Obama To Progressives: Stop Working to Elect Democrats
While President Obama has yet to tell his progressive grassroots supporters directly, his words and actions make it clear that he wants progressives to stop working to elect Democrats. The problem is that Obama has a strange, overwhelming bipartisanship fetish. Apparently, getting good legislation passed, truly fixing our health care system, and providing Americans with the best possible care at the lowest possible price is all less important than the approval of a handful Republican senators.
Obama has said so himself multiple times: “The president has told visitors that he would rather have 70 votes in the Senate for a bill that gives him 85 percent of what he wants than a 100 percent satisfactory bill that passes 52 to 48.” In other words, Obama is happy to make our health care system 25% worse solely for the approval of Republican Senators Grassley, Hatch, and Snowe.
The progressive grassroots community worked hard over the past four years to give the Democrats their largest majority in the Senate in decades. Once Al Franken is seated, the Democrats will have a filibuster-proof 60 seats. Despite massive wins (and dismal poll numbers for Republicans), Obama is obsessed with watering down important legislation to win a few votes from any Republican senators.
Since Obama values “bipartisanship” more than getting the best possible legislation passed, progressives are hurting their cause by working to elect Democrats. Every Democratic Senator elected makes the Senate Republican Caucus smaller and more conservative. That means legislation needs to be pushed even farther to the right to gain the support from an ever-shrinking pool of GOP Senators.
As long as Obama values the votes of a few Republican senators more highly than fulfilling campaign promises, grassroots activists should be working to elect moderate Republican senators instead. Obama's action makes it clear that the progressives should support Republican Mark Kirk for Senate in Illinois and Republican Mike Castle for Senate in Delaware.
If every bill is only going to be as liberal as the most moderate Republican senator, working to elect Democrats is counterproductive. Obama should be focused on fixing the country, not undermining the Democratic party by forfeiting to a few Republicans the incredible power of shaping legislation just to gain the label “bipartisan”.