Progressive President

So here’s the National & World News page, from this morning’s edition of the Opelika-Auburn News.

Obama signs $633B defense bill

New tax law packed with breaks for business

American missiles kill senior Taliban militant in Pakistan

Progressives and social-justice voters can be thankful — thank goodness we re-elected a Progressive Democrat as President. Just imagine if some Right-wing corporate warmonger got into office. Good God, just imagine what he’d be doing now.

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  1. dennis

    The majority of Democratic voters vote that way so as to say something about themselves (that they know the world is 4.5 billion years old, that they don’t hate gay people, or something of that nature.) Republican voters do the same thing with different statements about themselves. The whole thing is an ugly farce. I might be uncharitable here, but I think for a good portion, perhaps a majority of “social justice” voters, their avowed principles are flimsy masks for an ugly authoritarianism. Obviously one could say as bad or worse about the right, but this post wasn’t about them so I didn’t bother.

  2. kevin

    in 1972, when the democrats had a pacifist as their candidate… george mcgovern…we got SLAUGHTERED IN THE ELECTION…by 49 states… 49 GODDAMN STATES!!!! having george mcgovern be our candidate allowed people to label us as weak on defense FOR DECADES. PBO is president of ALL THE PEOPLE, not just the lefty liberal pacifists. WE SUFFERED since 1972 with the weak moniker… with being called communists. NOT ANY MORE… they still call us communists but they are ignorant…. the “stop socialism” crowd who wouldnt know what socialism was if it smacked them in the face…they will always be against us… but we cant be labeled as WEAK anymore…. PBO ended that dark night (half century) of the soul, for democrats, by being strong, firm and unafraid to use the power of the military… stronger than any republican right wing big talker…including the cowboy president, ‘dubya…… so, the fact that PBO is NOT a pacifist, but, a pragmatist is FINE WITH ME. I’d vote for him to have a 3rd term if i could.

    • JOR

      I wonder if you’re aware of just how thoroughly you’re damning yourself and proving Charles’ point.

      The pragmatist “reality-based” center is worse than the most tyrannical savages of the “right” and “left” combined.

    • Rad Geek

      I am sure it is FINE WITH YOU. And I’m sure it is also fine with the billionaires benefitting from his bail-out corporate welfare state (note e.g. the first headline highlighted in the left-hand column). But perhaps it is less fine with the people in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, etc. that, in order to avoid being metaphorically slaughtered at the polls (i.e., having to go and find a new job) this strong, firm and unafraid Democrat is non-metaphorically slaughtering by shooting missiles into their heads. And I notice that it’s also somewhat less fine with the million plus undocumented immigrants that his pragmatic stormtroopers have pragmatically rounded up and deported from the country. Maybe you think I am supposed to care about your opinions, your political prospects, or the awesome progressive changes you hope to enact more than I care about the opinions, lives or livelihoods of threatened Muslims in a foreign country, or threatened Mexicans in this one. But I don’t know why. Certainly if this is what a Progressive Presidency looks like, — in which the OTHER progressive changes that need to be made have nothing at all to do with curtailing rampaging militarism, corporate bailouts, deportations, police-state measures, etc., but rather require massive escalations of government violence against working-class people, and against the poorest and most marginalized people in the U.S., and against the poorest and most marginalized people around the world, in order to win elections, then I will say that elections cannot possibly achieve the political goals that I hope to achieve. And the idea that the Presidency is worth winning, given what is inevitably and relentlessly done with it once it is won, can go to hell.

    • Rad Geek

      P.S. My goal, of course, is not to urge a repeat of the McGovern campaign, in case you were wondering. My goal is to convince the subset of people who actually care about left-wing values of, say, peace, social equality, anti-militarism, anti-racism, worker solidarity, etc. that no presidential campaign, whether idealist or lethally pragmatist, can possibly get them what they profess to want. If these are things that you care about then they are things that will have to be won by a social struggle that does not depend on, and probably barely even involves, the quest for elected office or political power.

  3. kevin

    because we have to be IN THE WHITEHOUSE to actually effect the OTHER progressive changes that need to be made. if we cant get into the whitehouse because people perceive us as weak on defense in this “terrorism scare” time… what good can we ever do? adults understand this.

  4. Corey

    I’m sorry but Obama isn’t a Progressive. He’s a center-right governing President. He passed the Republican’s health care bill, abandoning the Progressive hopes of at the very least a public option. He’s amped up drone strikes past what the GOP was doing. He’s been open to cutting Social Security and Medicare. He extended the Bush Tax Cuts for 2 years and then has made them permanent from $400,000 down instead of just $250,000. The NDAA is a nightmare. He’s broke his promise on Gitmo. And he’s given the GOP everything they’ve wanted in their “negotiations”. Didn’t go after Wall Street and also stayed silent on the Occupy movement. He’s cracked down on medicinal marijuana. And the only reason he came out in support of marriage equality is because VP Biden did and pretty much forced him to. Not to mention he said that the sequester won’t happen. He’s better than any Republican but we can’t pretend like he’s acted like a Progressive.

    • Rad Geek

      Corey,

      He’s a center-right governing President.

      Yes, you … you may have stumbled upon the point of this post.

      He’s better than any Republican …

      Given the list of things you just told me, and the list of things I highlighted above, and several other things not mentioned here, I don’t think there’s any guarantee of that. He’s completely indistinguishable from a Republican President on most issues, and actively, quantitatively worse than every other President (including every Republican President) on some issues (e.g. his appalling record on deportations). And I don’t think it’s because of anything peculiar about Obama or his ideas. Rather because the office of the Presidency, and the political power structure within which it is embedded, comes with its own set of incentives and its own interests to serve, which are more politically important and more powerfully influential on politicians’ decision-making, than any party platform, political ideology or personal conviction. To become and remain a President, you have to govern in a particular way, and when comparing Democratic Presidents to Republican Presidents, the first, last and most important thing is that the fact that they are President has, over and over again, turned out to be very much more important than the fact that they are Republicans or Democrats.

    • JOR

      None of the stuff you mentioned, except maybe tax cuts, is incompatible with Progressivism. The original Progressives were full spectrum fascists. The modern “right” and “left” are the twin children of that ideology. Both lighten the authoritarian tendencies they inherited from the Progressives with some anti-authoritarian values, but both are still essentially authoritarian.

      You’re right that Obama’s a centrist. Whether he’s center-right or center-left is a question I leave to people who have a dog in that fight. He’s a progressive regardless.

· August 2013 ·

  1. Discussed at radgeek.com

    Rad Geek People's Daily 2013-08-15 – Change You Can Believe In (Vol. V, Nos. 6–8). Wiretaps, Journalists and Drugs.:

    […] when you elect a progressive President, you’re going to find that the fact that he is President is always of much greater practical […]

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