Monday, April 18

A Listener Writes....

Dear Professional Left Podcast:

Should I be offended much by all that people are saying about Obama being "back" ??  I find it funny and suspicious that Obama suddenly became someone we might be able to like after he announced his reelection campaign.  It's amazing to me that people can talk about how awesome he is after he continuously hits them.  He isn't a centrist.  When you look at his record, he is a Rockefeller Republican.  All of what he has actually done is very much Rockefeller Republican.  Why is no one talking about how "Gee, isn't that interesting that he is suddenly telling us what we want to hear right when he needs our money..."  Seriously.  Look at what he is doing.  He isn't fighting for the liberals/progressives.  Why should we support him?  Who should we support?

A listener to the podcast

Dear Listener:

suddenly telling us what we want to hear right when he needs our money.

He's not telling us what we want to hear, he's telling us what Sherrod Brown told him to say.  And Sherrod Brown knows that no one will vote for Medicare killers.  

This is not about us.  We're irrelevant.  

But guess what?  Obama is irrelevant, too.  

We progressives have to be careful to remember that this is not about Obama, who will be gone in six years or less.  This is about us.  Are we going to be about how no one in the White House is good enough for us, or are we building something bigger and longer lasting than one administration?

I don't focus so much on Obama because frankly, as far as Presidents go he's all we've got.  It's not that he's better than Bush -- it's that in the long run he is just one more administration we've had to hold accountable to liberal values.  That is such as it ever was.  

I know it makes a lot of people on our side feel jolly to diss Barack as some sort of massive traitor.  But they're rewriting history because saying "Obama is a centrist ahole" is just as easy as saying "Fuck Bush" and it turns out those progressives don't have much else other than a constant state of aggrieved righteousness.   Obama was my FIFTH choice for the Democratic nomination.  Hillary was SIXTH.  

Sigh.  So it's not about who should we support but WHAT.  Union issues, elder care, education, infrastructure.  Pick something, make it local, write to your paper (because old people still read tree killing stuff and they vote) write a blog, give money, shout in the streets, fight the power.  And remember that the muckrakers did all that a hundred years ago and oh, don't get me started on what a fucking corporate shill Woodrow Wilson was. 

Best, and thanks for your letter,

Fran / BG


  1. well, Blue Gal you and your ilk are in the pickle barrel now. Will you stand up for principles and vote this bum out, or will you take another drink of the kool aid and vote again out of political expedency for the "Rockerfeller Republican?"
    Liberals have no morals so the decision will be easy I imagine ....

  2. Ralph Nadar is the man. 2012 is the Year of Nadar. Vote Nadar. because that will get us where we want to go.

  3. I'm with you Bluegal.

    Do I have problems with the President and his administartion. OH YEAH... Huge ones. Anyone who has read my blog can see that, and I will continue to photoshop Obama into a care bear outfit and scream into the malstrom about his Pro-War-on-Terror and Pro-Wall-Street policies. But I will not piss another eight years away to the fascists on the right because of those problems.

    Our nation has to out-live the Boomers if we're going to stand a chance of surviving, and the only way to do that now is to hold the line any way we can and trust that the younger generation will push forward with their own liberal ideals. I'm not entirely sure there will be a country left for them to rebuild if we don't hold here.

    I don't support the President for his pretty speeches, or out of misplaced hero worship. I support him because, like it or not, he's our guy right now. (And I"ll be damned if anyone beats up on our guy, that's my job!) I support him because my kids deserve better than another George W. Bush.

  4. Sandy, Golly, is Nadar the raider still alive? Shake the grit out of yer knickers. Ain't Ralph the one who handed Bush the last election by some folks reckoning. Ya'll really want to go down that path agin? Where's that you wanna get to, perdition? Think agin! This here country is a two party affair. Any fool who thinks different ain't livin in the real world, believe me. The Tea Party: a wholly own subsidiary of the Repugnacan Mafia. Vote the party and not the person. On a local level, vote all those freshman repugs out on their hind ends. And Bodhi, you can keep yer principles! See how far they git ya!

  5. Anonymous1:08 PM

    Yeah, Obama's our guy, and I guess we're stuck with him - even though I fantasize about someone challenging him in the primaries! As long as we've got a two-party system, a vote for Nader is a vote for the Repubs.

    But hey, if Obama's listening to Sherrod Brown, that's all good. I would totally work for Sherrod. (Hmm - I WILL work for Sherrod in '12, because his Senate seat is far from safe.) Sherrod is awesomest, and we can only hope he's got Obama's ear.

    In the meantime, we've got to defeat Ohio's dreadful anti-union bill, S.B. 5. That ought to keep me out of trouble.

  6. '...saying "Obama is a centrist ahole" is just as easy as saying "Fuck Bush"' And not nearly as satisfying.


    That said, many American progressives will simply have to come to terms with the painful fact that A), there are only two viable federal political flavors to choose from, and B) they both suck.
    Anderson, Perot, Nader, on and forth...all of them quixotic sideshows that leeched votes and attention while they (perhaps inadvertently, but I doubt it) benefited the bipartisan kabuki.

    The U.S. has as a population component a vast amorphous blob of knee-jerk simpletons who have been conditioned from cradle to grave into believing that there is nothing fundamentally wrong with American exceptionalism and f*cking the other guy over on the deal as long as God is on your side.

    These people pull their levers every few years for the party that subjectively screws them the least - wrong or wronger - and progressives should be targeting that group for desired ideological change and subsequent pressure on elected dogsbodies, rather than pinning their presto-hope-o-change-o on some 3rd party alternative to the entire corrupt process, an alternative which newly empowered corporate personhoods will smother in the crib anyway.


  7. Anonymous9:43 PM

    I'm with ya, 'Gal. Politicians come and go, and when they come they're all righteous and good, and when they go they're corporate whores just like the ones they replaced. This f**ked up system will do that to a body.

    But the ideas, the principles are always worth fighting for, and not least among them are the concepts of the common good, which ought to appeal to the whole rational middle of us, and Noblesse Oblige, which must be levered onto the wealthy with whatever shame and shining examples we can parade before the public.

    I've got kids, you've got kids, and I'm not giving this place up for dead or over to the Right. The future will be built with the bricks and mortar of ideas worth fighting for, and not with mud-slinging and pissing on our enemies.

    And ~bodhi~, having morals is what makes us liberals. Whether one follows The Golden Rule or the Holy Bible, none of it leads to corporate avarice, war-for-Profit or exploitation of the less fortunate, and it certainly doesn't lead to Republicanism as we currently know it.

  8. I keep hearing the buzz of angst over Obama.
    I have a long list of issues I take umbrage with-- from his first executive order to shut down Gitmo (still open), to the fact we are in wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, spilling over to Pakistan, Libya etc.
    I loathe the fact even the topic of singer payer.public option was immediately taken off the table of discussion.

    At best Obama is a centrist if not to the right of center. He seems to lack the ability to pull the dems together- as seen by the first 2 years of his presidency w a dem majority in both the house & senate & still just "dithered" through much of that. The GOP walks in lockstep & the Dems seem to specialize in infighting.

    Your comment "I don't focus so much on Obama because frankly, as far as Presidents go he's all we've got."
    When people blather on about how much they hate Obama, I can't help but agree we are stuck in a 2 party system & there is no way I am voting for any of the clowns emerging on the GOP side... Trump?
    Mitt? Effing Gingrich? Pathological Palin????
    All of the above would be out of the frying pan into the fire.
    Although it would be true, I might just have to hold my nose to vote.... but I would sure as hell vote AGAINST the above, probably more than I would be voting FOR the other candidate for instance.

  9. Just for fun-- here is a partial list of Obama accomplishments...


    • Instituted enforcements for equal pay for women (Lilly Ledbetter Bill) (2009)

    • Appointed Sonia Sotomayor, the first Latina, to the Supreme Court (2009)

    • Held the first Seder in White House (2009)

    • Appointed a diverse Cabinet and diverse White House staff (2009)

    • Spoke at the annual dinner of the Human Rights Campaign, a gay rights organization (2009)

    • Signed the first major piece of federal gay rights legislation that includes acts of violence against gays under the list of federal hate crimes (2009)

    • Reversed the Bush-era practice of politicizing Justice Department investigations and prosecutions against political opponents (2009)

    • Signed an extension of the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Bill to provide federal research and support for treating the disease (2009)

    • Allowed the State Department of offer same-sex benefits for employees (2009)

    • Proposed that the Pentagon repeal the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy; placed a “freeze” on current efforts to remove alleged homosexuals from the military (2009)

    • After eight years of neglect, the Justice Department and EEOC are again enforcing employment discrimination laws (2009)

    • Convened the White House Tribal Nations Conference, inviting representatives from 564 federally-recognized Indian tribes (2009)

    • Provided increased school projects for Indian lands and increased funds for the Indian Health Service (2009)

    • Signed an Executive Order mandating that his Cabinet develop plans to work with and consult Indian tribes on issues impacting Indian lands (2009)

    • “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” will no longer be official policy.

    • Called for federal agencies to look into recognizing gay partnerships in terms of benefits (2010)

  10. But wait! There's more-

    • Signed Executive Order to promote the federal government as a “model employer” when it comes to hiring the disabled (2010) * Note: This includes new efforts to increase the recruitment, hiring, and training for the disabled

    • Elena Kagen appointed to Supreme Court (2010) (First time 3 women are Supreme Court justices in US history)

    • Signed Fair Sentencing Act (2010) * Note: The Administration continues to deescalate marijuana interdiction and raids; increased dramatically the amount of cocaine one must possess to be sentenced to jail; eliminated mandatory sentencing for first-time drug abusers and simple possession

    • Streamlined the federal student loan process to save $87 billion over the next 10 years (2009)

    • Changed the rule to allow students struggling to make college loan payments to refinance their loans (2009)

    • The federal government will offer direct student loans, cutting out the cost of private banks (“middle man”) who increase the costs in order to make a profit (2010)

    • Ordered the Pentagon to cover expenses of families of fallen soldiers if they wish to be on site when the body arrives back in the US (2009)

    • Ended the Bush-era “blackout” imposed on media coverage of the return of fallen US soldiers (2009) * Note: The media is now permitted to cover the story pending adherence to respectful rules and with the approval of the fallen soldier’s family

    • Ended the Bush-era “black out” policy on media coverage of war casualties (2009) * Note: Full information is now released for the first time in the War on Terror

    • Ordered better body armor to be procured for US troops (2009)

  11. yet still more...

    • Ended the Bush-era practice of awarding “no-bid” defense contracts (2009)

    • Improving benefits for veterans as well as VA staffing, information systems, etc. (2009)

    • Authorized construction of additional health centers to care for veterans (2009)

    • Eliminated co-payments for veterans who are catastrophically disabled (2010)

    • Authorized the “Cash for Clunkers” program that stimulated auto sales and removed old, inefficient, polluting cars from the road (2009)

    • Ordered the FDIC to beef up deposit insurance (2009)

    • Ended the Bush-era policy of protecting credit card companies (2009) * Note: In place of the old policy, new consumer protections were instituted and the industry’s predatory practices were banned

    • Authorized the federal government to make more loans available to small businesses and ordered lower rates for federal loans to small businesses (2009)

    • Placed a 35% tariff on Chinese tires and a few other products such as pipes after China was found to be illegally “dumping” exports below cost (2009)

    • Ended the Bush-era practice of having White House staff rewrite the findings of scientific and environmental regulations and reports when they disagreed with the results (2009)

    • Negotiated a deal with Swiss banks to permit the US government to gain access to records of tax evaders and criminals (2009)

    • Ended the Bush-era policy of offering tax benefits to corporations who outsource American jobs (2009) * Note: The new policy promotes in-sourcing investments to brings jobs back to the US

    • Extended the Home Buyers Credit for first-time home buyers (2009)

    • Ended the Bush-era “stop-loss” policy that kept soldiers in Iraq/Afghanistan longer than their enlistment date (2009)
    (The back door draft)

    • Restarted international nuclear non-proliferation talks and reestablished international nuclear inspection protocols (2009) * Note: Bush withdrew from non-proliferation talks and dismantled the inspection infrastructure

    • Removed Bush era restrictions on embryonic stem-cell research (2009)

    • Federal support for stem-cell and new biomedical research (2009)

    • Expanded the SCHIP program to cover health care for 4 million more children (2009)

    - Prevents insurance companies from denying coverage to individuals/family members with pre-existing health conditions; a temporary plan is being developed to cover high-risk individuals with pre-existing conditions until the full reforms go into effect in 2014

    - Prevents insurance companies from placing lifetime limits on benefits

    - Bans “rescission” so insurance companies can’t cancel coverage if individuals keep their policies current or if they become ill

    - An individual’s out-of-pocket healthcare expenses are capped

  12. Ok - He's done some good stuff here & there.

    That being said, Gitmo is still open, we are now in 3 wars, nothing safe & clean about Nuclear, coal or, offshore drilling.
    We need to get serious about alternative energy sources, that really are safe & clean.

    Now has has to spar w the party of NO, but at least has a dem majority in the Senate.
    Still, the GOP/tea party are pitbulls that must be restrained.

    Am I thrilled about the guy in the whitehouse
    with the Nobel peace prize who has us in 3 wars?

    No, but he did beat the alternative back then & looking ahead.

    Sorry for the excessive posts-- but hey there are lots of accomplishments overlooked & we need to look at that too.

  13. i'm grateful for the list of accomplishments, and didn't think them excessive at all. i'll try to focus on these every time i give up hope,which is about every week now.

    one thing that might help is if the cable shows were less screechy and doomsday in their everyday pronouncements, but that,of course, would take some kind of miracle.

    still, no matter what anyone says in rebuttal, i have to believe obama will go down as one of our greatest presidents. we're just not accustomed to a leader who can reason so eloquently, or with such compelling and sound arguments. i say this, even though he makes me cry out in frustration every other day. and i pray for him. i do.


I really look forward to hearing what you have to say. I do moderate comments, but non-spam comments will take less than 24 hours to appear... Thanks!