Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Revolt from the Left Against Obama

The progressives within the Democratic party are throwing in the towel. They are tired of a supposed "Democratic" president who is more Republican in his policies than a fair portion of the Republican caucus.

Here is a bit from an article by Glenn Greenwald in Salon magazine:
Meanwhile, the latest Gallup poll shows that the President's approval rating among self-identified "liberals" has dropped to 70% -- the lowest it has been in many months (which means, of course, that 30% of liberals refuse to express approval for the Democratic President). Other polls have found similarly large quantities of dissatisfaction: "Nearly half of [Obama's] own base -- 45 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents -- want someone to challenge him for the Democratic nomination . . . Among pro-Democratic voters who want him challenged: pluralities of women, voters younger than 45, and those without a college degree."

... it's hard to imagine those numbers going anywhere but down as the realization sets in that it is the President who, now by his own admission, has been working hard to cut Social Security and Medicare benefits, and as the President increasingly pursues what is clearly his 2012 strategy: casting himself as a trans-partisan centrist ...


That level of progressive commitment to Obama's candidacy was vital to his victory in 2008, and its absence could be crippling in 2012 (a dependency on Wall Street cash even greater than 2008 can only take one so far). Wasn't that one obvious lesson of 2010: the central role base enthusiasm plays in election outcomes?

Democratic Party supporters can try to put a happy face on this problem by citing approval ratings, but it only masks the serious problem of intense dissatisfaction and lack of enthusiasm (Matt Yglesias and others, for instance, touted a poll from Netroots Nation finding 80% approval for Obama as evidence that the base loves the President, studiously ignoring the much more significant fact that only 27% "strongly approved" of Obama in that poll, while 53% approved only "somewhat," and 20% expressed some form of disapproval [strong or somewhat]: a poll of hard-core Democratic activists that finds that only 27% "strongly approve" of their own Party's president is hardly some sign of a healthy relationship with the base: quite the opposite).


Columbia University's Jeffrey Sachs has an excellent assessment of the role both parties are playing in America's decline, along with their competition as to who can be more subservient to Wall Street; he concludes: "America needs a third-party movement to break the hammerlock of the financial elites. Until that happens, the political class and the media conglomerates will continue to spew lies, American militarism will continue to destabilize a growing swath of the world, and the country will continue its economic decline." I highly recommend Sachs' entire article.
It is pretty clear to me that the Democratic party should split into left and centre/right. With that choice, perhaps the crazy right that is the Republican party will disappear since it is clearly a party of fanatics not willing to take the responsibility of governing seriously.

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