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Archive for "Jun 24 2011"

Panic in Progressive Park

Well, considering their previous attempts (The Coffee Party; the Brownbaggers (who I never even heard of until today)), and similar attempts that crashed and burned on the launch pad, my answer would be, “Not likely” (h/t: Insty)….

Can liberals start their own tea party?
“We think we can do what the tea party did,” [Van] Jones said in an interview with The Fix. “They stepped forward under a common banner, and everybody took them seriously. Polls suggest there are more people out there who have a different view of the economy, but who have not stepped forward yet under a common banner.”

Jones is a former Obama environmental adviser who resigned from the White House in 2009 amid controversy over his past activism. But he’s lauded in liberal circles for his charisma and organizing abilities.

“There’s a lot of organizational muscle behind the initiative, and Van is one of the most inspiring [“we call d bro a SEXY”] figures in the progressive movement, so I’m looking forward to these efforts, and they certainly come at a time when Republican overreach has primed progressives to take action” said Markos Moulitas, founder of the liberal blog network Daily Kos.

The Tea Party movement was an organic, grass-roots explosion of disparate citizens united in the belief that the Federal government was running amok. There is no central organization coordinating the numerous Tea Party groups across the country (despite what outfits like FreedomWorks think).

That Jones, Markos and MoveOn.org believe they can top-down construct a similar movement smacks of desperation. Hell, Markos’s Kos Kids and their fellow lefties are in something of a funk right now, according to reports following this year’s Nutroots Nation confab:

President Obama has to do more than just keep up with the Republicans to secure his reelection in 2012. He’s got to work his base.

But that could be a problem if the sentiment at this weekend’s Netroots Nation in Minneapolis is at all widespread. The conference, an annual gathering of progressive bloggers and online citizens, was packed with activists who are disappointed, disenchanted and disillusioned with the Obama administration.

The truth is the coalition that put Obama in the White House is falling apart. The 2010 mid-terms saw independent voters abandon the Democrat party, leading to a nation-wide Republican stampede on both the Federal and state levels. The unions are starting to think that their full-throated (and funded) support for Teh One hasn’t paid off as they expected:

“He’s basically trying to be everything to everybody,” said Rose Ann DeMoro, executive director of National Nurses United, a nursing union that claims 160,000 members and is an affiliate of the AFL-CIO. “Until you look at the policies, and then it’s clear he’s there for the corporate sector.”

The union arranged a protest this month when Obama addressed the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, accusing him of cozying up to big businesses.

Officials from another AFL-CIO affiliate, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, said that tens of thousands of its members have been laid off and that they don’t see the White House advocating for them.

“They may be lost to the Democratic cause,” said Rick Sloan, a spokesman for the union.

John Gage, president of the American Federation of Government Employees, said he “resented” the president’s recent calls to reorganize the government and freeze salaries because they seemed to feed into a growing criticism of workers. Pointing to Obama’s defense this week of Wisconsin public workers, Gage said, “It’s about time.”

The tensions underscore a careful political balance faced by Obama, who has frustrated many unions leaders and activists after courting their support in his 2008 campaign.

Add the LGBT community to the list of Obama-backers who are starting to realize they were sold a bill of goods and, well, you see the problem the Professional Left™ faces going into the 2012 general election facing a swelling number of people who would vote for a bag of hammers in order to get Barry out of the Oval Office.

So this scheme seems to be more about trying to keep the base together than anything else.

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