What Happens if Obama Loses the Left?

Simulposted at Daily Kos

No, I am not talking about the Center-Left, I mean the, for lack of a better term….The Issue-Left.

We all have seen the tensions on the blogs between the members of the Center-Left and the Issue-Left. The CL are the people who portray activists pushing for their issues as “wanting a Pony” or insist that Obama has only been in office for ____ number of months…..you know, the people who confuse political activism with impatience.

The people who think that speaking up for a cause you believe in is….rude, or means that you HATE Obama.

Obama obviously NEVER has to worry about losing them. They have no expectations, and thus cannot be dissapointed. They are willing to settle for whatever crumbs Obama will toss them. Or think that if they just wait, patiently and politely and quietly, Obama will eventually get around to GIVING them what they want with no effort on their part.

The people who get annoyed by other folks Yelling about issues that are important or vital to them.

But the Issue-Left?

Oh, they are not happy at all!

And there are PLENTY of them.

There are the Financial Issue People, who…for some unknown reason….object to giving away hundreds of Billions of dollars to corporate interests and the bankers who crashed the economy.

While allowing those same bankers to keep kicking REGULAR people…. people who don’t have Lobby, regular people who don’t “Own The Senate” …. out of their homes. Billions for crooks, nothing for The People.

Obama is losing them. and is about to let watered down regulations go through that will lose more of them.

The Civil Liberties Issue people, people like Russ Feingold over continuing Bush’s wiretapping program. People who don’t think the Government should be able to invoke state secrets to cover up the fact that there was a rendition program. The people who think that allowing a previous administration to get away with curtailing or destroying Constitutional Rights…..just because it looks bad for one Administration to investigate and prosecute the last one…..no matter how egregious their crimes.

The Human Rights Issues People….Torture. And again, actively fighting to let the past administration to get away with it. I can tell you that these people are VERY close to, in light of the Obama Administration to protect Bush and Cheney, STARTING to make noises about collusion and cover-up.

One or two more bad decisions, continued inaction by the DOJ and that WILL start, if what I am hearing is correct. Not to mention the apparent caving on Gitmo. Not to mention making Bagram INTO the new Gitmo.

The Equal Rights Issue people. Yeah….the Gays. The people who…for some reason….resent being equated to pedophiles, practioners of incest and bestiality. People who wonder why White Supremacists and Neo-nazis are welcomed into the Army, but Gays aren’t.

Now some of you good folks on the Center-left are going to see this as me making a threat. I fully expect to see exactly the same defenses, the same excuses…and the same insults…..in the comments that issues people always see. From the people who mistake advocacy on important issues for whining. Fine, I have learned that just about nothing will change your mind so I won’t take much time trying to convince you of this, but….

This is not a threat, it is the political reality. It is an observation of what is happening.

People, Issues people, are getting awfully damned tired of Obama pandering to the Right….

While at best ignoring….

And at worst insulting and and directly working against their issues. The issues of the Left. The Left wants to work with Obama. The Right NEVER will.

But Obama panders to them…and ignores us.

The Right is rabidly against Obama. Nothing is going to change that.

But Obama and the Center-Left CAN prevent the Issue-Left from turning on him.

Which…..LIKE IT OR NOT….they are on the verge of doing.

So…..what happens if BOTH the Right and The Left turn on him?

Has he thought about that?

have you?

Especially those of you who insist on insulting, belittling and marginalizing the Issue People?

Instead of joining the Issue people in putting pressure on Obama to be, you know….a Democrat? Instead of pandering to the Republicans at the expense of his own base?

I will say it for the ten thousandth time. Politics is about pressure. If WE don’t pressure Obama to address the issues of the Left and to stop pandering to the myth of bi-partisanship, he won’t. He won’t address the issues of the Left, the issues that you all agree with, right? If we don’t pressure him, he has no reason to. Period.

No matter how long you wait.

Putting Political Pressure on the President does NOT equal Hating him. Really. I promise.

Yeah, I know, you disagree with me, with my methods, with my….and all of the other issue people’s……shrillness. You disagree with all the whiners and the pony wanters and “Obama Haters.” Yeah, I know, you think that we have already turned on Obama, because we want to put pressure on him to do the right thing. Because we advocate for what we want Oabama to be a “fierce advocate” for.

But we haven’t…..yet.

The issue people ARE …..STARTING to run out of patience. And that is a LOT of people.

And we are the most active people. The Loudest People. The (in most cases) People who worked the hardest to get Obama elected ….so that he would address Issues.

We don’t hate him. We haven’t turned on him.

If you don’t like us now, lol…..just wait.

Now, undoubtedly…. you will blame the issues people if this happens.

It will never even occur to you to blame Obama for not addressing the issues.

It will never occur to you just how powerful we could be if we ALL worked for the changes that the Issue People want……and what a better world it would be if we ALL pressured Obama into doing these things. It will never occur to you that we had an opportunity to be a United Front for Change…

But that that opportunity was wasted because you wanted to be nice….instead of politically effective.

But let me ask you a question…..How exactly does the left pressuring Obama HURT him?

It will never occur to you that perhaps you need to change, to be the change you want to see.

It will never even occur to you that perhaps insulting and belittling Issues People is not the way to go. You will feel that we are betraying him, not the other way around.

But despite that, despite your emotions….just THINK about it. Instead of feeling it. Sort through all of the emotions I have riled up in you with this diary. Sort through all of the misplaced fear that you have that Obama will fail if he is pressured from the left as the Isuues people want to do, and want YOU to unite with them to do.

Sort through those emotions and discard them and then THINK, not feel.

From a political, instead of a personal or emotional, standpoint.

But let me ask you a question…..How exactly does the left pressuring Obama HURT him?

And think about this….

What Happens if Obama Loses the Left?


Skip to comment form

  1. Photobucket

  2. This really needed to be said. I can only imagine the firestorm in the dkos comments….

  3. you’ll not get ek’d over at the gate-keepers-crashers site.

    Here’s a thought…not a very happy one…what if Obama, etc., are doing this on purpose with the goal of making the choices for the country either right or hard right? The right, by calling Obama a Socialist (a bad joke, of course) force themselves ever rightward, while moving Obama (a president only a fat cat could love) and the Dems to the right/right-center, thereby abandoning the actual center, left-center, etc.

    • sharon on June 16, 2009 at 20:59

    have a conference call starting shortly but will do my best to support you.

    • ANKOSS on June 16, 2009 at 21:05

    What happens if the plutocracy loses the Left?

    What happens if the Military-Industrial Complex loses the Left?

    What happens if the financial gangsters lose the Left?

    Not much, but at least the Left can resume opposition to these destructive and anti-democratic forces. Obama has effectively neutralized the Left (Progressives) in America, and the sooner Progressives openly oppose him, the sooner we can get real Progressive leadership in America.

  4. said beautifully by RandomActsOfReason on DKos:


    The argument is not that the Left pressuring Obama hurts him.

    The argument is that calling Obama names and making statements about how it doesn’t matter whether D’s or R’s are in charge, and how he is just like Bush, and how he has failed – when his presidency is just beginning – and how we need a third party, or we need a revolution, or “this is why we have the 2nd Amendment”, or “Obama is just another capitalist pig”, or all the rest of the incendiery, nonproductive, dogmatic, ideological fringe rhetoric that interprets the whole world as “US VS. THEM” –

    THAT isn’t helpful.

    It’s not about “hurting Obama”, it’s about getting the change we want to see in the world. It’s about effective action.

    No one is saying, “don’t call for investigations of torture”. People ARE saying, “don’t call Obama ‘just another torturer’ because it is taking time to shut down Guantanamo”.

    If all you do when you want change is criticize, you will not get change.

    We need to applaud when people DO enact or support policies we want to see – even if we feel ideologically ‘bound’ to hate them.

    What is lacking is balance – not in the send of middle of the road, not standing for anything wishy washiness – but, rather, in the sense of supporting the good while opposing the bad.

    This diary is a perfect example – you pretend that all the single issue people opposing Obama are right – you ignore all the strident negativity from issues you yourself oppose. You portray the “issue Left” as singularly virtuous and the voice of reason, and caricaturize the rest of us as a “Center-Left” that only cares about protecting Obama’s image.

    That is a demonization of the “Other” that does not serve dialog and genuine, lasting progress.

    Those of us who seek balance in our tactical and strategic political approach are not “centrists”, and our commitment to equal right or other issues you mention is no less than those you call “issue Left”.

    What we differ on are the MEANS to achieve those ends.

    And, we are not monolithic – on either side. There is a lot of nuance and diversity in the arguments – someone may support an absolutist, now-or-never position on torture investigations, while supporting a slow move on gay rights; others may support exactly the opposite strategy.

    You have been moving, probably out of personal frustration, from a constructive role, illuminating issues and forcing people like me to confront the realities about torture, for example, to becoming just another strident “anti” voice that demonizes everyone who differs from you, with you recognition of the difference between genuine opponents, and those who share your desired destination, – but differ on the best way to get there.

    I urge you to take a look at your most recent comments and diaries, and back off from the attacks on your brothers and sisters here who are not the enemy.

    Emphasis mine.

    • Viet71 on June 16, 2009 at 21:13


    • Edger on June 16, 2009 at 21:28

    is all that’s left, really?

    I knew that. 😉

  5. Now that Markos has written that Obama has betrayed the gay community I expect Publius will suggest Markos is a non-Democrat who should leave the site immediately.

    The answer to the question, though, is that Obama would become another John Kerry. The massive volunteerism in the 2008 campaign would be gone. “Bush” (whoever that might be) would win the 2012 election. All the things we hated about the Bush-Cheney years would become official policy (that might be true already). It would be best for us to get out of the country.

  6. Right now our nation is set on a dismal course. Even if we look beyond our wars and injustices (wars, torture, hate, injustice), each day we delay eliminating greenhouse gas emissions is another day we’ve made our nation’s fate worse.

    I know you asked for thinking, but this is what I feel. I feel if Obama loses the left, then the escape route for the United States is closed off.

    While Obama’s first five months in office have not been perfect, they are better than the two alternatives we faced at the end of 2008 — Bush staying or McCain coming.

    I have little hope that the U.S. will improve. I see the following three years as the last, best time to leave the country if a person is so inclined.

    I feel however, for most of us, there are not many options left. So, we will go down fighting yelling. Silence is consent.

    Personally, I think most of America does not care. I live in middle class suburbia and no one I know personally, other than my immediate family, gives a shit.

  7. Heh, heh, heh.

    Gimme a pony, come on.

    • robodd on June 16, 2009 at 22:29

    because there is no one to the left of him.  

    We have no hand.  Hence, must use our feet.

  8. Bill Maher said it so well last Friday night – “Enough of the audacity of hope, we need to hope for more audacity!”

    President Obama – “we” DID the HOPE THING & got you elected!

    President Obama – “we” are ready, willing & able for the AUDACITY THING – NOW!!!

    President Obama – did you become President to just “steady” the tiller on the Ship of State & thus carry on the bush/CHENEY Corporatist Republican Party legacy???

    The “bipartisan” idea is a political dead-end, “bipartisanship” means doing what the Republicans & therefore THE CORPORATIONS want – WHY? THEY LOST, WE WON!!

    Bring on the AUDACITY – NOW! If not NOW, WHEN???

    George Bush say it – BRING IT ON!!!


    Bring on the AUDACITY – NOW!!!

  9. While everyone is talking about “what if?”, there is still time for ACTION.  

    Stop the War Supplemental

    Submitted by davidswanson on Thu, 2009-06-04 20:21.

    MORE CALLS NEEDED RIGHT NOW! (Leave messages at any hour!) Use the virtual phonebank.  When this is all over, we will have: Congressional Heroes and Frauds.

    Vote could come any time tonight or Wednesday, including late at night, but possibly ca. 5:30 p.m.

    June 16th: Here’s what happened on the floor of the House on Tuesday: Live Blogging June 16, 2009, House Debate on War Supplemental: $106 Billion More for War (There was debate, but no vote yet. Us: 1; Them: 0).

    . . . .

    Also, here’s list of who stands where and phone numbers — I called all those LEANING NO

  10. 1046 comments at dk on this. I cant look!  How bad is it? lol.

    I didnt think this was gonna go over well (over there).

  11. What Happens if Obama Loses the Left?

    Barack Obama is tragically squandering the vast progressive potential Presidency with a purposefully myopic continuation and even exacerbation of many of the worst Bushist policies.

    Obama’s reasons for these actions are his own, but his ability to do so is enabled by continued high favorabilty numbers that are a leftover consequence of his feel good election victory.

    Yet one can only fly so far on fumes. The more his base of supporters stops feeling good about Obama’s status quo policy decisions, the more impetus Obama has to bring the actual change he so eloquently promised us during the campaign.

    Only when Obama truly fears he might lose the left will he stop taking it for granted.  I for one hope he gets that fear happens sooner than later, so that we might be able to salvage whatever progressive opportunity remains of this Presidency.

  12. ….just so I could get a word in edgewise.

    Thanks, buhdy, for posting this piece over there.  

    That guy who kept questioning whether you’re a Democrat is a CASE, ain’t he?

    Do you suppose progressives might be able to take over that place, and the Democratic Party, too, one of these days?  

    If it happens, a bunch of people owe you a beer, dude!  ; – )

  13. some, but good for them nonetheless.  

  14. people lose again.  Congress passed the war-funding bill (narrowly), now it goes to the Senate.  Time to start working on Senators.  

    I guess most everyone in the joke of our government WANTS WAR and WANTS WARS TO CONTINUE.  Sickening!  The defense companies must be doing a good job!!!!!!

  15. we can do productive things like work on a new uncorrupted party that the villagers won’t like.

  16. perfectly stated.

    I couldn’t get this in at DKos, but thank you for writing what I am thinking.

    The center can kiss my shiny metal ass.

    And anyone who compares far right = far left will be getting donuts from me until further notice.


    • on June 17, 2009 at 03:25

    I think that expectations were so high once Obama was elected I’m unsure they can ever be met. Also your form of government makes it more difficult to enact legislation as it requires aprroval by the House, the Senate and the President.  Unlike here in Japan were a single vote by the Diet is required to enact laws. Yes, all elected leaders should be held accountable and pressure applied where requried but that doesn’t mean you’ve turned against Obama or the Democrats it just means that perhaps it is time to listen to the people, you know the ones who voted for change.  

  17. We, the issues left, as you call us, absolutely must keep the pressure on Obama as we “keep his back”.

    Excellent, out-of-the-box analysis.

    The Left wants to work with Obama. The Right NEVER will.

    But Obama panders to them…and ignores us.

  18. I waded in over at DK earlier but the talking over one another as is the specialty there closed my trap. I did read most of the nearly 2000 comments though. One late one by dengre struck me, where he spoke about “issues politics” as being that was what kept the left ineffectual throughout the 70’s-90’s. In effect that is Kos’s whole Crash the Gate argument. So yes, the gates have been crashed and the Dems run all houses. And we have Reid and Pelosi caving, and Blue Dogs voting for their real constituents on K St and Wall St.

    The economy crashes and the special interests that own the politicians get bail outs and we the people get laid off and lose more and more of our real standards of living and rights. We are in perpetuawars with Empire sinking yet continuing the pursuit of hegemony and torture never stops.

    If we can’t do issues now or ever then what in the fucking hell is the point? To say we win? Yay? Give me my partisan hack position at the Capital? Let me be the next Ponzi Schemer at the bank to take the next payoff? Become a lobbyist? Is that what all this was about?



    I have come to see the specrum not as left to right but as civilian vs partisan. The partisans can have D, R, I after their names, no matter, they all have the same self serving goals. The civilians, the core of populist movements, can also cover the range, from anti war activists to tea baggers. They are the non professionals, the citizens.

    I’m thinking a new approach needs to be found, one that unites the citizens and ends the fucked up Culture Wars of the last many decades. That is what it will take to overthrow the ruling multinational class of CEO’s who own everything.

    Too much?

  19. Until that happens, nothing will.  

  20. Until that happens, nothing will.  

  21. I have read in a long time.

    I SO tire of being labeled an “Obama Hater” or hater in general for pointing out that no present policies really represent the promises made us.

    This branding by the center-left (and admonitions to wait, be patient, change happens incrementally) of us as “radicals” who bitch “without a plan,” and are some type of “authoritarians” for trying to speak our minds is completely unproductive. It closes the conversation and shows they are unwilling to even listen without dismissing anything less than “let Daddy handle it” and the rose-colored TV nation’s idea “That it will all work out hunky dory.”

    What moved the Nation so far Right the last 8 years, what shredded our constitution and relinquished our civil liberties was the RIGHT MOVING THE OVERTON WINDOW enough to make these things mainstream and acceptable.

    Now, as we on the Left try to do the same with our own “issues” (which I see as one issue: the acceptance of LIBERAL VALUES) they call us shrill and dire. We are muzzled by our own.

    Every time we are silenced, another liberty gets flushed: Health Care, ending Wars, equality for all regardless of orientation.

    We are not supposed to CRITICIZE?

    The most patriotic thing a Person can do is keep watch on their government and demand they do OUR will.

    They would have shot Paul Revere as an alarmist, I swear it. Heh.

    Remember: “I wanna go there too, now make me?”

    Obama has lost the Left already, and yes I will say it, the True Left, a phrase that drives moderates bat-shit crazy. For I cannot call anyone Left who stands mute, or capitulates or enables the continuing degradation of Leftist Ideals.

    Amen, budhy, and a thousand blessings on you for writing this excellent piece. It should go on every left blog everywhere. You should let every reader of DD who has a blog copy and paste it.

    You are on FIRE, man!

  22. Here’s a post from Common Dreams-as well. Between your diary, and this post it sums it for me-too.


  23. to check the DKos diary — 2097 comments????  I didn’t read down through them — just too much and I haven’t had much time of late, but, wow, is all I can say.  I can just imagine some of the comments — you created a “hellstorm?”

    Thanks for this, buhdy!  Puts things in the right perspective!  🙂

  24. in Afghanistan — not too different from Iraq, is it?  Sickening, depraved!

  25. Our greatest battles have been won by empowering each other, and uniting, for causes.

    The fastest way to lose a group of people who most likely would be open to learn, step up, and fight, is to degrade them.

    You make points I believe are valid. It is too bad this statement had to preclude those points:

    The people who think that speaking up for a cause you believe in is….rude, or means that you HATE Obama.

    Obama obviously NEVER has to worry about losing them. They have no expectations, and thus cannot be dissapointed. They are willing to settle for whatever crumbs Obama will toss them. Or think that if they just wait, patiently and politely and quietly, Obama will eventually get around to GIVING them what they want with no effort on their part.

    How did this serve a purpose in the intentions of your piece?

    Numerous vital issues could benefit greatly by many more people taking on the role of strong activists.

    Yes, our President, and those in Congress need our foots in their ass. That is why our voices, and activism is essential.

    Activism is new territory for many people, for a variety of reasons.

    Without unity we all lose, and I feel that statements like the one above put people down, not empower.

    If we don’t empower each other, how in the world can we stand together?

    Belittling is not empowering.

  26. Great post!!

    We Are With You

    until we get Justice.

    Be with us.



    Over 250,000 have signed

    Join them and call yourself a patriot

    Tell all your friends and Groups

    to add our URL to their posts

  27. You know, the ones who’d like to actually see some real Climate Change policy, not watered-down weak bullshit. Ones who’d like to see the 100% tax break applied to electric cars and solar panels that Bush gave to Hummers.

    Ones who’d like to see the same intensity given to environmental preservation that Bush gave to protecting polluters and their vile interests.

    Our majority is bigger than the GOP had, but they had no problem implementing their agenda. None whatsoever. But us? No, we need “60 votes,” for some goddamn reason. The economy and planet are melting, and CD’s are worried about “bipartisanship.”

    We believed them when they said they were keeping their powder dry because they needed a real majority. Now what the fuck are they waiting for? We won’t reward inaction the next time.

  28. In the last six months I have watched Obama’s support go from ‘There could be no one better’ to ‘there is no one available who is better’

    Third parties are so issue specific that I cannot see any of them getting more than single digits. Is it possible that after one or two more elections we have moved the center far enough left so that a progressive party could be formed and win?

    The republicans are in disarray but they are still a power house because they have the $. However if this recession/depression has a slow recovery the general population may become more engaged so that it takes more teevee ads to get votes than previously.

    A progressive (not R or D) with the internet pipes pushing as we did with Obama might make it. I think without us Obama would have become a permanent senator. I don’t think he is as convinced of that as I.

Comments have been disabled.