I am going to make one last comment on the series of rather angry posts that have been prompted by my support for Obama's budget deal with the Republicans. Then I am going to move on to something else. Let me explain why. There is a long tradition, started by Marx himself, of fratricidal in-fighting on the left. [As young men, Marx and Engels started things off with their boisterous fights with the Bauer brothers and others on the left.] This visceral anger is focused on those actually relatively close to one's own position, while the real enemies are passed over more or less in silence, as though it is not even necessary to get angry at them.
Now, for the past two years, our politics have been dominated by the instransigence of the Republicans, who have used the device of the filibuster to hold every Democratic proposal hostage. But the anger for failures and compromises seems to be focused almost entirely on Obama, who is, after all, a great deal closer to the left than are the Republicans, or even the Blue Dog Democrats who have themselves held the Democratic proposals hostage.
Are Obama's politics mine? No, but then I never thought they were. Would he have preferred a larger stimulus package? I think clearly yes, but he knew he could not get what he wanted, and he very nearly did not get the cut down package he was willing to settle for. Would he have liked a public option in the health bill? Pretty clearly yes, but what does it matter? There was no chance at all of getting that past the Republicans, or even past many in his own party. Does Obama want to end the tax cuts for the rich? yes. Can he get that? No. Does he want to end DADT? Yes. Can he get even that? Judging from last night's vote, maybe not.
Who is to blame for all of this? In the first instance, the Republicans. Surely that is obvious. But those Republicans were elected by constituents. So why is there not more anger on the left at the people who put Jon Kyl and Jeff Sessions and John Boehner and the egregious Susan Collins and all the others in office?
One commentator cited a poll, which I have also seen, purporting to show that the "American people" are farther to the left than Obama. Really? Take a look at the results of the recent election. Is the time ripe for revolution? Give me a break. To be sure, the future is always harder to predict than the past, but on my reading of the current political situation, America is a good deal riper for fascism than it is for a proletarian revolution.
Now, I don't like in-fighting with those who are, or ought to be, my comrades. In this respect, I dislike Marx's mentality. I do not choose to go that route, so I am going to stop responding to angry posts about "Obama and the other demons" and focus my energies on things I can do to make the situation a tiny bit better. And I will continue to keep at the forefront of my awareness the simple fact that the Republicans, and the Americans who elect them, are the real problem.