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"Breaking with Democrats" — two stories

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Breaking with Democrats when they stand in the way of progressive issues and values is a big theme of mine. For example, one of my Four Rules for managing an effective progressive coalition deals specifically with that issue.

And I know that others, for example, Ring of Fire's Mike Papantonio, are thinking along these lines. (By the way, you can listen to yours truly and Mr. Papantonio discuss this very topic on an upcoming RoF broadcast.)

Now come two stories on this very subject — progressives confronting Democrats when Democrats behave badly. Which is all too often.

■ One story deals with the international side — Ari Melber and Robert Naiman in The Nation.

■ The other deals with domestic affairs — Politico on how the Democratic Party is going "AWOL on the class war."

Let's look at them together; they add to each other well.

On the foreign front, here's Ari Melber at The Nation: "Breaking with Democrats, Some Activists Target Obama's Kill List" (my emphasis):
President Obama's use of drones to target alleged terrorists on a government "kill list" has attracted some new scrutiny after a major New York Times report, though politicians in both parties have spoken out more against the leaks in the article than the program itself.

While some Democratic leaders and progressive groups have been fairly muted on the issue, one Washington group, Just Foreign Policy, has stepped into the vacuum to organize against the drone program.
This is an excellent six-question interview with Mr. Naiman. It's very much about organizing to the left of Obama on foreign policy issues like drone strikes. Please do read it; I found it fascinating.

Here's a bit of Naiman on primarying Obama:
I think it is a great shame that no one of stature was willing to primary Obama from the left including on the war issue. I called for this publicly and worked privately to lobby people I thought might be willing to do it. But you can't do it without a plausible candidate, and no plausible candidate stepped forward. There are a lot of obstacles to doing this, and one of them is finding a plausible candidate who is willing to do it, and if you can't do that, it is a moot point.
On the domestic front, here's Politico: "Dems go AWOL in class war". A sample (and believe me, this is just a taste):
Labor unions hoped to turn the Wisconsin recall election into a rallying cause for their ailing movement. But a Democratic president couldn’t be dragged off the sidelines for the fight.

Anti-Wall Street activists were itching to see JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon bashed like a piñata at a congressional hearing just two weeks after his firm blew $2 billion in risky speculation. But Democratic senators greeted him with flowers, not fury [note: all but Jeff Merkley].

And, as President Barack Obama attempts to make Mitt Romney’s history as a wealthy buyout artist a centerpiece of his 2012 message, he is second-guessed and hushed by some of the leading voices in his own party.

What the hell ever happened to populism in the Democratic Party?

The recent convergence of setbacks on the left has activists and historians alike pondering anew how the modern Democratic Party has severed its connection to its own history — a tradition that many liberals wrongly imagined was about to spring back to life in the Obama years.
Don't focus on the difficulty of this fight. Focus on this:

You're not alone. People of some stature are actively working on these things. (Read the rest of the interview for more.)

Ari Melber got this piece, with that headline, into The Nation. In other words, The Nation is starting to host the Progressive-and-Democrats conversation in public. That's an excellent step forward, and Melber is a terrific ball-carrier. (If you watch his recent appearances on MSNBC, you know what I mean.)

Politico is pointing out publicly that national Dems are bad allies in the class war. That's not nothing. It's high profile and they're definitely going to hear back from Team O. But that ball is being pushed downfield (even if Politico has evil intentions in doing it). That works to our advantage.

The world doesn't end in November 2012; it starts. There's a train wreck coming in December — the Grand Bargain Lame Duck Express.

Let's see if we can't get that stopped. You who care, you're not working alone.


To follow or send links: @Gaius_Publius

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