Now that the corporatist to install the permanent corporatist revolution has been elected, I’ve heard a lot of rumblings about the abysmal selections to Obama’s government from ‘progressive’ commentators and pundits. Some of us, all along were talking about, precisely what Barack Obama is doing (and has done since winning the election); before we watched him install some of the most regressive Democrats possible (obviously I’m well aware the Democratic Party seems to be on an eternal march rightward, but how some of these appointments are even Democrats is beyond my comprehension), to the highest positions of power and authority in his administration (he’s seem to be playing pick the Monsanto, Raytheon, Wall Street, military-industrial complex ‘star’ player of the day). I haven’t heard any of the most prominent liberals/progressives (except for maybe this one article), who voted for Obama (and many no doubt encouraged others to do so) come out yet and say McKinney was right or that Nader was right (or that those progressives who were saying they can no longer support Republican-lite neoliberal Democrats were right) about Barack Obama and the Democratic Party.
Of course, Obama is not even president yet, but based upon his thin moderate to center-left record in the Senate, and his record of being to the right of his constituents in a very liberal Chicago district; it’s already clear to me that little to no progressive policy will be made (and advanced) during the Obama presidency. Some have already called for a wide ranging and vigorous social movement to push Obama toward a more socially just, progressive orientation, but these commentators fail to understand what country it is that they are analyzing and talking about. This isn’t France or Greece or Iceland, this is the United States of America! We don’t have the kind of militant engaged citizenry that you see in many Western Europe countries (and there’s no social democratic or labor party in this country to enact good policies if politicians could be pushed to do so).
If the major progressive/liberal publications and websites had gotten behind Nader or McKinney or another third party progressive, I’m not saying s/he would have won; but there would have been a much greater showing for such an alternative candidate. The work of building a third progressive party or social movement at the local and state level still needs to be done, but a far greater showing for a non-duopoly candidate could have been a productive jumping-off point from which to build a party or movement outside of the Democratic establishment. Now progressives will be left (out), merely to criticize nearly every appointment and policy that Obama pursues during the next four to eight years of his presidency; instead of showing ourselves to be a powerful force, and showing the kind of backing we have all over this country.
The progressives who aided and abetted Obama Inc., supported an agenda that, while different than George Bush’s; will only lead to better PR efforts for foreign wars, and larger scraps for the majority of Americans on their dinner tables. What has been the overall gain from the lesser evilism strategy (if one can even call it a strategy, it’s more akin to battered wife syndrome)? Perhaps a stop to the installation of pure unmitigated fascism? Corporate power (it’s not too distant cousin), however, has not been seriously curtailed or impeded. I’m reminded of a quote I came across in an article I read the other day, it’s from an active member of the NDP (New Democratic Party, a social democratic party in Canada), “I don’t have one minute’s use for strategic voting.” He went on to say, “I just believe in the most intransigent of ways that you vote for your convictions.”