What Has Happen To The Democratic Party?
As a self-described left-wing Progressive who not only supported and voted for Barack Obama, but also, worked on his 2012 election team in Houston Texas I have no hesitation to say I,m very disappointed in President Obama. Many other left-wing writers and activist, have informed me I’m not alone in my disappointment with the Obama Administration. Progressives felt back in 2008 that real “hope and change" would become a reality with the election of America's first person of color to the White House. When you sit back and look at the Democratic Party in 2016 from a leftist progressive viewpoint one must go back to the start of Obama’s presidency and the subsequent Obama years to get a real perspective.
Progressives had high hopes for Obama and were a major voting block of support for him in both 2008 and 2012. Obama took office at a critical and historical time in our nation's history. You don't have to be a political junkie to know what it was like in 2008 and 2009. In this writer's eyes, he [Obama] was our generations, Franklin D. Roosevelt. Like many others, Obama convinced me he was the right man for the job to turn around our failing economy and never ending wars in the Middle East.
Instead of bringing Wall Street to court to face accountability for their actions he [Obama] did nothing more than maintaining the policies of his predecessor George Bush especially in those first critical years following the 2008 election. In fact, Obama policies helped these same Wall Street “Fat Cats." The number of Americans living in poverty rose by the equivalent of the population of Massachusetts during President Barack Obama’s first term. By the time his second ends, “black people will have lost ground in every single leading economic indicator category. From 2009 to 2012, the top 1 percent received 95 percent of income gains, a study by University of California-Berkeley economist Emmanuel Suez indicated. [See Source]
In his time in office, President Obama has accomplished some of his goals mainly the Affordable Care Act. [Obamacare] However, inequality has worsened under Obama and it's true the economy has recovered during Obama time in office. The Dow Jones is at an all-time high. The Stock Market is doing well all across the board. Our economy is in a steady growth pattern. But, for the average everyday American and working poor, it's as if nothing has changed. The facts are irrefutable that many fundamental changes are happening in our American culture much of it due to the growing inequality and Obama himself has acknowledged this reality. [Read: America the Land Of Inequality]
The bottom line is that President Obama has failed to do anything about inequality in this country and whether he tried or not is a moot point. There is no denying that any self-described "Real Progressive" who objectively looks at Obama tenure as president can say there have been some victories. However, at the same time, any fair-minded Obama supporter can't deny the by and large continuation of the broader status quo. It begs the question are we as a country moving left or right of the center?
Yes, Republican Obstructionism has played a major factor in many of the promised progressive policies not becoming reality.However, we here in the House of Public Discourse reject it as an all-encompassing excuse for failure. We have been advocating since 2013 this Republican obstruction bordered on sedition. Given we know the snail's pace our American governance moves on most issues that getting things done inside the "beltway" can be a challenge so Obama deserves credit for the few victories he has achieved.
With that said, President Obama could have and should have done more. The Progressives were behind him ready to fight for our promised progressive issues and values. The Black community was behind him on many of the critical issues facing us this very moment. “Black Lives Matter" ring a bell! When Obama entered the White House he had the wind to his back. Democrats held majorities in both houses of Congress.
Harkin: Health Care Law Should Have Included Public Option:
So we are not downplaying the role Republican Obstructionism has played. Partisan gridlock in Washington D.C. is American as baseball and cherry pie. Moreover, political obstructionism sees no colors and was nothing new so the Obama Administration should have seen it coming and prepared for it. Hell, Newt Gingrich made obstructionism a major cog in the day to day politics of the Republican Party back in the 90's and Obama and his staff should have had a game plan to combat it. They did not.
The facts are coming into office in 2009 Obama had majorities in both houses of Congress. He could have dealt with it [obstruction] much wiser than his administration did. Obama gave the Republicans the power to veto his legislation when he did not need to. These were Obama mistakes and no one else. We always know what the Republicans are going to do. The same thing over and over. And, why not? It works for them. Why? The Democrats have allowed them too. It was Obama and the Democratic Party blunder.
But, Was It A Blunder Or Was It By Design?
Take into consideration how Obama handled the banks. TARP had already passed before Obama entered the office. Obama had the power of his office and the U.S. Treasury at his disposal. So, what did they do? Just bailed them out. There were so many other options Obama could have done that he failed to do and I remember when all this went down thinking this was not the man I followed and supported on the campaign trail. He [Obama] could have forced them to divest parts of their operations. Yes, this would have been a struggle but in this writers view a struggle was in the making and he had overwhelming support on all racial fronts to do so Occupy Wall Street ring a bell. Obama could have shut the worst offender banks down completely under the receivership laws. In law, receivership is the situation in which an institution or enterprise is being held by a receiver, a person "placed in the custodial responsibility for the property of others, including tangible and intangible assets and rights", especially in cases where a company cannot meet its financial obligations or enters[Wiki]
These are just some of the things Obama could have done and he chose not to do them. Why? This is the critical thing to wrap your head around. When you stop and put the Obama Administration under the microscope I personally want to think the best about President Obama. Hell, I voted for him twice and worked to raise money for his campaign. I truly admired him. I still admire him in many ways. Listening to his speeches and how he has handled many unsavory situations a fair-minded person could not help but admire him. And there is no doubt in my mind we are better off with him than we would have been with McCain or Romney.
However, at the same time, I see many fair-minded critical thinkers trying everything they can to let him off the hook no matter that issues like the TPP trade deal are a complete reversal of his campaign trail rhetoric in 2008. This is just one example. There are others. For, me personally to overlook these factors of his presidency and just give him a pass would constitute irresponsibility on my part. When you decide to write about politics and be critical of mass media hyperbole that we saw in the 2016 elections you have to keep yourself in check and not be hypocritical yourself. Giving Obama a pass on these issues in my mind would amount to hypocrisy in its purest form. Politics matters and we must take it seriously even though we have jerks and ambitious evil politicians like Trump and Clinton.
Obama was not forced to support the TPP trade deal. Obama was not forced to expand the Drone strikes on innocent woman children in Syria. Obama was not forced to provide arms to Middle Eastern rebels that found their way into the hands of ISIS. Obama was not forced to change his position on fracking and GMO labeling. The only fact that my research has found is he chose to handle the things the way he did. What influenced these choices?
Democrats Aren't The Party of People and Obama Proved It!
When you peel back the layers from the facial mask of both political parties which has been the case here in the elections of 2016 largely due to the campaign of Bernie Sanders it's not hard to recognize that the political elites on both sides of the aisle are beholden to the same paymasters. Most Americans embrace capitalism in their everyday life but it's the type of capitalism that rules the roost with these Plutocrats that has not only cause the problem in the present but in the past as well.[See: The New World Of Corporate Feudalism History Does Repeat Itself]
In closing, let us not forget that this turbocharged form of capitalism that rules our democracy in the present is nothing more than Neoliberalism. This era of free trade and deregulation we are now living in many blame on Ronald Reagan and rightfully so, but the person who put this agenda into effect was none other than Democrat Bill Clinton. It was Ronald Reagan who began chipping away at Glass-Stegall but it was Bill Clinton that got the job done. Bill Clinton and his side-kick Hillary had more to do with the deregulation of the banks than any Republican ever did. The Clinton's and their boosters have long boasted of this fact. These disastrous free trade deals were implemented by Clinton and history is again repeating itself with Obama and the TPP trade deal. Yes, they were Republican ideas and the Clinton's jump right into bed with the lot of them. Reagan tried to chip away at the Welfare State but it took a Democrat Bill Clinton to pass legislation that changed welfare as we knew it. It was Bill Clinton who escalated the Republicans “War on Drugs" leading to the mass incarceration of millions of fine non-violent Americans. So, when I hear some Left Wing Authoritarian follower try to sell me that the Democratic Party is the “Party of the People," I’m not buying. And as a white person, I cannot speak for blacks in this country. But this fine gentleman in the following video sure can.