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Be Progressive

Obama the non-progressive
By PORTLAND PHOENIX LETTERS  |  December 23, 2008

What Jeff Inglis and Deirdre Fulton fail to address in their coverage of uneasiness on the left over Obama's transition (see "Take Back Barack," December 19, 2008) is that there never was any reasonable basis for thinking that Barack Obama was a progressive. Just as the John Kerry who ran for president in 2004 was not the John Kerry who had just returned from Vietnam, the Barack Obama who was just elected president was not the same person who had organized on the streets.

His US Senate voting record and his clichû-filled rhetoric painted him as perhaps on the left-ern wing of the Democratic Party, but that is still straddling what used to be the center line of American politics. In November we who feared four more years of far-right rule had no choice but to vote for Obama, and he may yet prove a fine leader, but no one who likes to think of him/herself as a progressive had any business embracing the man.

What is particularly distressing about the current state of affairs is that though Democrats had some good choices available to them while the party nomination was still up for grabs too few endorsed Dennis Kucinich or Mike Gravel because they were too busy deluding themselves that Obama was something more or other than what he is. As to what people will do if Obama does exactly what we have every reason to expect him to do? Many, too many, will petulantly feel betrayed and go back into their closet of apathy until the next bandwagon catches their uncritical attention; and true progressives will continue to work for causes that are lost not because they don't have merit but because not enough people who want credit for being progressive actually support anything that is.

Seth Berner

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  Topics: Letters , Barack Obama, Politics, take back barack,  More more >
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