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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 5/17/10

To Anti-Obamite Lefties: It Doesn't Matter If You're Right

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This piece is addressed to those --like many here on the opednews website-- who have used my pieces on President Obama as an occasion to attack him for being so much less progressive, so much less morally upright and bold, than they would want their president to be.


It's my belief that Obama, if he could just snap his fingers and move America forward in very progressive ways, would do so, but that he holds back on many of them out of his calculations (correct or otherwise) of political necessity and of overall political strategy. By contrast, a number of lefties here on opednews see him as just plain morally corrupt, not deeply committed to their values.

It has not proved very fruitful to debate these two different perceptions, but we don't have to. Either way, for us in America today who care about advancing progressive values, the basic nature of the action we are called upon to take is basically there same: either way, our best hope of advancing our values is to help Obama to prevail over his right-wing foes.

Whether we like it or not, there's no escaping one basic strategic fact: if the forces we care about are to advance, there's no other strategy than by using Obama to lead the charge, which means supporting him so he can triumph over his enemies.

However true it may be that the positions Obama has staked out fall short --or even far short-- of what one or another of us to the left of center would like, the fact remains that there are clear differences on all the issues we care about between Obama and the movement for which the likes of Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh and Mitch McConnell are spokespeople.

Those who don't believe there are big differences should ask the people in the trenches: are things any better for your side under Obama than they were when Bush II was president? The answer across the board is yes. Even in those issue areas where progressives have experienced big disappointments as with the constitutional issues raised by the way the Bushites set up their "war on terror"-- the people will tell you that there have been beneficial changes. So also in all those areas like the environment, and health care, and regulating the bank industry, in which Obama is demonstrably closer to us than are the forces with which he has to contend.

Even if Obama declines to lead in a bolder and more assertive way to advance progressive values, on all fronts the picture is undoubtedly better than it was under Bush.

You may say, "That's not saying much." But however much or little it is saying, the reality remains that in this America --with this dark right-wing force still working to drag America down into its toxic pit-- the crucial point at which the battle against the darkness is being fought is where Obama is embattled against the right, on one issue after another. That's just the reality of the political struggle.

In this world, we do not always get to choose those on whom we must rely to deliver us from evil.

If you were a Jewish survivor in a concentration camp in Poland, you had to root for the forces of the Soviet Army to advance quickly enough to reach you in time. They were the actors "on your side," even though this Red Army was also the instruments of the brutal dictator who'd killed millions of his countrymen and had just set his country through a period of terror and mock-trial purges, the man who'd made a nefarious deal with Hitler to carve up Poland. Nonetheless the captives in the concentration camps in Poland perceived the Soviet troops, correctly, as liberators.

One has to know where one's real concern is, who is the central enemy.

With us, the vital concern is beating back that dark spirit that expressed itself in the form of the criminal enterprise which was the Bushite Presidency, and is now expressing itself as the party of fear-and-hating mongering lies and refusal to work together to solve the problems of our country.

On every political battle now being fought in Washington, the administration is closer to the progressive position than are its opponents.

Anyone who cannot see the difference is blind.

Anyone who CAN see it is driven to this inescapable conclusion: In the current political arena, with no other comparable force available to us, it is Obama's victories that will move the ball in the RIGHT direction and it is his defeats that will advance the dark right-wing agenda.

THAT makes him our champion by definition, and by default: while he's president, we will get no substantial progress except through him and his party!

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Andy Schmookler, an award-winning author, political commentator, radio talk-show host, and teacher, was the Democratic nominee for Congress from Virginia's 6th District. His new book -- written to have an impact on the central political battle of our time -- is (more...)
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