* In war, it is immoral for a winning army to continue killing once it has won.
* In politics, it is immoral for a politician to spend more time pandering to those who opposed him then to those who voted for him.
Through my lifetime, the Democratic party has consistently spent more time compromising, working with, and pandering to Republicans then to Democrats.
This has led to the Republican party becoming more right-wing, the Democratic party becoming more right-wing, massive growth in inequity in the US, financial collapse, vast harm to the US public school system, decreased access to health care, increased homelessness, increased militarism, the growth of the prison industry and the percentage of Americans in prison, and a host of other horrible ills.
I wouldn't say it has gone well.
Since Obama has taken office, he has continued the Democratic party's strategy of reaching out to Republicans, while ignoring the concerns of those who voted for him.
1. On torture, wiretapping, and government secrecy: Obama has reached out to a number of pro-torture advocates, appointing them to important policy and advisory positions. Since then, he has made pretty speeches about how the US does not torture. He has also moved to create a system of "indefinite detention", where terrorism suspect can be held indefinitely without a trial, on the grounds that they are a threat to the US if released. More recently, he has also pressured Congress to create legislation allowing the President to prevent the release of photographs of tortured detainees, even if FOIA has declared that they must be released, if the President says that they are a threat to American security.
Links are to Glenn Greenwald's blog
, which is an excellent resource on civil liberties.
2. On the economy, Obama has violated his own ethics guidelines, seeking common ground with economists who are entrenched in the banking industry and appointing them to policy and advisory positions.
This has led to bailouts that provide a massive wealth transfer to the richest people in the country, and warnings from all kinds of folks-- including IMF officials-- that the US has fallen into the trap of oligarchy which regularly destroys the economies of developing world companies.
3. On health care, Obama has reached out to the health insurance industry, seeking common ground. He has also reversed his earlier position that single-payer health care is the best way to attain universal coverage, and removed single-payer as an option under consideration.
4. On reproductive rights, Obama has reached out to anti-choicers, seeking common ground with them. Most recently, an anti-choice religious leader has been appointed to a senior position at the HHS,
I have not yet heard of Obama making a statement that the domestic terrorism of Christian pro-life activists against doctors is unacceptable, or any statement of how he plans to protect health care workers from terrorists. If he has made such a statement, or done anything to protect health care workers, please do let me know.
Like most folks I know, I've been eager to extend Obama the benefit of the doubt. And the man does make a pretty speech. For someone who hasn't been in an office a year yet, though, I'm seeing a disturbing trend in what happens when he reaches out to find common ground with right-wingers and Republicans.
I think it's absolutely crucial to put Obama and other Democrats under tremendous pressure from the left. I want to be part of that.
What do I want?
1. Kill off the Republican party. Stop pretending that they're reasonable people, stop talking about finding common ground with them. Emphasize the connections between right-wingers and murderers, terrorists, hate-mongers, and liars. Don't let right-wingers to continue to pretend that they're not connected to the fringe of domestic terrorists-- they are. At best they incite them with hate speech. At worst they are them.
2. Pressure the Democratic party from the left. As right-wingers like Arlen Specter join the Democratic party, there's a real risk of it moving even farther to the right. We already know the right-wingers are shrieking-- wehave to shriek at least as loud as they do to keep that from happening. We need to use the full weight of our moral authority-- we do not support terrorists, and we do not lie-- and the full weight of our political victories-- Obama won with more of a majority then Reagan, who ushered in thirty years of Republican rule. (Note Reagan didn't do much compromising with lefties.) We also have to mount primary challenges to Blue Dog Democrats,
kick them out of Congress and replace them with lefties, while also working to enact meaningful legislation that reduces the current bribery of our politicians by corporations.
3. Start an actual left-wing party that advocates for folks run by and for folks who aren't millionaires. I don't know how you go about killing a party and starting a new one in the US, though I know it's happened before. Any historians on my flist wanna help me out here?