A DEMOCRATIC MANIFESTO:
Launching a Democratic Primary Challenge to Barack Obama
Someone has to say it: The Emperor's Clothes are not those of the Democratic Party! Yes, We Can has become Yes, We Caved! The Audacity of Hope has become The Dismay of Despair. For those and similar reasons, this American announces his launching of a Democratic Party primary challenge to incumbent Barack Obama.
Perhaps Barack Obama has indeed tried his best in the Presidency -" but his best is just not good enough for us Democrats, or indeed for the Nation as a whole. After eight years of Bush the Second, including two very costly and unwinnable wars; major financial and economic disasters; the Hurricanes Katrina and Rita debacles; tax breaks for the rich and super-rich while many millions more fall below the poverty line; the sanctioning of torture and endless violations of our civil and constitutional rights; and the further degradation of our natural environment to benefit mega-corporations, in 2008 America clearly said: Enough -"more than enough! It's time to elect a Democratic President and Congress, and start over. How well has that worked for us, over the past two years?
We're still in both of those two costly and unwinnable wars, and whether or not we are even making progress, however that may be defined, is dubious. While it is claimed that we no longer have a combat role in Iraq, we have tens of thousands of troops there. In
Afghanistan, at best we are fighting a holding action, while our supposed-ally Pakistan is secretly helping the opposition. Our Commander-in-Chief procrastinates while breaking his word that he would put an end to these attempts to impose our will on other nations.
The BP oil spill disaster was handled no better than were Katrina and Rita; we were told little of the real truth about how extensive it was, while obvious steps which might well have mitigated its effects were either ignored or taken far too late. On top of all this, Barack Obama had the temerity to try to get oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, and even off the Alaskan Coast, renewed in the literal wake of the BP disaster. It was only the outrage of the nation which caused such plans leading to more disasters to be dropped.
The irony of much of the first two Obama years is that the opposition, from the Tea Party to remaining other Republicans, are smirking at Barack Obama's capitulations to them. No Democrat should ever have been willing to pay the price of another two years (and likely permanency, as a result) of those dastardly Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest of us, in order to get an extension of unemployment compensation; undoubtedly Republicans would have yielded to the need for another year or more of unemployment benefits had Barack Obama stuck to some semblance of Democratic principles. Well, look, to quote one of his favorite expressions, he did not stick to those principles; rather, he caved in.
But, then, it is not just the big issues on which Barack Obama has failed us Democrats. Recalling that old song, Little Things Mean A Lot, we have been deluged with so many little-and-not-so-little cases where Barack Obama and his staff could have made the right decisions, but instead failed to do so. Take communication with the public, for example. Having written letters, sent faxes and now emails, and made phone calls to every White House beginning with Richard Nixon's, I can state unequivocally that this present one has the worst communication record of any I've seen -" and it's not just this President, either. I've sent communications to Vice President Biden, Treasury Secretary Geithner, former Chief Economist Larry Summers, present consumer watchdog Elizabeth Warren, and other top Obama staffers -" and nobody answers, ever. It almost seems a conspiracy.
What is truly telling about all of this non-communication, of which the list above is merely one example, is the clear truth that this President and this White House Staff feel no need to communicate with the public, not even with their former supporters.
"Our minds are made up; don't bother us with the facts" might be their motto. As debacle after debacle occurs, there is little if any change in policy or in direction. To take a recent example, after the Republicans got their way with the extension of all of those Bush tax cuts including the ones helping the rich to own an ever-increasing share of America, their leadership pointedly refuses to endorse the new START Treaty reducing the threat of nuclear arms here and in Russia. That stinging rebuke to Barack Obama is treated as just one more defeat in a White House for which defeats are now a way of life.
So, here is one hat in the ring of the 2012 Democratic Presidential Race , to provide an alternative to four more years of wishy-washy, weak-kneed, spineless governance. As a lifelong Democrat, member of Democratic City Committees in Connecticut, New Hampshire, and now chair of such a local committee in North Georgia, and co-chair with my wife of the 2004 Kerry Presidential Campaign in my Town of Farmington, NH, I've learned the ins-and-outs at the grassroots level of the party. As a college professor and economist, I volunteered for Bill Clinton's economic team in the 1990s and provided some key advice when his predecessor's economists misrepresented the U.S. growth rate. As an early leader in the War Against Poverty, I served on the board of one of the first community action agencies in the nation, and then became executive director of another. As an author of economic analyses, op ed articles, feature stories, and similar items for decades, I've tried to keep our focus on what really matters to America and Americans.
In 1968, working on behalf of the presidential campaign of martyred Senator Robert F. Kennedy, I recall him saying, "One man can make a difference -" and every man should try." If my candidacy helps to make that difference, it will be worthwhile. Albert Einstein was fond of saying that doing the same thing time after time, when it failed to work each time it was tried, is the height of folly -" yet that is what Barack Obama has been doing. My own philosophy is summed up by: Never Give In, Never Give Up. And I won't.