Should Progressives Be Worried?; More on Bruce Raynor …

by on August 17, 2009

To the Editor:

Communitarian? So, conservatives are supposedly being racist when they call Obama a socialist, but Bill Clinton can overtly refer to the modern progressives as “communitarian?” Why doesn’t the Rhodes scholar just call it what it is, collectivism? Meanwhile, progressive have every reason to be nervous about the future — nervous the candidate they elected to the White House will utterly fail to realize anything like the change for which they’d hoped and voted. Obama has escalated, not reduced war. He has perpetuated, not curbed, secret wire-tapping. He has maintained the status quo on Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. And Greg Palast has a great article (Obama on Drugs: 98% Cheney) circulating currently on how the president’s supposed reform deal on pharmaceuticals will lock-in a doubling of drug costs over the next ten years, with Obama securing a very modest 2% reduction in the expected increases. Though it’s not represented by the town hall screamers, there is very legitimate critcism of Obama and his healthcare reform to be made — and it should be coming from the left. Yes, progressives should be very worried.

Joseph Nicholson

To the Editor:

I think there is more than enough reason to be optimistic about 2010 and 2012. What Nate Silver, other pollsters and others in the media are fixated on are post-war election trends. I have been making the point for some time that 2008 and into the near future have no resemblance to post-war politics. The closest would be the elections of ’32, ’34, and ’36. What pollsters and progressives should not forget is that this country is in crisis, we know it and so does your average voter. GOPer scream-fests only help to point out this fact, that what is needed, what is wanted (if it is not any specific change) is change, and these interests and these hateful people are standing in the way.

Note that in ’32 Roosevelt took back the House by a swing of over a 100 seats. The GOP lost 101 seats in a single election. Then, in the ’34 midterms, the Dems won nine MORE seats (and the Rubs lost 14 altogether, 5 to the Progressive Party in Wisconsin). How does the party in power go from controlling the House 313-117 to upping the majority 322-103 in the next election? You can see pundits’ heads popping. Add to this that Dems won 12 more seats in ’36 and the Rubs lost 15 more.

In the Senate the Dems went from 60-35 in ’32 to 69-25 in ’34 to 76-17 in ’36. Three straight election gains in both houses. This should put to rest any notion that Americans are unwilling to give near complete power to a single party. There is this idea right now that Dems will find it hard to surpass 60 seats in the Senate, but I would say that history shows this is more not less likely. Voters reward action and they reward the party that brings a brighter future.

The Rubs and blue dogs can succeed at two things before the 2010 elections: they can thwart parts (perhaps big parts) of Obama’s agenda and they can make voters more cynical about our ability to change and meet the needs of the future. Neither can really be seen as helping the GOP at the ballot box. Obama has been very good at letting the loony right have its say, to get loud and obnoxious until it becomes clear that there really isn’t anything there. He had also been good at framing the debate (which he has not done so well for health care), and as time goes on, the viability of blind opposition and no change becomes less and less tenable.

We are right to be frustrated right now, but there is no reason to lose hope. Clinton is right, he is taking the long view, which is what
progressives must do as well.

Robert Murphy

To the Editor:

Well exxcuuuusee me, I am sure you are frolicking in Pittsburgh planning for a big progressive 2010 redux Vegas but am I missing something — isn’t there a rather large elephant in the room that’s roaring on its hind legs right now that may sink progressives? Ooops, just a minute here — I have to put lipstick on my pet insurance hog Selby. He’s sooo cute! Pass the crackers.

What plan would Dr. King endorse if he were alive today? What elephant, like taking public option off the table? Maybe it’s just a coincidence but I was just reading Paul Krugman’s “The Conscience of A Liberal” where he cogently makes the case for single-payer and a redistribution of wealth.

What safety …uh … net by the roots? This is the ultimate, isn’t it: public option right now and intellectual lipstick won’t make a difference in a year. And when I say now I am not talking about the women’s organization. Can I be clearer: right now, public option the ultimate test of prgressivism and Obama’s worth. Got questions?

Dave Schneider
San Francisco

To the Editor:

This just goes to show how Bruce Raynor has, does, and will always speak out of both sides of his mouth. Again this article is enlightening the world to this truth. Thank you for your unending passion for the Labor movement and the truth in general.

Alice-Marie Tucker

To the Editor:

I am the President and Business Manager for UNITEHERE Local 150 in Syracuse NY. Because the Local 150 Officers saw through the illegal actions being ordered by Boss Raynor and chose to stay with our International Union UNITEHERE, Local 150 Union has had its office furniture and files stolen and trashed, its officers slandered and raiding attempts and house visits made to our members at all of our units whether they are in an open period or not. At several work places Local 150 members have had their rights as Union Members trampled on because of Workers United and most recently as Monday August 10th I received a death threat on my cell phone for fulfilling my duties as a Union representative and elected officer. Who will stop Bruce Raynor from destroying the Labor Movement?

Ann Marie Taliercio

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