The 2012 Presidential race is on, and I hereby announce that I oppose the renomination of Barack Obama for the Democratic party candidacy.
This is not a case of buyer’s remorse despite my political leanings. I did not vote for Obama in 2008. Neither did I vote for John McCain. I made a very difficult choice to write in Ron Paul as the only candidate offered by any party that stood for something—anything—I believe in, and even choosing Ron Paul was a long stretch. I refuse to support candidates who feel free to “hippie punch” me, denigrate me, and stomp on all my goals (as expressed far better than I can do here. Julius Caesar taught me that one can only be stabbed in the back so many times before one succumbs, and I won’t back down. So I support the growing effort to replace the ineffective Barack Obama on the ticket with someone else.
I thought I’d begin my advocacy with a little history of how this movement began and grew. And yes, despite the talk to the contrary, it grows still. Some of the sectors of growth might surprise you, and I offer a couple of examples in this post.
As of September of 2009, Keith Olbermann expressed the idea that progressives were willing to abandon Obama. “He’s compromised on everything so far… If it’s necessary to find somebody else to run against him, I think they’d do it…”
Others back then thought so as well. By the following February, blogger Patrick Roberts of irishcentral.com promoted Evan Bayh as a substitute, suggesting that the motive for the “more electable” Bayh was a grudge over repeated VP slot snubs dating back to John Kerry’s campaign. Not the first time has spite had repercussions, right Scott Walker?
With the midterm races heating up, former Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell suggested that Rep. Ron Paul will never have a better chance than in 2012 to run third party. Rendell admits that such a move would only benefit Obama’s chances. Sneaky, Ed! I doubt that this is going to happen; and if it did, I doubt I would vote for him again. Get serious!
It looks like Rendell did get serious. A month after his Ron Paul promotion, Rendell was thoughtful about Obama’s shortcomings in specifically citing Afghanistan as an opening for an antiwar Democrat to challenge Obama in the primary. There could be some party support for such a move, as Massachusetts Democrat Rep. James McGovern, New York Democrat Rep. Jerrold Nadler, and California Democrat Rep. Lynn Woolsey all were quoted as agreeing with Rendell’s choice for Obama’s Big Electoral Problem.
Progressive filmmaker Robert Greenwald, president of Brave New Films/Foundation, disagrees that a Democrat is likely to emerge as a challenger for the liberal cause. Firedoglake.com founder Jane Hamsher supports Greenwald’s view, and expresses her opinion that Obama’s only real challenge will come from the Republicans.
But I wouldn’t be so fast to dismiss the possibility of a primary challenge from a Democrat. Numerous studies from the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press reveal that the economy and job growth are major topics for Americans, both easy pickings for a left-leaning candidate. HAMP failed to rescue homeowners from a growing foreclosure attack, and job growth is still pathetic. Obama’s record on both is dismal at best, and he is regularly accused of selling out Main Street to support Wall Street greed even by Blue Dogs. Obama now appears to be ready to surrender YOUR Social Security to their hunger. His own retirement is already secured. I’d like to help him collect it while he’s young enough to enjoy it. I’m sure he’ll feel our pain.
Relatively minor issues (to him, that is) will also plague the President while in pursuit of voter preference. He’s rapidly losing environmentalist support, and his rejection of environmentalist Bill McKibben’s symbolic restoration of White House solar panels is deemed a betrayal of principles espoused by Candidate Obama. A call for a primary challenge has thus been issued.
Republicans are all over this idea. Smarting that their best choices can’t gain traction against such a lame poser as Obama is (even Fox says so), they are vociferously touting the meme. Major GOP stalwarts like Dick Morris and Ari Fleischer got out in front of the pack, taking an early lead as the shellac dried on Obama’s mandate revocation.
The media chimed in once the topic was known, but the proposed solutions varied widely. While Dan Rather predicted that a challenge would stem from Obama’s tax cut extension (watch via Eyeblast), Stanford MLK Scholar Clarence Jones sought the New Gene McCarthy to run against the Terror Wars Against Terror.
Explanations for Obama’s shortcomings were also readily available. For example, Frank Rich posited that Stockholm Syndrome was the reason for Obama’s lack of leadership leading to serious midterm defeat. Based on Obama’s own expressed homages to Ronald Reagan, Rich might well be on to something.
But exculpatory explanations are worthless when the pressure is on. Dan Rather reported that major Democratic contributors were only going to give Obama a few more months to reverse the common impression that “he won’t fight for anything” before they push for a primary challenge. It isn’t “What has Obama done lately?”—it’s “What has Obama done?”. Those few months, depending on which number is cited as to the duration of their patience, are expiring.
That closing time may well be now. Adding to previous efforts to nudge Obama into action issued by Tikkun magazine editor Michael Lerner, Robert Kuttner of The American Prospect, and Adam Green, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, liberal and progressive politicians such as Dennis Kucinich are loosing their salvos at an embattled Oval Office lavishly decorated in a 1938 British empire decor.
In addition, potential rivals—friendly and not so friendly—are consolidating their positions. Ralph Nader won’t commit to running again, but expresses a desire to see liberals reject the notion that they have no option but to vote for Obama. I personify the refutation of that mis-impression, and have regularly since 1980.
But don’t cry for Obama just yet! He does have his defenders. Rep. Charlie Rangel energetically rejects the primary challenge concept while Democratic Strategist managing editor Ed Kilgore declares that any challenger would have to peel away a large portion of Obama’s black support, an effort already underway on the Republican side as any simple Google search will attest through voluminous links regarding new voter registration requirements.
If it can be done, rest assured that it will be done by the GOP. They need all the help they can get if the polls are to be believed. The fact that they are actually listening to The Donald as if he’s a serious choice is either a sign of serious desperation on the part of the Republicans, or a masterful distraction play to boost the prospects of former Utah governor Jon Huntsman. Huntsman hasn’t yet announced his candidacy, but he seems to be leaning in that direction. 2008 Obama campaign manager David Plouffe appraises Huntsman as “a tough presidential opponent.”
The bottom line is that Obama is his own worst re-election opponent. His limp Presidential persona runs up against his dynamic Campaign persona—and trips. His image has become so bad that the normally-supportive EJ Dionne suggests that the twain should meet, as if that would help clear things up any.
One has to know it’s very bad for Obama when Republican commentators like Ralph E. Shaffer, a former Cal Poly Pomona professor of history, declare that “A scent of rebellion is in the air” and that it might save the Democratic Party. Shaffer points to the recently ousted slate of “unemployed Democratic governors and representatives now available” that just might “remember why he was elected.” And we progressives thought Obama worked hard to lift the Republicans off the floor in 2008!
I don’t think that Karl Rove is going to like this much, Ralph. He’s worked too long for the complete collapse of the Democrats for you to step in with a reasonable rescue strategy. The good news for you is that I doubt Obama is even listening. He hasn’t so far.Powered by Sidelines