FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Whither Progressive Democrats?

As board members, you are aware that on Jan 31, in the wake of John Edwards’s suspension of his candidacy, the Progressive Democrats of America announced its endorsement of Barack Obama. Appended to the endorsement was the mild qualification that Obama “has not always been a progressive”.

This is not just an understatement, it is an absurdity.

The PDA’s “hopes” notwithstanding, where Obama really stands can be seen by comparing Obama’s stated positions with the PDA’s own seven point “progressive challenge” according to which “candidates should be measured.”

On almost all counts, Obama fails.

For example, the PDA declares that the candidate should “end imperial foreign policy . . . redirecting funding towards needs at home”. Nowhere does Obama provide the slightest hint that he would support anything of the kind. He supports not diminishing but augmenting existing troop levels by 90,000 solidiers. He has at no time made any mention of reducing absurdly bloated defense budgets. His team of foreign policy advisors led by Zbigniew Brzezinski are reliable imperialists fully committed to military force as a first resort as was demonstrated by Obama’s endorsement of strikes in Pakistani regions likely to harbor terrorists.

As for the PDA’s second challenge–“heath care for all”– it is now well known from Paul Krugman’s columns that Obama has been consistent in his rejection of universal healthcare. In this respect, he is to the right of Romney who implemented universal health care as Massachusetts governor.

Krugman also observes more generally that Obama has consistently positioned himself to the right of the major Democratic candidates on questions of “economic justice.” As for the PDA’s specific demands on this score, there is nothing in Obama’s platform which indicates strong support for organized labor or a recognition of the devastating effect of corporate negotiated trade agreements, which Obama has supported.

Having failed on the first three points, it is hardly worth itemizing the remaining areas where Obama fails to rise to the PDA’s challenges.

For ultimately, these are not a reflection of Obama but rather of the PDA itself. Obama, whatever his faults, has run a relatively honest campaign. He has consistently communicated his disdain for the Democratic Party left, issuing thinly coded appeals to “bipartisanship” signaling his willingness to consider extreme right wing policies such as the privatization of social security. Also telling is his support of his Senate mentor Joseph Lieberman and his recent panegyric for Ronald Reagan.

In endorsing Obama, the PDA has shown itself to be precisely what some had feared: the latest entry in a time honored series of bait and switch tactics designed to herd progressives into support of the Democratic Party, holding it out as the only possible vehicle for progressive change. As Obama’s positions and as the Obama presidency will surely demonstrate, yet again this “hope” has shown itself to be a chimera. Most crucially, yet again the left will be forced to confront anew the necessity for organizing independent challenges to the Democrats and will be required build them from scratch.

We sincerely hope you will reconsider lending your names and credibility to an organization which has shown itself, perhaps unwittingly, but increasingly obviously, to be nothing more, or less, than a tool in the hands of the financial, corporate and media elites who own and operate the political system.

Yours Truly,

JOHN HALLE

JOHN HALLE teaches music theory at the Bard College Conservancy. He can be reached at: halle@bard.edu

 

 

 

 

More articles by:

John Halle blogs at Outrages and Interludes. He tweets at: jghalle.

August 16, 2018
Bruce E. Levine
“Don’t Be Stupid, Be a Smarty”: Why Anti-Authoritarian Doctors Are So Rare
W. T. Whitney
New Facebook Alliance Endangers Access to News about Latin America
Sam Husseini
The Trump-Media Logrolling
Ramzy Baroud
Mission Accomplished: Why Solidarity Boats to Gaza Succeed Despite Failing to Break the Siege
Larry Atkins
Why Parkland Students, Not Trump, Deserve the Nobel Peace Prize
William Hartung
Donald Trump, Gunrunner for Hire
Yves Engler
Will Trudeau Stand Up to Mohammad bin Salman?
Barbara Nimri Aziz
Morality Tales in US Public Life?
Vijay Prashad
Samir Amin: Death of a Marxist
Binoy Kampmark
Boris Johnson and the Exploding Burka
Eric Toussaint
Nicaragua: The Evolution of the Government of President Daniel Ortega Since 2007 
Adolf Alzuphar
Days of Sagebrush, Nights of Jasmine in LA
Robert J. Burrowes
A Last Ditch Strategy to Fight for Human Survival
August 15, 2018
Jason Hirthler
Russiagate and the Men with Glass Eyes
Paul Street
Omarosa’s Book Tour vs. Forty More Murdered Yemeni Children
Charles Pierson
Is Bankruptcy in Your Future?
George Ochenski
The Absolute Futility of ‘Global Dominance’ in the 21st Century
Gary Olson
Are We Governed by Secondary Psychopaths
Fred Guerin
On News, Fake News and Donald Trump
Arshad Khan
A Rip Van Winkle President Sleeps as Proof of Man’s Hand in Climate Change Multiplies and Disasters Strike
P. Sainath
The Unsung Heroism of Hausabai
Georgina Downs
Landmark Glyphosate Cancer Ruling Sets a Precedent for All Those Affected by Crop Poisons
Rev. William Alberts
United We Kneel, Divided We Stand
Chris Gilbert
How to Reactivate Chavismo
Kim C. Domenico
A Coffeehouse Hallucination: The Anti-American Dream Dream
August 14, 2018
Daniel Falcone
On Taking on the Mobilized Capitalist Class in Elections: an Interview With Noam Chomsky
Karl Grossman
Turning Space Into a War Zone
Jonah Raskin
“Fuck Wine Grapes, Fuck Wines”: the Coming Napafication of the World
Manuel García, Jr.
Climate Change Bites Big Business
Alberto Zuppi - Cesar Chelala
Argentina at a Crossroads
Chris Wright
On “Bullshit Jobs”
Rosita A. Sweetman
Dear Jorge: On the Pope’s Visit to Ireland
Binoy Kampmark
Authoritarian Revocations: Australia, Terrorism and Citizenship
Sara Johnson
The Incredible Benefits of Sagebrush and Juniper in the West
Martin Billheimer
White & Red Aunts, Capital Gains and Anarchy
Walter Clemens
Enough Already! Donald J. Trump Resignation Speech
August 13, 2018
Michael Colby
Migrant Injustice: Ben & Jerry’s Farmworker Exploitation
John Davis
California: Waging War on Wildfire
Alex Strauss
Chasing Shadows: Socialism Won’t Go Away Because It is Capitalism’s Antithesis 
Kathy Kelly
U.S. is Complicit in Child Slaughter in Yemen
Fran Shor
The Distemper of White Spite
Chad Hanson
We Know How to Protect Homes From Wildfires. Logging Isn’t the Way to Do It
Faisal Khan
Nawaz Sharif: Has Pakistan’s Houdini Finally Met his End?
Binoy Kampmark
Trump Versus Journalism: the Travails of Fourth Estate
Wim Laven
Honestly Looking at Family Values
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail