Sunday, November 23, 2008

On Glenn Greenwald's Post of 11/23

On his Salon blog today, Greenwald wrote about the disappointment progressives are feeling with the Obama appointments so far. Give it a looksee.

For the most part, I agree with Greenwald. Obama never presented himself as a Progressive, and according to Greenwald, although Markos Moulitsas suggested that "progressives refrain from endorsing or supporting any of the Democratic candidates unless they work for that support, make promises and concessions important to the progressive agenda," progressives ignored that advice and just assumed that Obama was on our side because he is the antithesis of the Bush Administration.

But here's the thing. If you wanted a true progressive candidate, Dennis Kucinich was your man. Am I wrong on this? But Kucinich couldn't raise two nickels to rub together. I am on the Kuchinich list and he had a fundraising plan. To raise $50 million, he sent out a campaign message asking one million people to donate $50. I thought this was a great plan. Surely, there are many more than a million progressives in the country - $50 million should be easy. I sent him $50.00... and then never heard a word about it. There was no fundraising thermostat, no talk about it during his few appearances with the mainstream media. Nothing. Kucinich never got the support of the progressives, at least not monetarily.

So the liberals and progressives who thought that in Barack Obama they were going to get a popular Dennis Kucinich, they were just fooling themselves. Not to say that Obama doesn't have any liberal tendencies. And this is where I disagree with Glenn.

"...Barack Obama is a centrist, establishment politician. That is what he has been since he's been in the Senate, and more importantly, it's what he made clear -- both explicitly and through his actions -- that he intended to be as President."
While it may be true that Obama didn't let the "left" dictate his moves as McCain let the religious conservative wing call all the shots (as qualified by his decision making processes), I don't believe that Obama is a centrist. He may lean towards the center, but I truly believe it's from the left side. And I completely disagree with David Sirota's following statement:

"...we live in a culture that now organizes around celebrity - and Obama knew it, and knew that lots of left organizations aren't really ideological - they are, if anything, organized around the Democratic Party and Bush hatred. So he basically figured out that if he could become a celebrity - and a Democratic Bush-hating one - he could swallow up a huge part of the 'progressive infrastructure' and organize it around him..."

To come to the conclusion that Obama's campaign strategy was to be the celebrity candidate and dismiss basically every speech he gave, every policy plan he articulated, is so cynical that it's too much for me to accept. Is Sirota saying that McCain's "celebrity" ads were more grounded in truth than previously thought? I find that ridiculous.

There will always be someone who is disappointed in decisions that the future administration will make, but when has any administration ever been able to please everyone? And you'd think after reading the blogs these past three weeks since the election and listening to the pundits, that it's all over for Obama even before he takes office.

Now maybe I'm being naive, and Greenwald and Sirota are far more intelligent than I'll ever be, but as I was saying to a friend of mine during one of our many glass half full/half empty debates, it's going to take a long time to reverse the destruction left in the wake of Hurricane W. And for the pendulum to swing back to the left, it's going to have to travel through the center. Once the moderates see that leaning to the left may actually work, they may be more inclined in that direction as well. It's the boiling frog theory. If we slowly move back to the left with a ride through the center along the way, a lot more may be accomplished. But if we try an Evel Knievel rocket launch toward the left, we might just fall into Snake River Canyon.

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