The Democrats’ meltdown moment — what will progressives do?
Permit me to offer a prediction. Despite the temper tantrum in the House yesterday, it will pass something similar to the agreement made between President Obama and the Party of Wall Street.
Let’s look at the ugly reality in cold hard terms: The House Democrats are split, the Senate Democrats are incapable of passing any legislation that does not have the support, or at least acquiescence, of several Republicans, and the President is moving to make a separate accommodation with the GOP — because he has to. Add to this: passing something now that is capable of also passing the Senate is the only option House Democrats have to put their stamp on this legislation, since, come January, they will have no leverage and Senate Democrats will be even weaker and more disorganized.
Do I have all of this right?
That leaves progressives out in the cold, in the middle of what is likely to be a harsh winter for the 99ers, the public unions, and just about everyone without a private island in the Caribbean.
If progressives refused to see the writing on the Wall Street during the health insurance reform debate, a sober assessment of their prospects now is absolutely necessary: You were always the enemy!
Nobody in Washington wanted Obama’s supporters to come rolling into Washington, hopped up on that “hopey-changey stuff”, to dismantle the unholy intersection between Washington policy and Wall Street bankster mafia interests.
As the organizers of the December 16 rally state, the Obama administration and the Democrat mainstream:
… has advanced repeated assaults on the New Deal safety net (including the previously sacrosanct Social Security trust fund), jettisoned any hope for substantive health care reform, attacked civil rights and environmental protections, and expanded a massive bailout further enriching an already bloated financial services and insurance industry. It has continued the occupation of Iraq and expanded the war in Afghanistan as well as our government’s covert and overt wars in South Asia and around the globe.
Along the way, the Obama administration, which referred to its left detractors as “f***ing retarded” individuals that required “drug testing,” stepped up the prosecution of federal war crime whistleblowers, and unleashed the FBI on those protesting the escalation of an insane war.
Obama’s recent announcement of a federal worker pay freeze is cynical, mean-spirited “deficit-reduction theater”. Slashing Bush’s plutocratic tax cuts would have made a much more significant contribution to deficit reduction but all signs are that the “progressive” president will cave to Republican demands for the preservation of George W. Bush’s tax breaks for the wealthy Few. Instead Obama’s tax cut plan would raise taxes for the poorest people in our country.
The election of Obama has not galvanized protest movements. To the contrary, it has depressed and undermined them, with the White House playing an active role in the discouragement and suppression of dissent – with disastrous consequences. The almost complete absence of protest from the left has emboldened the most right-wing elements inside and outside of the Obama administration to pursue and act on an ever more extreme agenda.
You went to Washington to dismantle an empire, and ended up fighting for deliberately crafted Trojan Horse wedge issues like whether gays qualified to expand it, or whether foreign born youth could join in its bloody imposition. You went to Washington to dismantle the unholy intersection, but were offered entertaining sound bites ridiculing Sarah Palin until you found yourself politically kettled and isolated.
Quite frankly, you were played.
If you are going to stop being played, you’re going to need some issue to address this crisis that does not end up being a compromise between giving the unemployed 300 dollars a week in return for a second private island for billionaires.
I urge you, once again, to stand for real change — reducing hours of work to 32 hours to start — so we can bring the unemployed back into the economy and rescue millions of youth from their endless confinement to the purgatory of having never held a job and no prospects for one.
When you go to the December 16 rally — and, we think you should — you should be raising the single issue that will get Wall Street’s attention: