By DAVE LINDORFF
Last fall, I and many progressives urged voters to elect Obama, not because we thought he was a progressive, but because we hoped that his background—community organizer, raised by a single mother, experience living in a third world country (Indonesia), multi-racial—would lead him to make at least some right decisions. We, or certainly I, hoped too that the energized young and working class electorate that came out for him in the fall would continue to press him aggressively to do the right thing on war, environment, civil liberties and the economy.
I was wrong on the first count: Obama has been a corporatist through and through on all the major issues that matter. And I was wrong on the second. Most of the left in the US, from the labor movement to the environmentalist movement to the anti-war movement, has to date remained glumly quiescent as Obama has sold them out on each of their key issues.
But here is the silver lining: The sell-out this time is so much more blatant, and so much more serious, than it was with Clinton, and for all the talk about Obama’s ability to string words together, he is so much less of a charismatic figure than the gregarious Bill Clinton, that he is unlikely to hang on to the ardent support that propelled him to his victory last November. The disappointment and sense of betrayal among progressives this time is palpable, especially because, while Clinton, by 1994, had the excuse that he was working with a Republican, or partially Republican Congress, Obama has solid control of both houses, but refuses to use it. If, as I expect, the recession continues to deepen, with more and more people losing jobs and homes, if, as I predict, health care continues to be unaffordable and inaccessible, and if, as I am equally certain, Iraq explodes and the war in Afghanistan continue to worsen, the left is going to see Obama and the Democrats in Congress as the failures and corrupt frauds they are, and will abandon them.
That's the problem with projecting your expectations unto others, when you know virtually nothing about their character or their true beliefs. The pitfalls of mass "democracy."