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Mole's Progressive Democrat

The Progressive Democrat Newsletter grew out of the frustration of the 2004 election. Originally intended for New York City progressives, its readership is now national. For anyone who wants to be alerted by email whenever this newsletter is updated (usually weekly), please send your email address and let me know what state you live in (so I can keep track of my readership).

Location: Brooklyn, New York, United States

I am a research biologist in NYC. Married with two kids living in Brooklyn.

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  • Friday, January 22, 2010

    Democratic History

    Recently I wrote two related pieces, kind of a disjointed and, in retrospect, out of order miniseries. This is a continuation, though I didn't realize it at first. The first piece was a sampling of many things Obama is doing that few are giving him credit for. The second piece was an analysis of why the Democrats are losing their grip despite their majorities, due to the divisiveness of both the progressives and Blue Dogs, suggesting better unity from both ends are needed if we aren't going to fall flat.

    But I made a mistake in presentation. Let's step back and look at history in the making in more detail.

    There once was a brilliant and charismatic Democrat who was elected with great enthusiasm after years of mismanagement of America by President Bush. His agenda was progressive, including some of the biggest advances in gay rights, the environment, and healthcare reform that have ever been proposed. It was a huge step forward.

    At the same time this brilliant and charismatic Democrat was elected, a strong Congressional majority of Democrats was also elected...with great enthusiasm. With a brilliant and charismatic Democratic President, a discredited Republican Party, and Democrats ascendant in Congress, America expected great things.

    But the Democrats in Congress failed to support the progressive agenda of that brilliant and charismatic President. Failed to support gay rights and healthcare reform and watering down environmental policies. Great things did NOT happen because Congressional Democrats failed to support a popular Democratic President, leaving voters disappointed. In order to get things done, the mark of a good Administrator, that progressive-leaning, brilliant and charismatic President turned to compromise. The boldest parts of the new President's agenda were abandoned and the less bold were compromised. Some major reforms really did get done, and great advances made, but the most dramatic, important reforms were dropped or compromised out of existence.

    Progressives lost faith because they wanted more. They ignored the real reforms that had been taking place in their disappointment that even more important reforms had been dropped or compromised too much and the President and Congress, unable to cooperate effectively, lost the faith of their base. The right wing they sought to compromise was emboldened and tried pulling things further to the right, despite the fact that their extremist agenda was already discredited and unpopular.

    By failing to unite, Democrats lost the faith of their base and left voters in general confused. By sticking to their message, no matter how shrill, discredited and wrong, the right wing pulled together despite differences. And that discredited, shrill, dead wrong right wing extremist faction won big in the midterm Congressional elections over the disjointed, overly compromising Democrats despite the brilliance and charisma of the Democratic President. That right wing "revolution" diluted the agenda of that charismatic, brilliant Democratic President for the rest of his time as President.

    That describes the first two years of Bill Clinton's Presidency. And it is describing so far the beginning of Obama's Presidency. In both cases, Congressional failure to back their charismatic and genuinely brilliant President is leading to loss of faith among their base and allowing right wing extremists to regroup after suffering a considerable setback.

    We are repeating history. ALL of us. Blue Dogs, Progressives, Congressional Democrats and our President are ALL repeating history. If we don't learn our lesson from the first two years of Clinton's administration, we will repeat the Gingrich-led (side note: why does spell check still recognize Gingrich but not Obama?) right wing extremist resurgence that so hurt America.

    What is our fucking problem????? All of us. Progressives fuck up. Blue Dogs fuck up. Our Congressional Reps fuck up. And our President fucks up. In exactly the same way we fucked up before. My previous piece in this disjointed, out of order series was an attempt to recognize this basic fact: we are repeating history, repeating our failure. Progressives blame Obama and the Blue Dogs. Blue Dogs blame Obama and the Progressives. Voters are just plain disappointed. That disappointment, in Progressives, in Blue Dogs and in Obama, will translate to an openness to the same insane rhetoric of the right wing extremists that they opened up to when Gingrich came along. Which means voters will make the same mistakes again. And in the end America suffers.

    Wake up Democrats. Progressives and Blue Dogs alike. You are failing to learn from history. Congressional Democrats: you are failing to learn from history. President Obama: you are failing to learn from history. Right wing extremists...well, they are pretty much doing the same things that eventually brought us Gingrich and the unelected Bush. Those who see teabaggers as a good thing are forgetting how Gingrich and Bush came to power.


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