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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 7/15/10

Working Together to Address the Failings of the Obama Administration

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Message Laura Bonham
I write in response to Kevin Gosztola, the author of "[When Will We Take Responsibility for the Obama Presidency's Failings?," who raises some excellent and provocative questions. As the deputy director, communications coordinator and one of the founding members of Progressive Democrats of America, I can safely say we agree with many of Gosztola's assertions. The Democratic Party should not be viewed as the only alternative to the GOP, but it is (thanks in large part to a shameless mainstream media that long ago abandoned their Constitutional obligations). Only Democrats or Republicans win federal elections, so PDA only endorses "progressive" Democrats for federal office. (We've got to start bending the arc of power in our direction!) PDA chapters are free to choose to endorse progressive candidates of any party for state or local office.

That's why PDA works an inside/outside strategy. Activating progressives within the Democratic Party will force it to the left--a long and hateful slog indeed. We also work outside the Party on myriad progressive issues across. Whenever and wherever we can, we try to build alliances and coalitions.

This is the niche we chose. We are a non-violent bunch and would prefer to see the progressive revolution be a political win rather than a violent revolt. The inside game is one of persistence and resistance, and because we are a growing block, we have certainly gained the attention of the Party. We are working towards the day when progressives are the majority and the Democratic Party will stand for working and poor families.

Is it possible? Yes. Will it happen? We don't know. Is it worth trying to wrench the levers of power from the corporate Democrats in favor of a more democratic Democratic Party? We think so, if the effort also includes progressive movement building with other like-minded people and organizations. Do we want a vibrant multi-party system? You bet we do, but we're a long, long way from those kinds of reforms. PDA believes we need to make the Democratic Party into a force for good government in order to achieve that goal.

The quote by Spidel, who left PDA in 2006, does not accurately reflect PDA as an organization today. We have a long history of always putting policy before Party. We are progressives first and Democrats second. We are also keenly aware that we cannot be all things to all people, nor do we profess to be. It is going to take all of us stepping up and working on the issues that we care about, in the venue we choose, whether it is in an issue or the political arena.

There are very powerful forces to at work to undermine the progressive agenda. We must come together; each doing what we believe is right, and wrest control from those who choose to dominate us. PDA is just one small cog in that wheel. We welcome all to work with us inside the Party or outside on issues of peace and justice. Most importantly, we hope people will rise up--if not with us then with someone else.

And in the give-us-a-break category, PDA came into existence in late July 2004, 3.5 years into the Bush Administration. This was about the same time that the Nader/Camejo issue revealed its ugly head. Unfortunately, we were a bit preoccupied with the war and getting a national grassroots organization started; there was no conscious decision to avoid the Nader/Camejo injustice. We did join forces with David Cobb, the Green Party candidate for President, in challenging the Ohio election results.

Laura Bonham
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Website Content Manager, Progressive Democrats of America Co-Chair, Utah Democratic Progressive Caucus

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Working Together to Address the Failings of the Obama Administration

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