As a complicated relocation has condemned me to living in a hotel for a month, my posts will be short and sweet. Well, depending on my mood, perhaps not so sweet.
When Ted Kennedy challenged sitting President Jimmy Carter for the 1980 Democratic nomination it put the final nail in Carter’s political coffin. The legacy this left us is the common belief that intra-party conflict against a sitting President dooms that President to one term. So why you might ask would I even entertain the idea of someone challenging Barack Obama.
It’s not that I’ve given up on Obama but I cannot give him a glowing review. The rose-colored glasses were smashed within about a year of his taking the steering wheel. People hate to hear about what he inherited from his predecessors (yes … predecessors … some of our problems date back to Clinton) but there is no doubt the man volunteered for the crappiest job in the country and he has done a decent job of keeping things afloat. That he did not turn out to be Superman is less his fault than our cult-of-personality expectations.
The fact remains that this Marxist, Socialist, Communist (pick your latest hyperbolic label) is anything but. Compared to the true “liberal progressive agenda”, Obama is the very definition of a moderate. He is the compromiser-in-Chief much to the chagrin of the militants who voted for him in 2008. While I don’t necessarily want Bernie Sanders for President, one has to wonder is Obama really the most dynamic, explosive turn-this-country-around choice we’ve got?
In short, there seems something undemocratic in anointing Obama the nominee without challenge, without debate, without discussion of alternatives. Shouldn’t we liberals at least get to see a couple of folks debate how best to achieve liberal goals? Is Obama’s way the only way? And what is Obama’s way exactly? Never in recent history have we had a President so difficult to pin down ideologically. I have found him to vacillate between thoughtful deliberation and downright political opportunism. The most recent example of the latter was Obama hinting to a group of LGBT supporters that he might just support gay marriage if he got a shot at a second term.
And with your help, if you keep up the fight, and if you will devote your time and your energies to this campaign one more time, I promise you we will write another chapter in that story.
I personally find that sort of hope-and-change extortion pretty reprehensible. But I digress. Why are we not eager to hear multiple voices before we go to the polls in November of 2012?
I suppose the risk of making no further progress with a Republican President makes challenging Obama’s Dem nomination a fool’s game. Sometimes true democracy can backfire in your face.