Top Ten Wish List Progressives should Press on President Obama

President Obama’s reelection should mean more to progressives than simply dodging the bullet of a Romney presidency indebted to the Tea Party. Democratic politics has to be more than relief, while playing Russian Roulette, that this time we got the empty chamber. Progressives are a significant wing of the Democratic Party, and if we continue to be ignored, the party will ultimately falter.

Clearly, Obama does not have progressive instincts, and prefers to rule from the center. This impulse is wrong-headed, since the center didn’t man his campaign offices or make phone calls for him. Ruling from the center means taking his base for granted while reaching out to relatively conservative constituencies. This tactic is why we don’t have a single-payer health insurance plan. It is why Wall Street reform has consisted of half-measures. It is why we are imposing a financial blockade on Iran that could easily spiral into a war. When it comes to the arch-conservatives, for the most part, Obama has never learned to just say ‘no.’

It does not help that Obama will face virtually the same, obstructionist Tea Party House of Representatives that stymied him for the past two years. Instead of going to them and asking how he could make them happy, he has to threaten to make an all-out push to turn them out of office in 2014 if they continue to say ‘no’ to everything.

Progressives will have to push Obama to the left if we are to get what we want. This situation is nothing new– FDR’s New Deal would not have amounted to much if workers hadn’t engaged in widespread wildcat strikes and if people had not resorted to civil disobedience.

As for positive accomplishments, here are a few we should pressure him and Congress on:

1. We need the tax break for wind energy to be continued. Uncertainty here is deadly to the industry. And it is facing competition from cheap fracked natural gas (which is itself an environmental disaster every which way from Sunday). Wind energy could easily provide a quarter of all the electricity the US produces annually, and it is a way of slowing the rapidly rising average temperature of earth’s surface. Obama should deploy Republicans from high-wind states such as Iowa and Colorado to help make his case. It is to Obama’s credit that green energy doubled in the US from 3% to 6% during his first term. But 6% is almost nothing, with Portugal, Germany, Scotland and others being far more ambitious. Scotland wants to be 100% green by 2020.

Obama should emulate John F. Kennedy, Jr., and give a major address committing the the nation to try to go green in 8 years, just as Kennedy pledged to put us on the moon.

2. The Citizens United and other such rulings of the Supreme Court that allow dark money to dominate our elections needs to be undone by legislation. Corporations are not people, and Superpacs shouldn’t be buying our elections. Obama should start the work on a constitutional amendment that would permit actual campaign finance reform so that our elections look more like those of Western Europe and less like those of Pakistan.

3. Banking regulation still needs to be strengthened. There is nothing really in place that would prevent a repeat of the 2008 meltdown. Moreover, relief for homeowners under threat of losing their mortgages unfairly or arbitrarily needs to be pushed for again.

4. Obama needs to show leadership in pushing back against Koch Brother attempts to destroy public sector unions. Moreover, he needs to create a legal framework for the protection of the right to unionize in the private sector, a right that has been gutted by corporations such as Walmart. It was the unions that gave Mr. Obama Ohio, and if they are undermined during the next four years, they won’t be there to deliver the state again.

5. He needs to have the Department of Justice look into the Koch Brother-backed legislation in two dozen states restricting the franchise by requiring a paid-for state i.d., which is a kind of poll tax. In many states, this legislation violates the 1965 Voting Rights act. We can’t let a couple of sour billionaires undo the achievements of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., achievements for which he gave his life.

6. That use of the Department of Justice would perhaps make its workers and its head, Eric Holder, too busy to go around kicking down the doors of medical marijuana clinics and confiscating their computers, records and cash, in states where the state has legalized marijuana. Obama was elected the first time by the youth, and had promised to cease Federal harassment of pot clinics, but reneged and proved much worse than Bush on this issue. Holder should stop denying the clear medical uses and benefits of pot. In Colorado and Washington states, the same people who voted for him have legalized recreational marijuana. Moreover, the RAND Corp. concludes that legalization would defund the Mexican cartels. If the the Democratic Party continues on this Draconian path, it should not be surprised when it begins losing elections because a substantial younger constituency deserts it for the Green Party.

7. Obama put off further consideration of the PATRIOT Act until 2014. Several of its remaining provisions have been tagged by Senators Wyden and Udall as unconstitutional and pernicious because of the way law enforcement is interpreting them “secretly.” These unconstitutional provisions must be repealed altogether. Moreover, Obama needs to come clean about the extent of Federal violations of fourth amendment rights, warrantless surveillance of citizens, and the data mining of our emails and possibly their storage by the National Security Agency. As a victim of illegal White House/ CIA surveillance myself, I am furious that Obama has continued Bush-era abuses, and moreover that the Democratic Party has not so much as bothered to launch an investigation of my case.

8. The Bush tax cuts for the wealthy have to be allowed to lapse.

9. Obama must give up the fiction that a Department of Justice review of assassination targets is the same thing as a court trial that ends in an execution. The separation of powers is there in the constitution because King George III used to use the executive to declare people “outlaws” and have them killed on a whim, too. Maybe Obama and the national security state think they have invented something new. They haven’t. Targeted assassination by executive fiat has been around for a long time, and the Founding Fathers wanted it prohibited.

10. Obamacare has to be tweaked in the direction of a single payer system.

63 Responses

  1. Excellent! Prof. Cole, how about tweaking the title and replacing progressives with “we the people” or just people?! These issues are so important they should be read by everyone- no labels, just common sense.

  2. Professor Cole, with all due respect, I doubt that President Obama is going to Tea Party House of Representatives and “asking how he could make them happy”. The Republican Congress has been a real problem for the President. Certainly he must lead, but more importantly, he must govern. There is only so much he can do, and I believe he has done an outstanding job of both leading and governing. Much of what you point out is admirable, but requires STRONG grassroots support, (spell that M-O-N-E-Y) and it isn’t there. It also requires considerable direction and support from the DNC, with a between-the-elections effort that betters the Republican efforts to undo everything the President and the Democratic Party are achieving. The accomplishments of the progressive movement peaked with the Johnson administration, and the Regan administration marked the beginning of the current “conservative” movement. It is the strength of that movement that progressives are fighting. In today’s environment a moderate is made to be a liberal, and a liberal a communist. Unfortunately, too many people in this Country are buying the Republican talking points, but more than that, difficult economic times make it much harder to promote progressive “lifestyle” agendas. Your talk of searching for another Party to promote progressive agendas is counterproductive. Just learn to realize that you will not get all you want; to get most of what you want will take more than a four year cycle.

    • Obama needs to look what Roosevelt did in the 1930’s.
      1. Boot out all the illegals – even if it ticks off the Us Chamber of Commerce and GW Bush.

      2. Impose serious import taxes on nation that run a big surplus with us but that would tick off the US Chamber of Commerce AND Wal-Mart aand all the Third Way Democrats.

      3. Stop with the neo-cons maing us the world’s policeman.We’re broke!

  3. Another item: we must push Obama and congress to recognize the reality of global warming and to do something to begin the reduction of CO2 emissions!

  4. Why no mention of Palestine and US support of Israel? Of US foreign policy? Drones? Mass deportations and Immigration reform?

  5. A few extras –

    — Ending the US commitment to permanent war.

    — Reducing military spending.

    — Stopping CIA from expanding further its paramilitary role.

    On subject of women’s rights, I’d like to see a constitutional amendment enshrining them, rather than women’s bodies becoming political pawns every four years. It’s completely unacceptable that basic rights cannot be permanently locked in, and it’s a total waste of time, money, and energy that could be spent on other issues.

  6. Yes, yes, and yes.

    I doubt very much he’ll move as aggressively as you suggest. But any movement in that direction would be greatly welcome.

    If the slow improvement in the economy continues, that would give him more political leeway to tackle some of these other issues. Job growth remains his top priority; once capital stops its strike and private investment gets going, that would free Obama up to pursue a more progressive agenda. Otherwise, the wingnuts on Fox will hammer him hard.

    • Obama will not move aggressively unless we are aggressive in our organization. If we need money to do this, and we do, then we had better get busy. Today. Stop the invasion of the Canadian toxic tar sands actions, stop the invasion of multinational energy cartels, build green jobs, and ground the drones. Compassionate immigration reform, remembering that most of us are descendants of immigrants. For starters.

  7. Juan: That’s a great domestic wish list but as Studs Terkel said: “Hope dies last.”… in other words we didn’t hear anything from Obama about change. How about your foreign policy wish list! This year I’m with the 90 million voters and Ron Paul who said: I can’t support the status quo.

  8. It was a bit disturbing last night – well, early this morning – to hear the president talk of finding common ground with Republicans; that he heard the electorate. Excuse me? First of all, he won and won big. And find common ground on what? They made it very clear starting with his inauguration in 2009 that they had no intention of cooperating on anything.

    Still, if the GOP remains as idologically driven as it has been, then the President and Democrats can push an agenda that will return America to the people from the plutocrats. Come 2014, it can use Republican obstruction to rout them from Congress.

    I hope that when the President gets some rest from what must have been an exhausting three month campaign, he will see that his strive for finding the center didn’t work and what the country needs is for him to be a strong voice for genuine change.

  9. Revenue-neutral carbon tax (offset by the payroll tax and checks to all taxpayers). Incentives for states to do the same, replacing the sales tax with a revenue-neutral gas tax.

    • Oh, also a carbon-budget tariff for goods from any country with net carbon subsidies (such as China). This is WTO-legal as long as it goes along with a carbon tax internally.

  10. as an anti-progressive, my input may not be embraced, but I have to offer that
    something like the impact that sequestration would have on military spending would be good not only for the budget, but would reduce the number of preventive wars and military interventions initiated,
    perhaps allowing other peoples to live under governments they consent to.

  11. 0 will do to progessives as he has in the past, throw them under the bus and let the wolfs of dod vendors/ws finish off Main Street.

  12. You left out “Normalize relations with Israel; recognize the 1967 Palestinian territories as a separate nation.” PM Netanyahoo tried to break into the election news cycle at least twice in the week prior to 11/6. For the safety of everyone in the Middle East, he needs to be discredited.

  13. Don’t you see that your progressive movement is the antithesis of the Tea Party? In fact by pushing this progressive agenda you are only emboldening the far right. Obama needs to stay in the center and to rally (most) Americans who are not on the fringes to join with him in compromise. What we need is to discredit these radical voices on both ends of the spectrum by accommodating moderate voices on both sides rather than being held hostage to a well-funded minority beliefs on both ends. Only through taking initial small steps with moderates can Obama hope to pursue his larger policy goals (which would require the backing from the GOP dominated House).

    • I can’t see any symmetry between the radical right and the radical left. The radical right owns the Republican party, the House of Representatives, and most of the industrial, commercial, and media substance in this country. I don’t think the radical left owns so much as a pretzel kiosk.

      To the members of the radical right, “moderates” are the radical left. Things as non-political as adopting the metric system or transitioning to a dollar coin, would be beyond the pale for the radical right unless blessed by its industrial/commercial arm.

      For all practical purpose, in order to get anything done, Obama has think and operate as a radical – new term: “radical moderate”.

      Of course, when it come to militarism and military violence, Obama is the radical right’s secret poster guy.

  14. You had me until #8. Excellent wish list. Perhaps Pres Obama will continue to see obstruction in the house, but he has nothing to lose and everything to gain to further things for the middle class and rightfully own the success of a recovering economy.

  15. I will have to bookmark this page, and then I can come back in a year or so and see how it really went. My guess is that NOTHING will change, and in fact, it will get worse. AND I am not a Romney supporter–he would do miserably as well.

    And now, after all, Obama has no other election coming–this was it. He will do whatever the powers that be want of him.

    Good luck with your hopes, but Obama has not demonstrated he would deliver in his last term. “Fool me once shame on me, fool me twice shame on you.” I do not buy Brand Obama or the other brand either for that matter.

  16. Agreed. But you may have to wait forever, as you said, he’d rather appease the right.
    Your 12 point wish list might also include (?) , #11. release Bradley. #12. Quit chasing whistle blowers for the purpose of demonstrating toughness.
    Great article. And thank goodness Obama won.

  17. Agreed, with one correction. Because the decision was purportedly based upon the Constitution, undoing Citizens United requires a constitutional amendment, not legislation. Although that’s always a difficult process, unlike other issues, this is one everyone can understand. There is momentum. See

  18. Little of what you’ve noted couldn’t be accommodated under a reasonable definition of moderation. How to get the general population back to such a balance is the underlying problem we face. In fact, a traditional don’t-screw-things-up sort of conservatism, driven by prudent objectivity would also serve the sort of agenda you laid out.

    What does NOT work is giving-up on consensus. Given what there is to work with in out system, any centrist faces a horribly rocky road, but its the least worst option. You could well argue that our current mode of governance needs to be “tweaked,” and by that I mean a lot more than an amendment to dump the electoral college. But you said you’d like to make a case AGAINST moderation, and for a benign command society (for as long as that benevolence can last, which really is at best playing Russian Roulette).

    If for nothing more than the practicalities of keeping some self-styled patriot from taking a serious shot at him, or an even larger group taking “action,” he has to serve the entire country. We have gotten to the point this has to figure into his calculations. Really, and this you must know, and frustrated as many of us are about an inability of any sensible administration to do the many pressing things that MUST be done with purely secular competence to insure the general welfare.

  19. “If the the Democratic Party continues on this Draconian path [banning marijuana and persecuting growers and users], it should not be surprised when it begins losing elections because a substantial younger constituency deserts it for the Green Party.”

    That would give whole new meaning to “Green Party!”

  20. The main thing is for people to DEMAND these things, as Obama the jellyfish just will not try unless forced. You are right about the “centrist” position. There are far too many rightwingers -they hate Obama and he needs to lessen their importance, not pander to them.

  21. Concerning mitigating climate change you wrote:
    “Obama should emulate John F. Kennedy, Jr., and give a major address committing the nation to try to go green in 8 years, just as Kennedy pledged to put us on the moon.”
    This is very much the pace and scale which is needed.

    What is more, it is feasible. With my co-author I investigated this question in a paper in Energy Policy earlier this year.

    link to

    This quantitative analysis modelled what would happen if the current global wind and solar energy growth trajectory were to continue at a rate no more than the infrastructure expansion rate already achieved by either the world mobile phone system or China’s expressway system. The analysis showed that this would lead to the complete cessation of fossil fuel use – and therefore the reduction of new carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel entering the atmosphere to zero – as soon as 2024.

    • Alt Energy R&D would have been a good use of the three or four (or whatever) trillion dollars we burned blowing up Iraq and Afghanistan.

  22. I think 1, 5, 8, and 10 are things he’s gonna do anyway. 2 is
    almost impossible with this dysfunctional Congress. Good luck with the rest, especially 4, 6, 7, and 9. He could do those four next week if he wanted, I think.

  23. First of all, Progressives did not elect Barack Obama. Myself, my family and a whole lot of other people like them decided to vote for sanity. If Barack Obama depended on Progressives to elect him, we’d be talking about President elect Romney right now. Obama needs to serve the great American center which most people occupy. We’ve had enough of the extremes of both the Right and the Left. Take your money and go home. Bill Clinton set the example. Barack Obama needs to learn from it and leave a legacy of limited government, personal freedom and responsibility. Wouldn’t that be something.

  24. Clearly, Obama does not have progressive instincts, and prefers to rule from the center.

    Clearly, the college professor with a blog isn’t familiar with the constraints that actual responsibility to work well with others in order to succeed at one’s endeavors places on someone. The notion that a President’s habits in office are an unaltered reflection of his preferences betrays a poor understanding of how out system of government works.

    Ruling from the center means taking his base for granted while reaching out to relatively conservative constituencies.

    The people you describe as “relatively conservative constituencies” represent a much larger segment of the Democratic base than do the allegedly spurned progressives. The people you are describing as “his base” could fit in one of Richard Trumka’s thighs.

    This tactic is why we don’t have a single-payer health insurance plan.

    Oh fer chrissakes. I thought you were a bit more sophisticated than this. You think tactics are the reason we don’t have a single-payer health system?

    • Obama should have come to the party with a health care bill that looked like what he wanted (i.e. single payer) and told Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi to pass it. Instead he dithered around asking Congress what it would like in the way of a health care bill. Answer: Repubs. didn’t want one, Dems all over the map. That’s not the way a president operates, it is the way a community organizer or a senator operates. LBJ would have shaken his head in amazement.

      • Obama’s theory of government has been that the legislative branch should take the lead in creating legislation. It is generally the duty of the legislative leaders and their friends in legislatures to create policies that can pass, and the executive power should only give broad outlines.

        In his 8+ years here in Springfield, his other theory of legislation was that he should only put substantial effort into bills that had a realistic chance of becoming laws. His heart was always with us when we wanted more radical legislation or policy, but he had no interest in gestures or symbolic efforts. He also wanted to represent the interests and wishes of the people, the whole people, as much as possible. He has always been more interested in finding what he can do to satisfy the majority and get at least something concrete done to actually bring some benefits, rather than pushing an agenda of a minority (even a minority he agrees with) and risk accomplishing no concrete legislative or policy result.

        Even before he was in our state legislature, I think this was his instinct as a community organizer. Get real things accomplished. Serve the people where they are, and work with what you have got, rather than putting efforts into trying to change the people or getting them to change their desires to something you know would be better for them.

        As president, he may be evolving, and I hope he does evolve, to become more of an activist, pushing for policies that would require a stretch. But the Republicans still control the House, and if the Democrats want to regain control of the House, they will do so by electing some relatively moderate and conservative Democrats in gerrymandered “nearly safe” Republican districts.

        LBJ had more experience in legislative leadership. Obama was never really a leader in his legislative career. He was something of an outsider. Had he run for President as a third-term Senator rather than a first-term, he might have been able to behave like LBJ.

      • Exactamondo Professor. Even Reid eventually wondered aloud where in the world Obama had been hiding himself “in conference” during the health care bill “debate”. That’s pretty bad. Single payer was ‘off the table’ as being unpassable according to an Obama quote very late in the game. I do believe it was also the Obama administration that repeatedly prevented any participation by single payer advocates during the bill’s hearings, another example of compromise before the debate begins. What Obama proved was that clinging to a hope of centrist master of compromise with people who have taken compromise off the table is mere acquiesence. The same thing happened with the Wall Street reform bill. Not much really changed. The practices that allowed the very rich to appropriate a goodly portion of the accumulated savings of the middle class are still mostly in place and still in operation. It was the biggest theft (or was it a gambling loss covered by taxpayers?…hmmm)in American history, and the biggest thieves got bailouts and bonuses while a million American homeowners were were turned out on the streets where many still live.

        Juan’s list of must-do’s is way too short, but it is a list of real problems America faces rather than meaningless obstructive political inventions such as whether vagina is a less acceptably public word than more prevalent equivalents (take your pick).

      • Juan,

        The next time you buy a car, go to the dealership and offer them $1000 for a new Accord. Then they’ll have to sell it to you for $2000, because that’s totally how bargaining works.

        Your description of LBJ’s methods of dealing with Congress are profoundly inaccurate. He was a ball-buster on an individual level when he need to get a couple of votes, but he was also a master at feeling out the sense of Congress and tuning his proposals and actions to what was actually possible. This notion that he would come in with something utterly impossible and then “tell” the Senate Majority Leader and Speaker of the House of Representatives to pass it bears no resemblance whatsoever to actual history.

  25. No cuts to Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid. First, there’s the logical absurdity of cutting these programs now so they don’t have to be cut in the future. Second, Social Security has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the federal budget deficit or debt. Therefore, President Obama has no reason to make Social Security cuts part of a “balanced” plan for deficit reduction.

  26. Well, Well, Well,
    A very telling statement:
    “Clearly, Obama does not have progressive instincts, and prefers to rule from the center. This impulse is wrong-headed, since the center didn’t man his campaign offices or make phone calls for him.”

    So the rule is to follow your paymasters?

    • Regarding those paymasters, one wonders if the Kochs and the other Black Paymasters will be sending some guy named Guido and his buddy ‘Fredo to have a little talk with Mittsy and Rove and those guys about failing to deliver what was paid for. I mean, the Mexican mobs will kill you, your family and everyone in your neighborhood for shorting them a half a gram in a coke deal… What’s the penalty for failing to deliver a whole fucking nation?

  27. It seems that the radical right want to undo the New Deal and all of the programs that built on it for next fifty years.

    Before the current generation gives up on the idea of Social Security, we need to guarantee its soundess without cutting benefits. Small funding changes can assure its solvency for the next fifty years.

  28. Will Obama just fold to the Republicans, or call them out on their attacks on the economy and the environment?

    Glenn Greenwald’s 6 steps describe how Obama capitulated before. Rather than be educator in chief to the people, he dithered. Only with extreme pressure from the left will he do the right things.

    link to

  29. One real problem with our burgeoning National Security State is that Obama replaced Bush’s chief defender, Gonzalez, a borderline incompetent, with Eric Holder, who is exceptionally competent. Sad but true.

  30. In order to shore up social security and medicare, I would like to see the top amount to be taxed raised. I remember when this was done before and everyone survived.

  31. “Anti-progressivism defines Obama’s agenda. He’s hard-right, reactionary, belligerent, and pro-corporate. He serves wealth, power and privilege at the expense of essential popular needs…Obama exceeded the worst of his predecessors. Every major pledge he made, he broke. He’s a duplicitious con man. He’s a crime boss, serial liar and moral coward. He promised change and delivered betrayal. Why anyone would support what they should rather condemn needs to be explained…” (Stephen Lendman, Progressive Radio Host)
    Sorry Juan, but I think Lendman’s analyses and insights are on the mark, and yours miss by the proverbial mile.

  32. As long as we are dreaming – let’s dream big! How about an amendment to establish Freedom From Religion once and for all? No legislation may be based on belief. It must all come from science and evidence. Your beliefs are your sacred right. If they conflict with someone else, the other person’s rights prevail. Amendment to clarify state’s rights. State’s rights can only be asserted when there is a proven geographic or demographic need that does not conflict with a level playing field for all Americans. Tax reform should include no deductions. Just make it progressive in small increments so there is no claim to disincentives for earning more. No tax subsidies or government contracts to corporations where the compensation to C-Suite and above is more than 10 times median income in that state. And no subsidy to any corp. showing a profit for any two of last four quarters. Military spending for FY may not exceed combined spending for Dept of Education, infrastructure, and healthcare.

  33. How about doubling the income cap for Social Security tax and indexing it to inflation.

  34. During the campaign, President Obama was fond of claiming that Romney wants to take us back to the policies of the past that have tried and failed. That he supposedly turned the ship around and the economy is coming back and we should move forward. As hard as I’ve tried I could not figure what he was talking about since I could not put my finger on anything that he had done to break with the policies of the past. After all, the Bush tax cuts are still in place. He has tried some small experiments on renewable energy and healthcare reform that have had negligible impact on economy.

    I am concerned that we have two bad moves that he can try as his own major policy change. Increase taxes on anyone which pretty much all economists agree is likely to be counter-productive. Or, try austerity which according to progressives will send us into a worse economic position. Combine the two, and you still get the fiscal cliff.

    As long as the Chinese are willing to give us free money, we are forced to take it. In the meantime, I wish our presidents would concentrate on their own jobs and eliminate wasteful spending and concentrate on the big picture items such as peace, energy, education, and research. Let congress and the fed take the lead on budget and tax issues. Play the honest broker rather than the party leader when it comes to these fiscal issues.

  35. Obama is a weeny. Plain and simple. And this only goes to show how much presidential primaries have ruined our country: in the olden days, the Democratic party chose its presidential candidates from among themselves. If they had done this in 2008 then Madam Speaker would have won the 2008 election by a landslide and our economy would be fixed by now. Instead, Obama gets hundreds of millions from Wall Street and, with the help of all of the red states, and Florida voting early, he gets the nomination — barely. Now look what has happenned. . . .

    I think that giving a paycheck to the over 7 million American workers who our unemployed but are not recieving unemployment compensation at a time when 4 workers are after 1 job is OBVIOUSLY priority number 1. Don’t you?

  36. Nice list. Would like it much more if it included pressuring Obama to:
    1) Drastically reduce the budget for the military industrial complex, the biggest scam on the globe
    2) Prosecute the blatant war crimes exposed & shared with the world by wikileaks (
    3) Set Bradley Manning Free & give him the highest honors (he’s the whistle blower who apparently shared the videos & evidence with wikileaks)
    4) Quit funding the Israeli Military ($30 billion per year) & their illegal & immoral occupation of Palestine.

  37. not just go green in 8 years but also close down all nuclear power and move into sustainable and clean energy….this is important specially because some people think that the way out of fossil fuels is nuclear power and this is a gigantic and extremely dangerous mistake…this to me is priority #1…

  38. Obama is a second term president. He should treat the Republicans with the same disrespect and enmity that they have shown. Unless he is obtuse, he should have figured out right now that he won’t get any more from trying to reason with the Republicans than he did the first time around. WAKE UP! He also has to use his bully pulpit to put one notion forward, that the social safety net, spending on education, scientific research, infrastructure and health care are all part of our real national security challenge…competitiveness. We can’t blame other countries for being successful. This turns it all into a question of who is the patriot, supporting the intersts of the future sustainability of the country, versus the short term benefit of the few. If you trade these needs for more arms you will have nothing to defend. You can no longer force people to buy our products rather than those of more efficient industries.

    Of course, the alternative is to go down in histor as an unremarkable and disappointing leader at a time when we needed a hero the most. He needs to talk OVER the heads of pols in both parties and directly to the American people. That is if/if he is willing to buck his donors, his party elders, and access the power of the people. It is not complicated, there are interests and interests and in a few simple sentences, he or anyone else can explain which policies are wins for the people and which are wins for special groups. Call it class conflict or anthing else, it is sectoral conflict, one group of Americans against everyone else. Failure will make the term “The New American Century” a cruel joke.

    “If we want to stay competitive, here is what we must do.” That’s it.

  39. More lovely academic theory and wishful thinking, all very agreeable. So how do we make our demands heard? Obama is clearly not a progressive in any stretch of the imagination, he’s a neocon who is, manipulated tea party/Brownshirt squawking aside) perfectly acceptable to the Right. Parenthetically you have to wonder if perhaps that’s why the Republicans were offered such an unpalatable candidate in Mr. Romney. Given that we have basically nobody with whom to work, in the Whitehouse and perhaps not even in the Senate, when’s the march on Washington?

  40. How about getting the justice dept to declare AIPAC a foreign agent?
    Or even,a constitutional amendment requiring all national office holders and appointees of congress, justice dept and administion to hold one citizenship – a U.S. citizenship.

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