Today I received an e-mail from Organizing for America*, the remnants of Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, titled “One year ago.” It’s meant to be nostalgic.
Ah, yes — memories:
It was almost one year ago, on November 4, 2008, that I walked into my neighborhood polling place knowing that I’d vote for either Democrat Barack Obama or independent Ralph Nader, for whom I had voted in 2000 (when he ran for president on the Green Party ticket). Even as I walked through the polling-place door, I still wasn’t 100 percent sure which of the two candidates ultimately would get my vote.
In the end, I ended up darkening, with my black ballpoint pen, the oval next to the name “Barack Obama.” I knew that he’d win California anyway, and in the end I found the opportunity to vote for the nation’s first non-completely-white president to be rather irresistible.
Today, I wish that I had resisted.
Barack Obama has turned out to be pretty much another Bill Clinton — a “centrist.” Which means a coward. An appeaser. A politics-as-usual kinda guy.
There was nothing “centrist” about the eight long years of nightmarish rule by the unelected BushCheneyCorp. When the Repugnicans have the power, they don’t hesitate to use it. Remember when Gee Dubya was “re”-elected in 2004 with only 50.7 percent of the popular vote, but the members of the Bush regime called this a “mandate” from the American people nonetheless?
Here is Obama, having been elected by 53 percent of the people, which by the opposition’s definition, anyway, is a huge ol’ fucking mandate, and here is Obama with both houses of Congress dominated by his party, yet what accomplishments has he made?
That “Saturday Night Live” skit in which Obama reassures his opposition not to worry because thus far into his presidency he’s done nothing — it’s pretty accurate.
While the Democrats, led by the Obama White House, aren’t owning their power, I see that the wingnutty Repugnicans (which, in most cases, is redundant) were even successful in forcing out the Repugnican candidate in a U.S. House of Representatives race in New York state (the special election is on Tuesday and she dropped out of the race yesterday) because they consider her to be too moderate — and I think: Damn, why can’t we progressives force out those “Democrats” who are too moderate?
Instead, we have “Democrats” like Harry Reid and my U.S. senator, Dianne Feinstein, whom I have always thought of as Mrs. Joseph Lieberman.
“Base sends GOP warning shot in NY-23,” a Politico headline reads, and I think, Why isn’t the base firing warning shots at the “Democratic” obstructionists in Washington?
Why can’t we progressives be as aggressive as the wingnuts are? Especially when they’re wrong about just about everything and we’re right about just about everything?
It’s too early to know whether the wingnuts’ victory in New York state in pushing out the Repugnican candidate they deem to be too moderate will help or harm the Repugnican Party in the short term, I suppose, but, it seems to me, pushing out the woman candidate (Diedre Scozzafava) for yet another conservative white male candidate (Doug Hoffman) will harm the Repugnican Party over the long term because, although the stupid white men are trying to fight it, rule by stupid white men is going the way of the dinosaurs in an increasingly diversifying nation.
That Hoffman is running on the “Conservative Party” ticket doesn’t seem to bode well to me. It was when the Southern racists broke off from the Democratic Party, apparently starting with racist Strom Thurmond’s running for president on the “Dixiecrat” ticket in 1948, that the Democratic Party lost the South.
Should the wingnuts succeed in gaining some third-party strength, it seems to me, this will only help the Democratic Party. As The Associated Press notes, in the 1992 presidential election, billionaire businessman Ross Perot’s third-party ticket (the “Reform Party”), which had a bent to the right, won 19 percent of the popular vote; “Perot vastly altered the dynamic of that contest,” the AP notes, adding, “Democrat Bill Clinton was the beneficiary of that three-way contest, taking away the presidency from [Repugnican] George H.W. Bush with just a plurality of the vote.”
Any third party that might emerge over the coming years that comes even close to the success of Perot’s Reform Party in 1992, it seems to me, probably would stem from white angst and thus probably would siphon away Repugnican votes.
That scenario probably wouldn’t give progressives much leverage, however, because the Democratic presidential candidate could win with a plurality, like Bill Clinton did in 1992.
Those of us on the far left and the far right aren’t really represented in Washington, D.C., however, and I’d be fine with a four-party (or multi-party) system: the Democratic Party could be for those who are center-left, the Repugnican Party could be for those who are center-right, the wingnuts could have their own party (the “Conservative Party” or whatever the fuck they want to call it), and we progressives could have our own party, too — the Green Party, preferably.
Or maybe it just needs to be a fight to the bitter end, a (bloodless, hopefully) rematch of the Civil War. That seems to be what those on the far right want, and as a member of the far left, I say: Let’s give that to them.
*Remember when the remnants of Howard Dean’s failed campaign for the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination became Democracy for America? Damn, are the Obama people copycats… They act like Obama did it all on his own, when, in fact, Obama only rode in on the wave that Dean and his supporters created…