says? Paul Krugman has an excellent column today arguing that progressives have backlashed so intensely over the prospect of Obama's dropping the public option because - for reasons extending far beyond specific health care issues - they no longer trust the President. Citing Obama's steadfast continuation of Bush/Cheney Terrorism policies, the administration's extreme coziness with crisis-causing banks, and the endless retreats on health care, Krugman says that "a backlash in the progressive base . . . has been building for months" and that "progressives are now in revolt. Mr. Obama took their trust for granted, and in the process lost it."

Krugman contends that while "the fight over the public option involves real policy substance," it is at least as much "a proxy for broader questions about the president’s priorities and overall approach."

That's the argument I made the other day about why the health care fight is so important regardless of one's views of the public option. The central pledges of the Obama campaign were less about specific policy positions and much more about changing the way Washington works - to liberate political outcomes from the dictates of corporate interests; to ensure vast new levels of transparency in government; to separate our national security and terrorism approaches from the politics of fear. With some mild exceptions, those have been repeatedly violated. Negotiating his health care reform plan in total secrecy and converting it into a gigantic gift to the pharmaceutical and insurance industries - which is exactly what a plan with (1) mandates, (2) no public option and (3) a ban on bulk negotiations for drug prices would be - would constitute yet another core violation of those commitments, yet another bolstering (a major one) of the very power dynamic he vowed to subvert.

Please read the rest here. Suzan ______________________________


Beach Bum said...

I know things have been difficult to say the least since Obama became president with many promises left unfulfilled. But I would be remiss if I didn't point out that for progressives to abandon Obama would be the suicide the republicans so want us to provide them.

Simply put, as you well know, the United States government has for decades, and longer, been bought and paid for by various corporate power types that even owns the souls of even many democrats.

Changing this situation was not something that was going to take place overnight. The sausage making that is politics is undeniably messy and byzantine to the point that it is a wonder any change can happen. I believe Ted Kennedy understood this which is why he stayed in the fight even after Reagan, the republican takeover in 1994, and the "elections" of George W. Bush.

Yeah, lets jump ship and let Romney, Palin, or the Newt take the White House in 2012 and see how much things get done. Obama is far from perfect but right now tell me a strategy without him that will get us progressive victories?

Been a bad couple of weeks and I'm drunk, be back soon.

Suzan said...

I guess you got me, BB.

Except that I'm thinking of actually getting behind a real progressive candidate in the future so that when I'm disappointed next time I won't feel like I was surprised by the seemingly good-guy candidate who accepted all the bankster and insurance money.


Obama is far from perfect but right now tell me a strategy without him that will get us progressive victories?

darkblack said...

'Trust' - interesting, almost quaint word when applied to a political animal. "...'Trust' me to do what I've promised...'Trust' me to honor the laws of my country...'Trust' me to hold the greater good above narrow special interests'...".


Frankly, people should place the evidence obtained by their own eyes and ears at a far higher value then the self-serving chaff dispensed as cover for business as usual.

"Trust"...but verify.


Suzan said...

Thanks, DB,

My thoughts exactly.

As if we could verify in any way other than with our observations of their actions.

I thought Reagan was handing us a bad (read suspicious) line when I first heard him say it, and I can't imagine that you were a fan of his verification promises either.



Liberality said...

I hate it when people say we have no choice. We always have a choice even if it is just to understand why Obama has been such a disapointment so far.

I think we should understand that we are in a class war and that we aren't winning. Until we get that down, we can't begin to move to another place. That is why articles like these are so useful. Shedding light on our current situation, rather than believe the spin, is the first step.

Suzan said...

Thank you, L!

Agreed. And now, on with the show!