Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Go Right Young Man

And we were too deferential to our most zealous supporters. During election season, Congress sought to placate those on the extreme left and motivate the base — but that meant that our final efforts before the election focused on trying to allow gays in the military, change our immigration system and repeal the George W. Bush-era tax cuts. These are legitimate issues but unlikely to resonate with moderate swing voters in a season of economic discontent. - Evan Bayh

Now that the President has returned from his 200 million dollar a day vacation the pressure will surely intensify for him to move to “the center”. What exactly does that mean? The thing that always gets me is that people say this as if this or any other Democratic President since LBJ has ever been pushing a truly progressive agenda. What these people call left most progressives consider center right. The wing-nuts have succeeded in moving the definition of a liberal to just left of their most conservative member. What this has done is cause the Dems to change their agenda from what was once truly progressive to this watered-down version of Republicanism.

I can’t imagine what the country would look like today if FDR and LBJ had not been pushing real progressive reform during periods when others were telling them to move to the right. The refrain from the right and the wealthy will always be don’t upset the status quo the system will fix itself if left to its own devices. Now you may disagree with some of the components of their agendas but who can argue that these brave men laid the foundation and increased the middle-class in this country. Democrats used to stand for groundbreaking and innovative thought to some of our most difficult challenges. Today, I don’t see that willingness for innovation or the bravery to even offer new ideas and solutions.

Let’s be clear moving to the center has never solved any major problem facing this nation. What moving to the center has done is insured that nothing gets done and this is exactly what the wing-nuts want. But why would so-called Democrats call for a move to the center? The answer is simple the corruptive influence of money in our system has had a negative effect on both parties. There is no longer one party that is willing to address the systemic problems that allow the wealthiest to profit at unprecedented rates while the rest of us are lucky to just break even.

The Bush Tax Cut debate will demonstrate for all to see how this phenomenon has affected our political system. The mere fact that we are having a discussion about whether to borrow money from China to pay for tax-cuts to give to the wealthiest 2% of our population speaks for itself. The mere fact that this President who campaigned vigorously against this very prospect is now considering allowing a compromise that will keep them in place is ludicrous. How could you not fight for this when the majority of Americans are opposed to it? This speaks volumes to what is meant by moving to the center and of where the center is. How is this the center and of what universe?

The time has come for progressives to do what the teabaggers did to the Republicans and that was to give them the balls to stand for what they believed in. When many were telling the Republicans that they would have to move to the center following two disastrous elections the teabaggers and their handlers would have none of that. The teabaggers didn’t come up with any new ideas for the Republicans but they forced them to stand on their principles-as misguided as they were. This is not the time to retreat back to some center-right agenda. The problems facing this country are too large and too important. It was the center-right that came up with a stimulus that was too small and misguided to address the problem it was created to fix. It was the center-right who came up with the debt commission recommendations that will put more burdens on the poor and middle-class to reduce the deficit. It is the center-right who believes that tax breaks and outsourcing are good for American workers and not unions. It is the center-right who wants us to believe that 8-9% unemployment is the new normal and we will just have to get use to it. It was the center-right who came up with a mandated healthcare bill that gave away the store to the same industries that were creating the problems.

After the 1994 midterm, when Democrats lost the House and Senate, Bill Clinton was told to "move to the center." He obliged by hiring the pollster Dick Morris, declaring the "era of big government is over," abandoning much of his original agenda, and making the 1996 general election about nothing more than V-chips in televisions and school uniforms....Oddly, though, after Republicans suffer losses in the first midterms they pay no attention to voices telling them to move to the center. If anything, Ronald Reagan and the two Bushes moved further right. - Robert Reich

Mr. President there comes a time in everyone’s life when despite everyone around them screaming not to do something you have to stand on what you believe in the innermost place of your heart. That time is now. You must not give in to the “voices of reason” because they are not being reasonable they are being accommodating to those who have your failure as their number one goal. How does one negotiate with someone whose sole mission is your destruction? Is it victory if they do it quickly or without pain? Is it better to lose clinging to what you believe in or winning by believing in nothing?

“Tell a man whose house is on fire to give a moderate alarm; tell the mother to gradually extricate her babe from the fire into which it has fallen; but urge me not to use moderation.” - William Lyon Phelps

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