Repudiating Liberalism or Obama
We’re coming up on the midterms, and the Republicans are cruising. Odds are very high that they will retake the House, there is an outside chance they will retake the Senate. This is being spun as, is being seen as, a repudiation of liberalism and progressivism.
Back in early 2009 I told others in the blogosphere that we had to come out against Obama. And by early, I mean late January. The reason was simple enough: having seen what he did on TARP and then seeing his stimulus bill, I knew for a fact that he wasn’t going to fix the economy. His “negotiating” strategy, if it was that, indicated he wasn’t going to take Republicans on, and that he was either spineless or essentially a right winger, just not crazy right wing.
Given these facts, it was clear that his policies were going to be seen to fail. Quibble all you want about the stimulus, the bottom line is that it didn’t kick the economy out of the recession (in large part due to the bail out the banks policy which TARP symbolized, even if it was not the largest part of that policy.)
If Obama was seen as liberal, and his policies then failed, liberalism would be discredited. It must be made clear, starting as soon as possible, that he was not a liberal and that liberals and progressives repudiated him. A few people doing it in 2010, mostly half-heartedly, when he had already been seen to fail, simply looks like rats deserting a sinking ship, as it did when conservatives in 2007 started saying Bush wasn’t actually a conservative.
I lost that argument. Frankly, opinion leaders aren’t willing to take those risks. They saw that Obama was popular with the base, that everyone was still in “hope without reason” mode, and even when they agreed (and some did) that his policies were a failure, that he’d betray unions, that he was going to be a disaster on civil rights, they wouldn’t do it. “The audience isn’t there yet.”
The art of opinion leadership had become “see where the mob is going, get out in front and pretend you lead them there.”
So be it.
What is done is done. What needs to be done is this. The liberal wing of the Democratic party must be SEEN to take out Obama. There must be a primary challenge. If there is not, liberalism will be discredited for at least a decade, time America cannot afford, since liberal solutions work and conservative solutions, whether pushed by right wing Dems or Republicans, don’t.
Are you a liberal first, or a Democrat? You can’t be both.
The Lesser Evil Argument: I’ll discuss the fear-monger “Republicans are so bad” defense of supporting Dems no matter what at greater length in a later post, for now, the short version is this: Republicans ARE going to to win again, Dems are not going to stay in charge for 20 years. If Dems don’t do the right things when they can, the country will still slide into ruin. The status quo of Dems moving slightly to the right, then Republicans rocketing to the right leads America to ruin. All “Dems at all costs” partisans are doing is making the process go on somewhat longer. That’s fine if you’re 70, or younger and in really bad health, but if you don’t expect to die soon, all you’re doing is putting off the catastrophic meltdown of America, not doing what is necessary to stop it from occurring.)