Progressives criticize White House, Democrats
WASHINGTON – Progressive activists who helped elect Barack Obama president complained on Monday that the administration and congressional Democrats have been too timid and too willing to compromise.
Even though Obama's major first-term achievement — an overhaul of the nation's health care system — passed without a single Republican vote, progressive leaders who gathered in Washington criticized the president for failing to create a government-run insurance option to compete with private industry.
They faulted Obama for the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the slow pace in repealing the ban on gays serving in the military and last year's economic stimulus package, which they described as inadequate at $787 billion. They also criticized his handling of the Gulf oil spill.
"The White House has been an uncertain trumpet," said Robert Borosage, a co-director of the Campaign for America's Future, a progressive organization. "The administration's reforms were too often too timid from the start and too readily compromised along the way."
Although leaders still spoke with admiration for Obama, it was clear he's not as popular with unions, bloggers and other progressives.
Democrats already face an angry electorate this November. The frustration among the party's liberal base could make the midterm elections even more difficult for Democrats and Obama's own re-election bid.
Although no one seriously suggested a primary challenge to Obama, activists said they would take on congressional incumbents and they cited Arkansas, where the Progressive Congressional Campaign Committee has sent $250,000 to Lt. Gov. Bill Halter's bid against Sen. Blanche Lincoln, which will be decided in a runoff Tuesday.
Activists say they would rather have "good Democrats" — in the words of DailyKos founder Markos Moulitsas — than moderates who don't advance a progressive agenda.
There is an Campaign for America's Future conference taking place in Washington, DC right now (June 7-9, 2010). Here's a glimpse into what's going on:
(Above video) On the first day of the America's Future Now! conference in Washington, activists wrestled with how to respond to the Obama administration's first 17 months, and came to a consensus that rather than depending on President Obama's leadership to move progressive change, it is up to progressive activists to prod and set the stage for progressive action by elected leaders. Here are excerpts of some of the plenary session speeches at the conference and interviews with some of the participants.
But all is not sunshine and roses:
At the America's Future Now convention, Code Pink heckles Nancy Pelosi.
Glenn Beck pointed out the exchange below on his radio show today. Notice how the Code Pink heckler berates Nancy Pelosi for not coming through with the MONEY after they supported Obama and his administration.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is heckled by Code Pink at an event in Washington, D.C. "We supported Obama, we supported you, now 21 states are begging for money to help us save the community," a woman screamed at Pelosi. "You have made your point," Pelosi said in an attempt to quiet the protesters. An aide informed her that they are "throwing stuff.". Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.
Glenn Beck has a prediction that, frankly, is playing out in Europe right now. If the uber-Left (anarchists) don't get what was promised them by the Obama Administration, there will be (my words) "violent hell" to pay. We've already had a taste of it in Pittsburgh. Greece is a stark reality check as to what can happen when people don't get their way.
Let's sit back and watch the Democrat Party totally destroy itself. But don't get too cozy, because when we take back the Congress and the White House, we better have a good plan to get this country turned around. People are fickle and we will not be able to withstand a repeat of November 2008.
And for you anarchists out there who want to show Obama who is boss, here's a sight I found where you can sign up for the Anarchist Summer Camp taking place in Virginia this August.