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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A Report Card on Obama's Progressive Agenda...

As the President sends more troops to Afghanistan, many progressives are deserting him, accusing him of being a continuation of Bush-Cheney. To oppose sending more troops into harms way is the correct position, however, the politics of an immediate withdrawal may have been a bit more problematic. As progressive commentator Ed Schultz argues, the complexity of the problem leads him to support the President but oppose the policy.

On the domestic front, Nathan Newman argues that Obama's progressive agenda has been moving right along. He presents evidence that the President's policies are not "a continuation of Bush policies," as has been the charge. His arguments and "data" show that the election has brought about a fundamental change in orientation from that of Bush and America's right wing. At a Congressional hearing the Obvama's Justice Department Civil Rights Division exposed the Bush reactionary practices.

Obama was a member of an anti-racist, anti-imperialist black liberation theology congregation for 21 years. He was married in that concgregation, his children were christened in that congregation. While he has not renounced the "free market," there is not much in his history to suggest that he is just another member of the capitalist class out to attack the working class.

The issue is here is whether or not "the perfect" (i.e., revolutionary) left agenda is the enemy of modest (i.e., electoral) progress for the working class? Fundamentally, the question is: Is it possible for a progressive agenda to move from protest to politics, or even more governance in the context of what is argued to be a center-right nation? RGN

Progressives (and Obama) are Doing Better Than We Think -- and We Won't Know What We've Got 'Til It's Gone
By Nathan Newman - November 30, 2009, 9:01AM

Polls show the Democratic base is unmotivated to turnout in 2010-- and it's no wonder given all the rhetoric that Obama hasn't done much with his 2008 victory. Those attacks from the rightwing are understandable from a partisan position, but many progressives seem to oddly be aping similar rhetoric-- wallowing in glass half-empty complaints of what Obama and Congress haven't delivered while failing to actually educate the public on the successes they have. We should be able to demand more while publicly praising what we do achieve -- basic political walking and chewing gum at the same time -- but a lot of progressives seem not to have mastered the skill.

Maybe it helps that I had such low expectations of Obama's administration to begin with-- but then I thought significant federal reforms would fail due to the filibuster. So the progress actually made is a pleasant surprise. And those successes are large and profound. This post will summarize those gains, and even in summary form will be quite long, reflecting the incredible victories involved. Yes, we all wish for more, but the best way to get there is to educate the public -- and especially the progressive base -- about what we got in the last year and how replacing moderates and conservatives with more real progressives could deliver even more in the future.

Quick Summary of 2009 Progressive Victories (more explanation below)

For the full article click here

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