But Obama will not succeed in
fending off the Sarah Palin led Tea Party revolt against this
progressive vision without the decisive emergence of a different kind of
progressive voice into public space, a voice on the spiritual left of
Obama that strengthens his own resolve, shows him how a new spiritual
progressive vision can be both morally compelling and realistic in
Yet this is very complicated, because Obama's programs actually erode the support for progressive politics. Most people think Obama IS the Left, the progressives, liberals, even "the far left." So when they hear about his or Congressional Democrats' policies, or get their lives touched by their fallout, (e.g. his and their support for trillions of dollars to the banks and large corporations but only symbolic acts to stop the millions of home foreclosures and to create jobs; his war in Afghanistan; his allowing the oil and gas conglomerates to ruin the environment through drilling on the coasts of many American states; his abandonment of his promises to end the human rights abuses of the Bush Administration; and the list goes on), many people become disillusioned, and blame the whole mess created by global capitalism on "big government," thus giving an amazing opening both to the Tea Party movement and to the large business and financial interests.
From the standpoint of the large
corporate interests, nothing could be better than to de-fund government
or dramatically downsize it, because then it can't constrain their
economic power. But if the Democrats aren't constraining that power
anyway, and people think of them as championing big government that
seems in bed with those corporate powers, they find the anti-government
sentiments of Tea Party people to be appealing, and are even willing to
turn their heads away and not pay attention when some of those Tea
Partyers reveal an extreme racism or even a quasi-fascist attraction to
militarism and denial of human rights.
So here is the problem: we have to both protect the liberals from the anger their policies have generated, because we don't want the quasi-fascists to take their place, and yet the only way we can effectively protect the liberals is to openly criticize what is misguided in their policies, and to put forward an alternative that really embodies the best in liberal and progressive thought.