Obama Primary: Letter to Alan Grayson

(11 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

Cross-posted at Firedoglake.com

I posted this on Grayson’s website:


Hello Alan-

I am a former supporter and donator to your first campaign, and have generally been very impressed with the positions you have taken.  I heard you on Sam Seder’s show of Wednesday the 21st, though, and must say that I am very disappointed to hear you denigrate the idea of a primary challenge to President Obama.

I have asked a number of high-profile progressives what they would think about a primary challenger, and of the ones who have taken the negative position, the reasoning seems to boil down to the old “lesser-of-two-evils” argument-that no matter how little difference there appears to be between Obama and Bush on matters of substance, we still must reelect Obama because he’s, I don’t know, not a Republican, or not as illiterate as Bush, or something.  The best argument I’ve heard is the Supreme Court one:  If we don’t put Obama back in, then when the critical 5th vote comes up, we’ll get another evil corporatist.  This fails on a number of levels: Change originates from an organized electorate, not from the top down, for one; and for another, Obama has never done anything to in any way hinder the oligarchy, so where does the idea come from that, at such a critical moment, he would suddenly change?  Not a good reason to support Obama, or to fear a Republican win.

Seems to me that the situation is this:

1.)  Obama is provably a corporatist tool of the oligarchy: He was put into power by Goldman Sachs’ money and the assistance of the corporatist media.  And, once installed, he has done exactly everything they want him to do.  Except on matters of style or of peripheral social concerns, he has governed in every way just like George Bush did;

2.)   Obama has effectively gutted the movement toward real change. Whether by design or not, he has proven to be the perfect foil for the progressive movement which was coalescing around him in 2008; this movement, under a strong progressive leader in the Presidency, could really have had a chance to turn this country in a better direction. Instead, what you see is widespread disgust and increasing apathy amongst progressives-exactly what we don’t need, but exactly what the oligarchy wants;

3.)  The only way we are going to get real progressive change out of the coming economic disaster is if we have a strong, organized people’s movement to counteract the lying liars at Fox/ABC/CNN/NBC/CBS and the massive money of the fossil fools and the war industries.  Yet Obama works to stultify any progressive instinct; his administration is a cold, dead hand on the Democratic Party, working at every turn to stifle any movement toward any type of change that would provide any opening for a real challenge to the ruling kleptocracy.  Obamacare is a perfect example; instead of giving us a public option, we get this monstrosity which will mean that people like my wife and me-I am 60, she is 54, we make around $50,000/year with preexisting conditions, and simply cannot afford private health insurance, yet will get no subsidy because we make “too much money”-will have to fork over the tax penalty at the end of the year, and will get nothing for it.  This really will hurt us (basically giving us the choice between buying substandard health “insurance” or paying our home mortgage)-and that’s if we don’t get sick again, and both of us have preexisting illnesses (two cancers, for me). Perfect position for the healthcare-denial criminals-they’ll squeeze ever-more money out of the dying middle class, but little real good will be done.  Not so good for We the People, but those are the masters Obama serves;

4.)  In our ineffective duopoly, the only chance a progressive movement has is to take over the Democratic Party just as the rightist theocratic oligarchy did the Republican Party. Yet Obama is preventing this-just by his monopolization of the presidency; so

5.)  Why not run a challenger against Obama? I am old enough to remember Bobby Kennedy. I remember the excitement progressives felt; I saw the energizing effect it had on people politics. This is the only path I see toward getting the activated political majority we need-do you see another?  And even though we failed to stop Nixon, the sheer excitement of the time led to the creation of a political point of view which finally stopped the Vietnam War, and which echoes still today.   And if this leads to Obama’s defeat:  So much the better.  It is far preferable that Obama lose and we have a shattered Democratic Party to rebuild, than for him to win-and the corporatist poison that is killing us continue to spread while the Democratic Party is paralyzed for another 4 years.  Yet somehow the “lesser-of-two-evils” myth continues; somehow the vain hope seems to spring eternal that our corporatist overlords will maybe not be so bad on us if only we put in another Clintonist Blue Dog rather than an illiterate bumpkin.  What that means is the difference between Antonin Scalia and Anthony Kennedy-but this is only a difference in degree as to how painful the conditions of our slavery are, not in any way a fight over whether we should be owned by these neofeudalists in the first place.

So: Can YOU give any coherent reasons why we shouldn’t primary Obama-and if he wins anyway, deliberately support the Republican so he loses and then maybe, just maybe, we can rebuild the Party? The ideal situation would be to elect as many progressives to the congress as possible, but to vote Green for the top spot if there is no real Democrat running.  That way there would be strong coherent voice of opposition to President Romney’s policies-and when the economy hits the fan, it’ll be the Republicans who will be blamed, not the Democrats.

So what do you say?  Can you change your position-and call for a primary challenge to Obama, regardless of its effects on his chances for reelection?

Thanks for listening. I’d love to hear a response.


    • alamacTHC on September 25, 2011 at 18:30

    …Grayson seems to be the latest to fall under the “Lesser-of-two-evils” myth.

    Are we f*cked or not?

    • alamacTHC on September 26, 2011 at 23:06

    …on FDL.  Here is his response, followed by my reply:

    Dear Alamacthc:

    Since you did listen to the Sam Seder show, you should realize that I didn’t “denigrate” the idea of a primary challenge to President Obama; my statements were much more nuanced than that. What I said is that I’ve heard two reasons for such a challenge: (1) to replace the President as the Democratic candidate, or (2) to force the President to tack to the left in order to keep the nomination.

    Regarding the first reason, as far as I can see, the only candidates who are likely to have a very substantial chance of beating President Obama for the nomination are Al Gore, Hillary Clinton, and Howard Dean. None of them is interested in running. In other words, there is no Eugene McCarthy, Robert Kennedy or Ted Kennedy (or for that matter, Ronald Reagan, who almost beat Gerald Ford) out there.

    Regarding the second reason, having spent some time with the President, I don’t think that a challenge from the left would move him to the left at all. On the contrary, I think that it would give him an opportunity for Sistah-Souljah “hippie-bashing,” to show how “independent” he is. (Independent of progressives, anyway.)

    That’s my analysis. You may agree or disagree; that’s your prerogative. But I have given this a lot of thought, so please characterize what I said properly. Just like you, I want to see a strong Progressive President in the White House.


    Alan Grayson

    Thanks for the reply, Alan. You are one of my favorite politicians, and I’m impressed that you took the time to respond; most run from the issue.

    And let me urge everyone to donate to Alan Grayson’s campaign. We definitely need his strong, progressive voice in Congress again:


    Now, Alan: With regard to the substance of your response: Do you, therefore, agree that we need to run a primary challenger regardless of its effects on Obama? Because this is the point I do not seem to be able to get anyone to respond meaningfully to: I strongly believe that we are better off challenging Obama, even if this means he will lose the general, because: 1.) He is, as I wrote, a cold, dead hand on the Democratic Party, and is stifling progressive activism by his occupation of the office. We Prog’s are either going to vote Green, if we are activated; or stay home, if we are not, so long as Obama is at the top of the ticket. A primary challenge (regardless of how strong the challenger is) would at least proffer the hope that we could activate more people, and thus have a meaningful chance of impacting the 2012 election. On the other hand: If Obama’s there, then the majority of non-activated progressive-leaning voters will be so apathetic that they are likely to stay home; 2.) If he staggers back into office (unlikely, in my view), then the Democratic Party will be paralyzed for another four years. On the other hand: If he loses, then during the mis-administration of President Romney, we will have a chance to rebuild the Party in a truly progressive way-and a primary challenge could form the nexus of the movement that would undertake that rebuilding.

    And here is a third reason for “primarying” him, which you did not list: 3.) The economy is going down the drain right now, and it will get worse to the point of disaster so long as corporatists (whether Obama/Clinton DINOs or Republicans) are in control. The next presidential term will see the worst effects of the collapse. It will be far better if Republicans are formally in power when this happens rather than DINOs, because the low-information majority will blindly blame whichever party holds the presidency. So why not, if we can’t get a true progressive, work to defeat the DINOs precisely to avoid this?

    In other words: Can you give a solid reason why supporting Obama for reelection is worth the mass disenchantment which he created by his corporatist behavior-and which will worsen so long as he’s in power? I believe that an activated majority is our only hope for real change. Obama is killing all chances for the creation of such an activated majority. So, don’t you think we need to get him out of there-by whatever electoral means, including a primary challenge?

    Thanks again for your response. I apologize for using “denigrate” rather than “downplay” or something less contentious. I hope, however, you see the larger gist of my comments-because we are definitely on the same side ~a

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