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New Progressive Era -- or Dead Cat Bounce?

By       Message Robert S. Becker       (Page 1 of 3 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   42 comments

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Captive by the relentless train wreck called establishment politics, let us pause and consider potential breakthroughs. Scoff at my optimism, even fantasies, but doesn't every epic calamity beget a perk or two, eventually? I trust the "gift in the wound" as learned from poet Robert Bly. And my father's best lesson, "If you don't learn from failure, you suffer a double loss." 

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Just for balance, after all, isn't it high time someone took on the gloom and doomsters? Okay, compare the odds over the next 100-500 years, of a new progressive era breaking out vs. the likelihood the world explodes, or implodes, no matter whether a bang or whimper. Medium odds wipe out the long, long shot of apocalypse. Doesn't history celebrate  those dreadful bottoms on which reform springboards? 

So, can we rise above our morbid fascination with the wreckage to imagine whether today's misery of failures could ignite a leftwing surge? Not much else has, and I tire of hearing our current life and times are locked in a death spiral. Instead, attend to Somerset Maugham, "The pendulum swings backwards and forwards. The circle is ever travelled anew."

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No doubt, a new progressive movement must feast on the nexus of failed, faux Obama liberalism bloodied by failed, faux Tea Party conservatism. On point, both face paradigm-shifting blowback: Obamacare could doom Democratic Senate control while unstinting Tea Party idiocy jeopardizes House control. When else did minority extremists cost a national party six Senate seats (and control), ripping defeat from the jaws of victory? A less bizarre GOP primary would have widened Romney's PR choices, rather than sinking him with staggeringly absurd talking points.

Lame Nominee vs. Lame Duck

Doesn't leverage on the left increase as this president crash-lands, marked as our earliest lame duck. Betrayal is coming home to roost. Remember, Occupy anger didn't menace the horrid Bush years but only after Obama's neo-liberal betrayal droned on and on. The most vigorous '60's anti-war protests exploded after LBJ's nightmare, "liberal" Vietnam "adventure" crashed and burned on the rocks of the "domino theory." Civil rights agitation didn't surge because '50's racists started new abuses but from profound disgust with centrist-liberal foot-dragging. Segregationists never hid their racism, whereas JFK type-hypocrites talked equality but delayed intervention. Ever the politician, JFK waited and waited, knowing he'd offend key southern racists when protecting our citizens from murder. Movements often break out not during noxious enemy misbehavior but after perceived betrayals by false friends.

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Perhaps Obama's ultimate audacity of hope wasn't simply dashed but passed on to those with more courage. Consider the chronic negligence committed by this White House: not only with the ACA, but dumb denials of secret spying, wimpy economic stimuli, enslavement to big business, vision-less foreign affairs lurching from crisis to crisis, all topped by persistent scandals, billions wasted on "anti-terrorism" and abuse of dissenting whistleblowers. My only surprise is how long it took Obama's approval numbers to skitter.

Is there to be no payoff from the literal dis-illusion-ment by millions of ex-Obama fans, aware now their hero is a garden-variety, feel-good politician. For the badly betrayed, we've skipped past "Obama fatigue" to "Obama exhaustion." Further, does not a collapsed Obama administration undermine establishment stand-ins, like Queen Hillary, or party Senate dominance after '14? Discredited "pragmatism" that serves paralysis, or worse, opens a wedge for unifying disconsolate liberals with disgruntled centrists. 

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For a decade, Robert S. Becker's rebel-rousing essays on politics and culture analyze overall trends, messaging and frameworks, now featured author at OpEdNews, Nation of Change and RSN. He appears regularly at Dissident Voice, with credits (more...)

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