Democrats need to adopt Reagan’s 11th Commandment.

Via elephant journal
on Feb 4, 2010
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obama compromise progressives zinn

A Plea for Disappointed Liberals to Play Ball—like a Team.

This post is inspired by my friend and colleague Casey Capshaw’s recent post to Facebook (below), which succinctly expressed what I’ve been thinking for a month or so, now. Particularly here in Boulder, high-minded idealistic progressives love nothing more than to beeyatch about President Obama and his “weak bullshit compromise” Health Care bill (30 million would have received coverage, but that’s nothing) and his war in Afghanistan while they lie about in their hammocks jotting down conspiracy theories they think of while smoking dope, legally.

It’s 2000 all over again: “Gore and Bush? No difference, man.”

Remember it’s those votes for Nader that, had they gone for Gore, would have put a Nobel-prize-winning Green Hero in the Oval Office. Where he would have compromised, sure. But sure as hell he wouldn’t have put a young Chief Justice Roberts in power—and the Supreme Court wouldn’t have voted to allow more corporate spending in campaigns, as they did so recently (which Obama called them on, face to face, in his State of the Union address).

In a recent post, I had the nerve to question Amy Goodman (who I’ve interviewed on our talk show) and Howard Zinn (who I respect and love) for their backseat driver criticisms of Mr. Obama, recently—and one such progressive was inspired to judge me a sell-out, telling me to go lobby in Washington. What kind of party are we if we can’t stick together over incredibly small differences in views? After all, calling me—a vegetarian bike-riding Buddhist cliche of liberalism—a sell-out would be, from a Republican’s pov, laughable. Let’s remember: politics is the art of the possible. Obama, like FDR, has asked us, his base, to make noise, to give him room to say “hey, people want change.” So complain away—but complain in a supportive fashion. Tear down Obama, you won’t get better.

After all, Obama—and any president, Republican or Democrat—has to compromise. And all the more so due to our tepid support. Why? Because he’s actually trying to do something, instead of just be an iconic, messianic symbol of change.

Open a text book, Democrats: there’s three branches of power, four if you count the media. They’re supposed to check and balance one another, and slow change down.

While we’re at it, let’s hold up Reagan’s 11th Commandment in our liberal mirror, and see if we can’t play like a team, and win a game for once (see videos at bottom).

casey capshaw

Casey Capshaw Noticing a key difference between Republicans and Democrats. ‘Pubs will stick by their leaders no matter what the hell they do. Dems are judging failure and abandoning leadership after only a single year. This is a seriously strategic flaw for progressives, undermining their efforts far more effectively than anything the opposition can muster.


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5 Responses to “Democrats need to adopt Reagan’s 11th Commandment.”

  1. sarahldoran says:

    obama should stick to what he "knows" is the right decision and stop waiting for the opposing party to give him their approval. they won't play nice. they dont want you to succeed even if it means success for the country. stop trying to be friends with the bully. you're in charge now. take it.

  2. via FB:
    Will Rogers-" I am not a member of an organized political party, I am a Democrat."
    That has not changed and is not likely to. The right will line up behind a leader for a long time. The left always splinters.
    Some follow, some think.

    Keith Martin-Smith
    This is the danger of hope, too. Expectations were so high that we were all bound to be disappointed. But the fact that a super-majority of Democrats could not produce a single piece of ground-breaking legislation (say, I dunno, Healthcare) is nearly mind-boggling. I think, though, that Obama's learned his lessons, one of which is NEVER let congress take hold of the debate.

    Some of us, though, think the whole system is broken. But we'll stay quiet for now 😉

    Waylon Lewis
    Supermajority sounds cooler than is. The Democrats don't hang together. Our own Jared Polis and the Blue Dogs revolted against Health Care way back in the summer. Other Dems demanded this and that. Obama's only as strong as his popular support.

    Keith, have you seen the published list of environmental actions Obama's taken? Think it came from Sierra Club.

    Waylon Lewis
    Great quote, and great point, Charles. Still, if we're smart enough to think, we gotta be smart enough to cooperate once in awhile, and get the ball (legislation) in the endzone.
    2 seconds ago ·

  3. I agree, but he did promise to work across the aisle. We're all in this together.

    Meanwhile, the far Right paints this would-be cooperator as a Socialist, a terrorist, a Marxist…

  4. […] Or, why Extreme Liberals suck. […]

  5. faye says:

    sounds like those "high-minded idealistic progressives" need a dose of reality – ship 'em off to Europe. that'll ground 'em…at least it did me (i'm a recovering high-minded idealistic progressive).