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Wednesday, November 30, 2016


Okay, so I give some money to this or that organization, I sign a raft of on-line petitions [sometimes twice -- does anybody check?], I go to a Moral Monday meeting, I write for my blog -- all of this eases the pain a bit, at least while I am doing it, but who are we kidding, right?  What really needs to be done?

I think the answer is pretty simple.  The problem is that I can't do it, and neither can you.  What we need is someone capable of raising large amounts of money [fifty, sixty, a hundred million], using it to pay full-time staff, crafting a fifty state, 435 Congressional District, state rep and state senator plan, recruiting good progressive candidates at every level, and then running this whole operation for years on end.

There is in fact someone who can do this.  It isn't Bernie, God love him, it isn't Elizabeth Warren, God love her, it is Barack Hussein Obama.  For good and sufficient reasons Obama can't do this until after January 20, 2017, and also until he has taken his wife on a vacation, as he keeps reminding us, but then ...

Will he do it?  I honestly haven't a clue.  I have never exchanged a word with the man.  But when he sees Trump dismantling his legacy, he just might.

If he does not step up, Bernie and Warren and some other good people will try, and I will be right there giving them my little bits of money and cheering them on, but I genuinely doubt either of them is motivated to undertake such an effort or really equipped to carry it through.

I shall be waiting and watching.


Tom Hickey said...

Obama: 'I am a New Democrat'

David E. said...

The organization that SHOULD perform all these functions is called the Democratic Party. Or something new.

Unknown said...

I believe all of them (Bernie, Warren, Obama) and more will be stepping up, very soon after January 20. The first targets will be the most egregious nominations that require Senate confirmation, and specific legislative proposals as they arise. But for the longer term, they will turn their efforts to raising money for and supporting state and local candidates in the states that will have elections in 2017--and then the big one in 2018.

House districts will still be gerrymandered at that time, but it certainly is possible, if not probable, that the bloom will be off the Trump rose by then. If the Obama coalition turns out to vote--a big, big "if"--the Democrats might just take the House. At that point, they would control the House agenda and its committees which could start a little payback for all of the investigations the Republicans have done for the past six years.

I keep reminding myself that the Republican party was wiped out in 1964. Four years later, we had Richard Nixon.

Chris said...

The idea that Obama will be a progressive leader is less grounded in reality than any view I've seen Trump voters lampooned for on this blog. AS WE SPEAK HIS WHITEHOUSE IS ACTING AGAINST APPOINTING KEITH ELLISON TO DNC CHAIR IN FAVOR OF AN ESTABLISHMENT DEM! If they don't want a progressive DNC chair, why would they want a major progressive house strategy!? He's floating his TERRIBLE labor secretary as DNC chair! Hell he helped talk Biden out of running for president to help coronate Clinton! Obamas is a Clintonian triangulation democrat.

My cited sources so people don't think I'm discounting Obama because he's not pure enough.

Robert Paul Wolff said...

OK, suggest an alternative that has a realistic chance of success. I am open to anything.

s. wallerstein said...

Maybe I'm just an old man and completely out of date, but from my experience, a movement (civil rights movement, movement against the Viet Nam war, woman's movement, human rights movement in Chile) does not need a 100 million dollars to start: it's not a question of money at all, although it helps to have computers and telephones and a few paid staff (who generally accept low wages because they believe in the cause).

The movement needs to occur at the right time, it needs some very dedicated people who don't care about money at all and they need to convince others.

We've just been arguing about Fidel Castro in another thread. Fidel spent his entire personal fortune on the expedition from Mexico with the Granma boat. The people who went with him risked their lives as did Fidel himself. I'm not claiming that people have to risk their lives to get this movement going, but unless people are willing to give up things for the cause, it's not going to get anywhere and it's just going to turn into one more do-good organization.

Chris said...

Small step, let's keep calling the WH and DNC demanding Ellison get the appointment. If we want progressives running in all the local and house elections we really need a progressive as chair, no?

Robert Paul Wolff said...


levinebar said...

from where I sit, the emphasis on fund-raising is exactly what gave us the Wasserman-Schultz debacle. Surely wee need an organization of ideas, not of donor-relations?

Barry H. Levine

Robert Paul Wolff said...

OK, Chris, I called and left a message of support for Elison.

levinebar said...

for Hillary, all power flows top-down
and Debbie can deliver a swing-state
denying power to that fascist clown
no compromise of ethics seems too great
the DNC bet on the weaker horse
'cause donors disapproved of Bernie's views
without a PAC to multiply his force
he shakes out pushkes from Progressive Jews
the senator from WallStreet tops the bill
and scolds the peasants to get on the bus
but no one here's convinced that Clinton will
risk irritating donors to serve us
now she and Trump compete to stoke up fear
and I wake screaming; it could happen here

Barry H. Levine

Jerry Fresia said...

Thomas Frank telling liberals that the "problem is them' and why nothing will change:

Chris said...

I know I'm a tad pugnacious to put it mildly, but I couldn't agree with Frank more. I'm pretty convinced the problem is the 'new democrats' (i.e., that the FDR dems). We should work with them to stop Trump, but we should not work with them in the sense of reforming and progressive-izing the democratic party. On that front, as Trotsky said, they should be in the dust bin of history.