For the past few days, progressive Democrats on Twitter were treated to the spectre of "mainstream" Democrats (that's an uppercase D, certainly not lowercase) verbally attacking them with the same intensity and hostility they usually reserve for teabaggers. The attacks varied in intensity from a paternalistic, "I know better than you", from people who are barely wet behind the ears, all the way to full bore, foaming at the mouth rants, complete with liberal use of the F-bomb. These attacks have one thing in common, they accuse progressives of dividing the party and always claim that progressive bickering will cost the party re-elections and put Republicans in office.
To all of the delusional folks who think that progressives are as harmful to the Democratic party as the teabaggers just because we feel that the President and many of his advisors are diluting the change he promised during his campaign, rather than serving it straight-up, get real! I feel that palpable harm to the Democratic party is caused by many of it's politicians' tacitly supporting the Republican agenda by virtue of their own intentional lack of consensus. After all, politicians from BOTH parties get frequent visits from the same corporate lobbyists. This is an issue that has to be addressed by everyone who calls him or herself a progressive. We have to do lots of soul searching.
In one sense, we owe our vociferous friends a vote of thanks for clarifying where we stand in the Democratic party and for opening up a gigantic can of worms. Over the next couple of weeks, I am going to explore the situation in depth. We will take a historical look at the post Reagan (yes, I said post Reagan) Democratic party to illustrate some shocking things. We (you and I) are also going to come up with a game plan that gets us on the right course.
To those "Democrats" who rant on Twitter and blindly support the party, even when it ignores the issues that traditionally define democratic thinking, I say to you - Strap yourself in, you're in for a bumpy ride!" Oh, there's one more thing; progressives don't whine, we get things done like getting Barack Obama elected, for example.
Mr. President, I am going to give you some unsolicited free advice. You were elected based on your campaign that pointed out many of the failures of the previous administration and some glaring shortcomings of the American system. When you point out a problem, the implication is that you are prepared to fix it. In other words, if you point it out, you own it.
Pointing out many of those problems can get you elected, but can also be like opening up Pandora's box. You have reminded and, in some cases awakened people to some major inequities in the American system:
To the fact that two percent of the US population control most of the wealth.
To the fact that banks and Wall Street had a party during the Bush administration. To the fact that our health care system sacrifices the heath of many of our citizens to allow others to profit.
If you can't fix those problems, the Republicans and other Right Wing elements will use them against you. Right Wing talk show hosts have openly said that they want you to fail:
You can guarantee failure by seeking a bipartisan solution to those issues. The Republicans will not profit by your success and are willing to take our country down the drain to get back in power.
You can guarantee failure by seeking the approval of the Blue Dogs, they are Republicans dressed up as Democrats.
You can guarantee failure by continuing to court the independent voter at the expense of the principals that got you elected in the first place.
I am a Progressive Democrat and a Progressive radio talk show host, I want you to succeed. In case you don't realize it by now, we were your core supporters during your Presidential campaign. Out of necessity, you had to court unaffiliated voters and disgruntled Republicans. But, to be honest with you, what hurts us the most is when, in the name of bipartisanism, you classify us as the extreme left side of the political spectrum. The take away from this, for ALL Democrats is that you can't be all thing to all people and expect to get re-elected.