READER COMMENTS ON
"A Democratic Primary Challenge to Obama?"
(18 Responses so far...)
COMMENT #1 [Permalink]
said on 8/3/2011 @ 1:22 pm PT...
Thank God people are finally speaking up about a challenge to Obama.
COMMENT #2 [Permalink]
Ernest A. Canning
said on 8/3/2011 @ 1:50 pm PT...
What is this "split the Party" crap? The question assumes that an incumbent President has some God-given right to the nomination of his Party for re-election.
If a President betrays the rank-and-file of a Party by betraying the fundamental principles upon which membership in that Party is based, then that President does not deserve the nomination.
The issue is one of democratic choice. 78% of the American people opposed the cuts in Medicare and favor increased taxes on the wealthy. 60% of the American people (7 in 10 Democrats) favor an immediate end to the war in Afghanistan.
It seems to me that a truly progressive Democratic candidate whose policies are in line with the will of the electorate, as opposed to a corporate-pleasing and spineless sell-out, would have a far greater chance of winning the White House in 2012--and backed up by like-minded candidates--a far greater chance of recapturing control of the House.
COMMENT #3 [Permalink]
Ernest A. Canning
said on 8/3/2011 @ 1:59 pm PT...
Raw Story reports that “Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) said Thursday that President Barack Obama 'absolutely' ought to face a Democratic primary challenge from the left in 2012, predicting it would make him ‘stronger’." But Kucinich ruled himself out as that challenger.
So, in line with my harkening back to 1968, can we get RFK Jr. to step forward to complete the task his father would have carried out but for an assassin's bullet?
COMMENT #4 [Permalink]
Ernest A. Canning
said on 8/3/2011 @ 4:01 pm PT...
Brad: Just to clarify matters in light of your KPFK comments.
I did not propose a progressive primary challenge to "broaden the debate" or "strengthen the President's chances through that debate."
I proposed a progressive primary challenge because, in a democratic society, the People are entitled to chose between candidates who represent their interests and those who do not.
I am proposing that someone who truly represents the interests of the American people run and, hopefully, defeat an incumbent President who does not, period!
COMMENT #5 [Permalink]
said on 8/3/2011 @ 4:17 pm PT...
"I am proposing that someone who truly represents the interests of the American people run and, hopefully, defeat an incumbent President who does not, period!"
That is exactly what I would like to see happen!
COMMENT #6 [Permalink]
said on 8/3/2011 @ 4:34 pm PT...
I just worry that there won't be anyone with the name recognition that will challenge him. If a person who possesses the attributes that Ernie describes does emerge, and has enough notoriety to be noticed, it's probable that the D establishment will ostracize them. The media will definitely go to town on this person too, look at the way they treat Nader.
There's another thing here, too. Not to get too racial, but if the person in question is a white male, there's a real chance that he and his supporters will be tagged as racists for challenging the first black prez. Probably tough for a white female too.
So yeah, I agree in principle with Ernie, but it will be a very tough sell unless the perfect candidate is found. Someone willing to risk being demonized and ostracized and at the same time face a very small chance of getting the nomination.
COMMENT #7 [Permalink]
Ernest A. Canning
said on 8/3/2011 @ 5:14 pm PT...
I think that the effort to ostracize is already in play, Hankydub. During Brad's discussion with Karen Bernal on KPFK there was a discussion about the CA Democratic Party "punishing" the Progressive Caucus for its vote.
We the people have to turn that around. We must reject the idea that political parties are top down organizations that can demand loyalty from below. That is fundamentally at odds with the tenets of a democratic society.
The prospect of a choice between a right wing fundamentalist bent on feudal autocracy and a corporate Dem who will provide an incremental surrender of our liberty, our health, our environment and our democracy is no choice at all.
Fundamental change can be realized only when a democratic people unite behind a true progressive who is willing not only to challenge the incumbent President but the unsustainable and untenable doctrine which permits the richest one percent of our citizens to exert near total control over the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government.
COMMENT #8 [Permalink]
said on 8/3/2011 @ 5:53 pm PT...
Candidate Obama was quite clear that he needed to be guided by an involved citizenry to make things happen. Of course, that now seems like one of a million things he didn't really seem to mean, but I think this would be a great way to try to jar some sense into the fellow.
COMMENT #9 [Permalink]
Ernest A. Canning
said on 8/3/2011 @ 6:00 pm PT...
In Obama's Compromising Stirs Talk of Dem Primary Challenge; Bernie Sanders Says It's a 'Good Idea', The Nation reports:
A new CNN/ORC International Poll confirms the phenomenon. The number of Americans who say they disapprove of the president’s performance because he is not liberal enough has doubled since May
Oh, as always, David Lasagna makes an important point.
But, if we had a true progressive leader, we would not have to "jar some sense into the fellow." He/she would not have to be pushed to do the right thing. He/she would "lead" the nation towards democracy, peace, equality, environmental integrity, and application of the rule of law to all, including the billionaire thieves on Wall Street.
COMMENT #10 [Permalink]
said on 8/3/2011 @ 8:30 pm PT...
Although it absolutely breaks my heart to agree with everyone here regarding a primary of Prez O, sadly i have been thinking it is what will be needed since almost 1 1/2 years ago now. We need a massive FDR size congressional delegation too!!
Regarding Mr. Canning's remark, "So, in line with my harkening back to 1968, can we get RFK Jr. to step forward to complete the task his father would have carried out but for an assassin's bullet?" ~ This has been precisely my thinking whenever i am trying to dream up who would have everything we need in one person & imho, i believe RFK Jr. would be PERFECTION!
COMMENT #11 [Permalink]
said on 8/3/2011 @ 8:55 pm PT...
an ex heroin junkie who has never held or even ran for ANY public office? Curious.
In this dimension I do not believe an animal called perfection exists, but for ME, the closest thing is the warrior I voted for last time,
Cynthia Ann McKinney
Someone with the balls to call the Zio-Nazis on their bullshit. Talk about walking the walk. On boats to Gaza.....weeks inside Libya denouncing the illegal imperial assault while the bombs are flying....on Libyan TV
Not afraid to question nine eleven, or any other topic most "progressives" are too chicken shit to even quietly think about to themselves.
Our planet needs fighters. Get in the streets game changers, not milk toast trust funders and keyboard warriors.
COMMENT #12 [Permalink]
said on 8/6/2011 @ 7:57 am PT...
I agree with most of the progressive complaints with Obama, but real world politics call for strategic decision making. Please let's not risk a Romney (or Perry!) presidency. No more Nadars please! Incidentally, I believe Obama will shift a bit to the left if he wins a second term.
COMMENT #13 [Permalink]
Ernest A. Canning
said on 8/6/2011 @ 9:08 am PT...
Eli @12 wrote:
Please let's not risk a Romney (or Perry!)
Ah, the lesser-evil paradigm rears its ugly head. But is it rational? Why would having a Democratic candidate whose policy positions are supported by the vast majority of Americans (e.g., 60% of Americans favor an immediate end to the war in Afghanistan; 60% favor a single-payer health care system; 78% are opposed to cuts in Medicare and the vast majority support ending the Bush tax cuts for billionaires) create a greater likelihood of a GOP victory than having a President who has taken the wrong side on all those issues as the Democratic nominee?
Eli next states:
I believe Obama will shift a bit to the left if he wins a second term.
Yes, and you probably believed Obama in 2008 when he promised to be the "change we can believe in."
Compare your "belief" to Kucinich Says Obama Got the Deal He Wanted
With all due respect, Eli, your "belief" amounts to blind faith --- hardly a reliable basis for casting one's vote.
COMMENT #14 [Permalink]
said on 8/6/2011 @ 11:28 pm PT...
Mr. Canning, I'm surprised that you think the solution is merely to put better people (in terms of politics and, I'm assuming, personal integrity and competence) in office. Will it really take the failure of that strategy on a massive scale to wake you up to how misguided it is? Just as political parties can't be top down, neither can a society. True democracy - economic, political, social - is, while still not some kind of magic bullet to cure all woes, I think more what you're looking for. Instead of just replacing one person, we must recognize that these problems we see are systematic, then work from there.
COMMENT #15 [Permalink]
Ernest A. Canning
said on 8/7/2011 @ 5:30 pm PT...
Re Ross @14:
Who said anything about replacing one person as the beat all to end all?
Of course we are faced with systemic dysfunction brought on by a global corporate autocracy that is devoted to inequality. Of course fundamental change requires a multidimensional strategy, which, of necessity, requires economic as well as political democracy.
But the topic at hand deals with the most powerful political office on earth. It deals with the right of a People in a democratic society to make a choice as to who occupies that office based on whether the individual represents their interests as opposed to those who represent the corporate security state.
So, I'm afraid, Ross, that in claiming there is "no magic bullet", you've raised a straw man that is not germane to anything I've written on this topic.
COMMENT #16 [Permalink]
said on 8/8/2011 @ 9:43 pm PT...
I commend Mr. Canning's idealism in espousing the view that the nomination can be taken from Obama but it's unrealistic. The President deserves criticism for continuing Bush's economic and military policies and I am not defending this. But Obama did say very early on in his first term to progressives - "make me", asking for ground-up support for change that never came and instead went the other way - the voters didn't even hold the House or state legislatures in the midterms.
Obama eats (most of) his own words: "I believe in a tax code that we need to make more fair. I believe in universal health care. I believe in making college affordable. I believe in paying our teachers more money. I believe in early childhood education. I believe in a whole lot of things that make me progressive."
We are therefore not fighting Obama - he is a smart, savvy candidate playing electoral politics. He could do what's progressive, what's ethical, what's just, fair - or he could win reelection in a system that encourages 80% of campaign money and effort going into about sixteen key swing states.
He is running as an amalgam of a RINO/DINO so he can beat the other guy and no amount of moral philosophizing can change what his campaign strategy will need to be to get those electoral votes.
Is he better than the Republican? Maybe 20-30% in my mind. What came first, the chicken or the egg? He started to go wobbly on issues like FISA and hawk-talk in 2005, but it made him more and more popular.
Obamacare is barely tolerable, but it took literally every vote in the House and Senate to squeeze that sh!tty bill through using reconciliation. Liz Warren, Goodwin Liu, Van Jones were all run out on a rail. Is Obama the problem or a symptom? I believe the problem is money in elections and media, but that's just me.
So make your protest vote if you must - especially if you are not in a swing state. But the "lesser evil" voters will be reliably be held hostage and taken for granted in the quest for the undecided independent.
I'm sorry to point this out, but tens of thousands may have died in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere because of a few thousand "spoiler" votes for Nader in 2004. Would Kerry have pulled out, drawn down? Who knows - he wouldn't even challenge his own election fraud.
Instead of waiting for a savior to float in to the White House who will be impervious to corporate blackmail, who will defy the banks, who will resist the extortion of lobbies, big pharma, defense and all the SIGs and PACs who outraise the grassroots exponentially, progressives need to produce numbers and strength on their own. In fact, I'd say Congress and state legislatures at this point might be a better aim because they are tipping the other way just now and change MUST come from the ground up anyway.
COMMENT #17 [Permalink]
said on 8/9/2011 @ 11:24 pm PT...
Democratic Primary challengers, yes, pleeeaaase.
We can't have four more years of this be our only alternative to the kind of civil unrest England is now experiencing.
COMMENT #18 [Permalink]
said on 8/13/2011 @ 12:04 pm PT...
There is an organization called the New Progressive Alliance which hopes to field a challenger to Obama (www.newprogs.org). They state on their welcome: "We not only support a primary election challenge to Barack Obama in 2012, but will endorse an Independent or third-party candidate to oppose both corporatist marionettes in the general election."
I happen to believe that ANY challenge is worthwhile. Having Franklin Roosevelt XXIV would be nice, but even a no-name would establish their name by dint of stepping into the ring.