SIDELINE ARGUING OR EXERTING POWER?
Much of the progressive media focus relentlessly on Obama’s flaws which are all too real (eg., backtracking on support for single-payer health care, ambiguity on policies that foster outsourcing of jobs, etc.)
It’s almost as if progressives are delighted in finally having a relatively liberal head coach that they can argue with, after 16 long years of the triangulator Bill Clinton and then Wall Street’s pet poodle George W. Bush.
But confining ourselves to arguments on the sidelines–while the real action is occurring in Congress and the streets of America–condemns progressives to irrelevance.
Yes, we must continue to hold Obama accountable for appointing the likes of Lawrence Summers and Timothy Geithener and refusing to contemplate nationalizing the banks.
But Blue Dog Democrats and the ultra-conservative Republicans are slowing down Obama’s progress toward goals which progressives share with him, like a strong stimulus bill focused on creating high-paying jobs in America.
So it is vital that we not allow ourselves to be preoccupied with sideline disputes with Obama while the Blue Dogs and obstructionist Republicans are systematically pursuing their corporate agenda on the real field of play.
To the extent that FDR’s New Deal failed to achieve all of its objectives, much can be attributed to the inability of FDR and his allies to isolate and eliminate the reactionary "Dixicrats" who protected both corporate interests and Southern apartheid. We should not make the same mistake with the Blue Dogs.
So I would sress the following:
1)HOUNDING THE BLUE DOGS & GOP
If we want Obama to be more progressive, we need to focus much more of our energies on pressuring the sell-out Blue Dogs and ueber-reactionary Republicans. That means media work to expose their corporate allegiances, and splashy, militant protests in their home districts and home offices by the unemployed and other groups.
2)INDEPENDENT STREET HEAT
As during the 1930′s, the importance of "street heat"–independent protests that threatened to fracture the Democratic coalition, such as blocking foreclosures, factory takeovers, protests at Merrill Lynch and the Bank of America and other TARP recipients–cannot be over-estimated. (I highly recommend Cloward and Piven’s Poor People’s Movements on this point)
Yet we hear very little about efforts by the Left to organize such activities, with the exception of the Republic Windows and Doors takeover in Chicago. President Obama–as well as the Blue Dogs and GOP troglodytes–must be made to feel the widesapred "Where’s OUR bailout?" sentiment roiling among ordinary Americans.