STEVEN JONAS, MD, MPH FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Political commentators ranging from those of the Propaganda Channel (otherwise known as the Fox"News"Channel) to Chris Matthews are enamored of referring to the "Far Left" of the Democratic Party. It is also known among that ilk as the "Pelosi Wing" of the Party (although one wonders what the wealthy lady from San Francisco ever actually did other than shepherd the Health Insurance Industry Subsidy Act of 2010 through the House of Representatives, strongly support repeal of DADT, and bring to the floor much mainstream Democratic legislation that was never even taken up by the GOP-controlled Senate, none of which is regarded by left-wingers as "Far Left").
It is common, even among his critics other than the Tea Party folk (which now includes most so-called "main-stream" GOPers whether they actually want to wear the label or not) to separate President Obama from that "Far Left." Indeed the President has been receiving much applause over the last six weeks from the self-styled Republican morning TV talk show host Joe Scarborough for his "move to the Center" since the election. I guess that Joe didn't notice that for the most part, rhetoric to the contrary notwithstanding, Obama has pretty much been there since his election (http://blog.buzzflash.com/jonas/199 ).
As if to emphasize where Obama surely is now, whether he was there then or not, Charles Krauthammer, a hard rightist if there ever was one, characterized Obama's Tucson speech as a really good one. (I was out of the country when it was delivered. But I quickly came to the conclusion that if Krauthammer had that to say of it, it must have been pretty bad.) Then on Jan. 26, 2011, on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," Pat Buchanan, who used to be a Right-wing Republican before his party left him in its march to the drummers of the Right-Wing Imperative ( http://blog.buzzflash.com/jonas/200 ), in commenting on Obama's "State of the Union Message" (which was nothing of the sort but rather his "what I'm going to campaign on for 2012" message) characterized Obama as a "moderate Republican." That of course actually is equivalent to a classic DLC-er which Obama has been all along ( http://blog.buzzflash.com/node/12012 ). And Pat ought to know.
So anyway, there's Obama, a "moderate Republican" (but to the right of Dwight D. Eisenhower, who was a big public works guy, and of even the domestic-policy Dick Nixon, who was big on environmental regulation and would have pushed through a real national health insurance program had it not been for Watergate). In that context, just what is the Democratic "Far Left?" Well let's start off by looking at what the one-term Rep. (he has that, and more, in common with Abraham Lincoln) Alan Grayson had to say about what he thought should be in Obama's State of the Union Message (from his email alert dated January 24, 2011 from www.graysonforcongress.com ).
Grayson would have begun with a quick characterization of what the GOP is really all about: "The Republican House Leadership demonstrated last week that its highest legislative priority is to prevent 30 million Americans from seeing a doctor when they are sick. We can let Republican control of the House of Representatives doom us to no progress, no change, for the next two years." He would have been kind enough not to mention Mitch McConnell's frequently stated number one priority for the current Congress: Insure Obama's defeat in 2012. Of course, Obama would have had none of that. Grayson then went on to list a series of steps that Obama could take using the Executive Authority and would have included in his address:
1. Accelerate the obligation of federal contracts and grants.
2. Declare China a 'currency manipulator,' and end the forced currency union with China (that we never asked for and we don't want, which has cost us 5 million manufacturing jobs in the last decade) and institute 'anti-dumping' actions to protect American jobs.
3. Direct Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the FHA and the VA to include in every home loan, that they issue or finance, a provision that requires mandatory mediation, at the bank's expense, before foreclosure.
4. Direct both the Financial Stability Oversight Council and the Antitrust Division of the Justice Department to break up any financial institution that is considered 'too big to fail.' Too big to fail should mean too big to exist (in other words institute the "Volcker Rule," named after the recently discharged former right-wing economic policy-maker). No more bailouts, no more Wall Street welfare.
5. Ask the FBI to investigate and the DOJ to prosecute anyone who committed criminal misconduct in connection with the collapse of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, AIG, Bear Stearns, Countrywide, Merrill Lynch, and all the rest. In the 18 months before the President took office, twenty percent of U.S. national wealth was wiped out, and no one has been punished for that.
6. Because corporate income tax revenues have dropped by half in the past decade, while Big Business is enjoying record profits, I will ask the IRS to audit every one of the Fortune 500. This will ensure that they are paying the taxes that are due, rather than evading taxes through transfer pricing and offshore tax havens.
7. Direct the EPA to exercise its authority to treat carbon dioxide as a pollutant.
8. Ask [tell] the SEC to direct that shareholders in public companies must authorize all campaign expenditures in advance, and that public companies disclose all such expenditures within 48 hours. We cannot allow trillion-dollar multinational companies to dictate the outcome of our elections secretly.
9. Ask [tell] the NLRB to take all available steps to ensure that the right of employees to organize, which is rooted in the Constitution's 'freedom of association,' be defended - including the promulgation of 'card check' by regulation under the National Labor Relations Act.
10. As Commander-in-Chief, I will bring all of our troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan by the end of this year, if not sooner.