Barack Obama rode a wave of “Hope” into the White House. It was bolstered with a heavy dose of “Change” and a “Reason to Believe.” Having just helped, in 2006, to put the Democrats back in control of the Congress after twelve long years in the DLC/Blue Dog wilderness, Progressives, Liberals, Union members and the Youth of America were ready for “Big Ideas” and “No More Wars.” It was not to be. The Obama administration made some progress around the edges but the crucial issues remained the same as under the Bush administration.
The Iraq, Afghanistan, Drug and Trade Wars dragged on endlessly. The Healthcare Insurance companies remained in control of our health and well-being, not to mention our bank accounts. Wall Street remained on the loose and unrepentant. Slowly, hope faded into despair, anger and apathy. Yet, for those of us who had taken the time to get to know our new President through his past record, there was no disappointment. He remains a center-right Democrat who has always gone out of his way to compromise with conservatives. Obama believes that is the right thing to do. The question then is, was he disingenuous when he used the Progressive language of “Hope” to win his election? I do not think so, because to him, and his men and women, it was only a campaign tactic not a promise or an ideal to be delivered and made real. Now, they have a new campaign tactic ~ “Fear.”
Rather than continue to lift the citizen’s perspective through “Hope, Change and Believe,” the President’s team has moved to “Fear, Pragmatics and Censure.” Today, there are no lofty ideas emanating from the DNC or the 2012 re-election headquarters. Instead, they have been replaced by chilling reminders of, “The Republicans and the Tea Party are on the Crazy Train ~ be afraid, be very afraid!” Bolstering the timorous chant they cry, “You may not like the fact that we did not even fight for the Public Option, but those Crazy Right-Wingers want to end Medicare!”
And capping it all, they offer a closing chorus in this cynical “Campaign of Fear” that goes like this, “If you criticize Obama then you are aiding and abetting the enemy!” My my my, how far we have fallen from the idealistic tones of yesteryear’s “Audacity of Hope.” The Democratic Party is no longer playing to win they are playing not to lose and that is a sure-fire way to lose in any endeavor.
We do not have to wonder where the DNC and Obama 2012 came up with this “Campaign of Fear.” They got it from Frank Luntz and the Madison Avenue FOX news think tank. It is the same campaign that the right-wing apparatus, in all of its many onerous iterations, has been waging against the Democrats since Obama’s election. It is the tactic that the NeoCon, Neoliberal and Crony Corporate Extraction Capitalist machine have been honing for 70 years ~ “Scare the hell out of’em and they will do what you tell them to!”
Now, the smartest people in the room at the top of the Democratic Party have bought the nasty medicine and are putting it to use themselves. This is an extremely shortsighted strategy necessitated by not following through on the campaign promises and platform of 2008. The disenchanted base, which feels cheated by the administration and the Democrats in Congress, are not buying it. Fear will not work with us. We know the other side is whacked, but we wonder why Obama talks to them and not to us, deals with them and not us. So, what could the President’s advisors do to turn this failing situation around?
How about going back to being “Liberal Democrats?” That would be a damned good start. What about going to the “Left” and not the “Right” on major issues of the day? That would be refreshing. Here is a list of the initiatives that the White House could go for without the need for the Republican House to approve.
The President could withdraw more troops much faster from all wars. The administration could declare that if any state (California, for example) wants to pass “Single Payer Healthcare” that they will grant the waiver to do so. The President could change the debate to “Monetary” instead of “Fiscal” policy since the problem is monetary not fiscal policy or the ostensible debt crisis trumpeted by the IMF. The SEC could get a spine and actively prosecute the perpetrators of the Wall Street financial crisis. The Justice Department could file suit to force cable companies to allow competition over their wires into homes, under the “Common Carrier Law” that was used to breakup railroad and telephone monopolies – creating more democratization of information. The White House could sign an executive order demanding that contractors with business deals with the Federal government disclose their political donations. The Justice Department could investigate the plethora of new voter suppression laws across the nation. The FDA could allow for importation of cheaper pharmaceuticals from Canada.
You get the picture. President Obama could get his “mojo” back by doing what he said he was going to do. Thus, restoring “Hope, Change and a Reason to Believe.”
So, all of you DNC members sending out the scary links to right-wing racist’s hate websites and Obama loyalist talking heads admonishing the Progressives for daring to challenge the President and his administration, save your time and breath. We are not afraid of anyone. We cannot be motivated by fear, hate and loathing. We want bold, positive, progressive proposals made into the law of the land. We reserve the right to critique the policy of any elected official and have the temerity to demand the same benefits for our families that elected officials get for free from us.
Liberate your inner Progressive Mr. President. Tell your followers to put a smile on their face and accept the criticism from the members of the Democratic Party; a Party with a tradition of sincere interest and good will fostered by free speech. Lighten up. Go back to the beginning of your term where everything was possible. Believe that by challenging the status quo establishment instead of becoming part of it that we will have your back, because we will. Barack – do not let your “Hope Fade to Fear.” We have not. You can count on us and you can count on this – hell or high water – the change is gonna come, one day, the change is gonna come…
Valley Dems United
Republished by permission from Margie Murray, Valley Dems United editor.