They are so fearful of their Leader co-mingling them with the maligned purists of the "professional left" that most of them won't even reveal their own identities. They are loath to betray their incipient betrayer. They have apparently forgotten that gay rights groups helped Obama "evolve" on marriage equality when they threatened to withhold support and money. Ditto for immigration reform activists, who demonstrated their own discontent with his lackluster support and "made him" order temporary amnesty for Dream Act candidates -- again, by threatening, not cajoling.
Independent Vermont Senator and self-described socialist Bernie Sanders, famous for his marathon anti-plutocracy filibuster and frequent indignant letters to the White House, is apparently the spokesman for the cravenly pragmatic crew of anonymous malcontents. He has urged passionately, and he has urged often that President Obama be held to account, that he should promise to protect the safety net as a condition to his re-election.
But at no time has Sanders gone so far as to suggest that we actually withhold our vote for this Democratic president, and vote Green or Socialist instead. Despite all his populist rhetoric, Sanders is still giving his tacit endorsement for another Obama term.
After running themselves ragged door-belling, phone-banking, contributing their meager dollars, and mindlessly cheerleading the incumbent, the groups will begin to apply their pinky-finger pressure on Nov. 8, two days after Election Day. (They need 48 hours to gather steam for the Big Offensive. They will take two bold baby steps forward on the road to recovery in the wake of their mass exodus from collective sanity during Horserace 2012.)
The AFL-CIO, which showed up at the Democratic National Convention for the purposes of improving their own unfair thuggish image, rather than making demands on their candidates, will also join in the attempt to put the toothpaste back in the tube. One bold agitator even dared give his name ahead of time:
There’s going to be a major effort by lots of groups to make sure the people we vote for don’t sell us down the river,” said Roger Hickey, co-director of the Campaign for America’s Future.
“People, groups, organizations and networks are working very hard to get Obama and the Democrats elected, and yet we are worried that it is possible that we could be betrayed almost immediately,” he said.
Ya think, Roger? Why, it was only yesterday that Obama salivated, for the umpteenth time, over the prospect of ripping open that can of Simpson-Bowles Catfood to shove it down our throats. After thinking he could importune an Iowa newspaper into endorsing him on the basis of an off-the-record interview -- and the paper subsequently calling him out on his ridiculous secrecy -- this is what Obama said:
It will probably be messy. It won’t be pleasant. But I am absolutely confident that we can get what is the equivalent of the grand bargain that essentially I’ve been offering to the Republicans for a very long time, which is $2.50 worth of cuts for every dollar in spending, and work to reduce the costs of our health care programs.
And we can easily meet -- “easily” is the wrong word -- we can credibly meet the target that the Bowles-Simpson Commission established of $4 trillion in deficit reduction, and even more in the out-years, and we can stabilize our deficit-to-GDP ratio in a way that is really going to be a good foundation for long-term growth. Now, once we get that done, that takes a huge piece of business off the table.
Obama is obviously still operating under the debunked notion that austerity helps grow the economy in the middle of an economic recession. If he reads Paul Krugman, it is obviously not sinking in. Then again, Paul Krugman is so focused on how bad a President Romney would be that he is essentially giving the incumbent a free pass. Presumably, he will return to form once the election is over.
And I don't know if Roger and Bernie and the rest of the gang have noticed.... but have you ever picked up on the fact that President Obama always promises to negotiate with the Republicans, yet never expresses the slightest interest in talking to the so-called Progressive Caucus of his own party? These doe-like Congress critters, led by Raul Grijalva of Arizona, have put together a "People's Budget" that puts people back to work, imposes a living wage, slashes the deficit, scraps the cap on Social Security FICA contributions and all kinds of good stuff.
It sounds great, but that's about it. You don't hear Grijalva and the other progressives forming a schism and walking away from the Blue Dog prez, do you? These people are what we can kindly call "useful idiots". They form the pretend-left flank of the spineless Democratic Party, which exists solely to provide a cosmetic balance to the right wing extremism of the Ayn Rand Cult. We feel better listening to them liberally and impotently rant and rave on MSNBC, and then the right-center President and his Senate lackeys swoop in to split the difference and pretend that they tried. They really, really tried. But you know... gridlock and stuff.
So-called pragmatic progressives are fond of maligning their backwoods, mouth-breathing kin for voting against their own interests when they elect Teapublican crazoids. And if the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and still expecting different results, then perhaps immediate self-commitment in a fancy liberal rest home is in order. The differential diagnostic grounds for admission: cognitive dissonance disorder consistent with battered spouse syndrome, complicated by addiction to a designer drug of the Obamopiate class.