Even though I voted for Obama in 2008, I never bought into the belief that he was a progressive Democrat. His record has always been moderate to conservative and as President he has been moderate to conservative just as his record had indicated. Some of my Democratic Party friends have told me that Obama is a progressive, but he hasn’t been able to get anything progressive done because the Republicans keep blocking him. I call bullshit.
Sure, the Republicans have done everything they can to prevent him from passing anything. But did anyone really expect them to do anything less than that? That’s like blaming the opposing sports team for trying to beat you. That’s no excuse. In any competition, we should expect that the opposing side will do whatever they can to win.
This election year Romney has been his own worst enemy and as a result he will probably not just lose the election, but he might just take down a few Republicans in congress with him. Obama might just get control of the House and get a filibuster-proof Senate. What will his excuse be then?
Will he pass real, meaningful health insurance reform? Will he tighten regulations on Wall Street and the banks? Will he stop warrantless wiretapping? Will he close Guantanamo? Will he pull our troops out of war zones? There are dozens of progressive things he could do, but I suspect that he won’t do any of them.
Obama just isn’t a progressive. The Republicans aren’t preventing him from pushing a progressive agenda. Obama could get progressive stuff passed if he wanted to, but the thing most of my Democratic Party friends don’t seem to get is that Obama doesn’t want to get a progressive agenda passed. That won’t change if he wins a second term and it won’t change if he wins and the Democratic Party regains both houses of congress.
Still, we would be better off with Obama and a Democratic Party controlled congress. But that won’t solve the problems we have. We have to solve those problems. We have to push the Democrats to be more progressive because they aren’t going to do it on their own. They can make up whatever excuses they want for why they can’t get stuff done, but the reality is that they don’t want stuff done. We have to force them to get stuff done otherwise they won’t do it.
Obama has evolved on gay marriage, why? Because the gay community has become a large donor base for the Democratic Party and Obama needs their support. He was going to announce his support close to the election (i.e. now) for political reasons, but Biden forced him to do it sooner. But make no mistake that Obama’s “evolution” had absolutely nothing to do with his thoughts or feelings about gay marriage. It had nothing to do with a progressive agenda. It has to do entirely with politics. He simply had no more excuses left and the political benefits became too great. If you want Obama to be progressive, you have to force him to be progressive.