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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 5/20/10

Campaign 2010: Where to Put Blame

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Meanwhile, the American Left and progressives remained unwilling to make the kind of serious commitment in building media that could have balanced out the growing messaging asymmetry favoring the Right.

The Left's Air America Radio was allowed to collapse while progressives clung to the consolation prize of GE allowing a few liberal-oriented shows on its other cable network, MSNBC (only after GE had failed at all other options, including trying to "out-Fox" Fox).

Some on the Left also reverted to a Nader-like insistence on political purity, pretending that the American people really wanted more radical solutions to the nation's problems, even when polls showed a growing, media-whipped suspicion that Obama was moving too fast and doing too much.

Confronting this combination of factors, Obama often did behave timidly, wasting time and energy seeking some measure of bipartisanship from the Republicans. He also refused to demand any meaningful accountability (or even fact-finding) for the national security crimes of the Bush years, supposedly so the nation could look forward, not backwards.

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While Obama's hopes for gaining GOP bipartisanship proved quixotic, the moves angered progressives who had expected a more dramatic reversal of Bush's policies both foreign and domestic.

Gradually, however, the economy began to turn around and Obama succeeded in enacting a health-care law that promised broader coverage for Americans, albeit the bill took longer than he wanted and passed only after taking a Republican-style approach that would require the uninsured to purchase private health insurance. Still, he received not a single Republican vote for the legislation.

Opinion polls also indicated that the American people were growing impatient with the weak economy and other domestic problems. The Republicans and the Right's media seized on this discontent to repackage themselves as the new agents of change, yet their policies continued to represent the strategies that contributed to this 30-year American decline.

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So, the question for Campaign 2010 becomes: Will the American people buy into the argument that the way to solve the nation's problems is another big dose of anti-government Reaganism, i.e. fewer regulations on corporations and banks, more tax cuts, aggressive military actions abroad, more leeway for states to deny civil rights to minorities, and the scaling-back (or scrapping) of programs like Medicare, Social Security and the new health-care law?

For instance, will the voters of Nevada throw out Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who shepherded through the new health-care law, in favor of Republican Senate candidate Sue Lowden who favors Americans paying for their health care through bartering with doctors by offering things like chickens.

"Let's change the system and talk about what the possibilities are. I'm telling you that this works," Lowden said. "You know, before we all started having health care, in the olden days, our grandparents, they would bring a chicken to the doctor. They would say I'll paint your house."

After 16 months of a Democratic administration battled since its start by a Republican Party and a powerful right-wing media determined to block any reforms and deny any successes the question now before the American voters is whether to reward the GOP with more seats in Congress.

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Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, Secrecy & Privilege: Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq, can be ordered at It's also available at

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