Primary Obama: Jim Webb? Naahhh

Looking from the left among the electable politicians -- i.e., those with appeal to classes and voters divorced from the typical liberal wonkfest -- who have actual Congressional voting records, it's tough getting hopeful and enthusiastic about any potential populist/leftist Obama challenger.

Consider Jim Webb, for example. He's a guy who has said some great words about economic inequality and military quagmires, and yet in four years as a Senator his actions have largely betrayed his words. Does that description also roughly summarize Obama? Yeah, and that's the problem: gotta say NO to enthusiasm based on bright and shining words that don't come with a track record. Not necessarily a track record of accomplishment, but at least a record of a passionate and smart fight against the corporate/financial DC PTB.

Back to Webb, who said this about class after his election in 2006:

The most important-and unfortunately the least debated-issue in politics today is our society's steady drift toward a class-based system, the likes of which we have not seen since the 19th century. America's top tier has grown infinitely richer and more removed over the past 25 years. ... The top 1% now takes in an astounding 16% of national income, up from 8% in 1980. The tax codes protect them, just as they protect corporate America, through a vast system of loopholes.

... the true challenge is for everyone to understand that the current economic divisions in society are harmful to our future. It should be the first order of business for the new Congress to begin addressing these divisions, and to work to bring true fairness back to economic life. Workers already understand this, as they see stagnant wages and disappearing jobs.

But where was/is Webb on three critical 'class votes' of recent years: he voted for the bankers bailout, as best I can tell helped block card check unionization, and he now lobbies to keep the Bush tax breaks for some or all of the rich. And then there's the Obama deficit commission chairmen's recommendation to cut Social Security, which Webb 'needs more time to review'.

 

As for Iraq and Afghanistan, well, he keeps saying he's uncomfortable and has deep misgivings and all that (blather), but keeps voting for the military funding and every other bill that keeps the money flowing. Honestly, though, from an electable Democrat like Webb I might accept the usual hypocrisy on our imperialism, in part because I believe economic decline will force that imperialism/militarism to diminish over the next decade no matter what the U.S. military-industrial complex wants.

But not on the class war. Webb's actions show he's on the wrong side, so screw him. 

 

Tags: Senator Jim Webb, President Obama, a primary challenge to Obama in 2012 (all tags)

Comments

12 Comments

We might be better off starting small

It will be an interesting discussion, whether to support a little-known candidate who expresses our values, or a big name liberal who will exert more mainstream pressure.

My bottom line, at this point, is that progressives should try to avoid being left in a passive position of waiting for someone to come along.  We can start making moves immediately.

I’ve been calling secretaries of state offices to get ballot access info. Of 20 reached (so far), 5 have caucuses. Of the remainder, filing fees are nominal, if any, and signature requirements range from 500 to 10,000, with most on the low to middle range.

Extrapolating from this, it would appear that a few states may be extremely difficult, but getting on the Dem primary ballots in the majority would be no big deal, assuming we had a solid legal team to take care of the technical details.

Ballot access provides a media entree, even for a complete unknown, and if the media were to shut us out, then that in itself provides an entree, as the blogosphere can raise a howl.

Working towards getting anyone on the primary ballot -- or even declaring so -- legitimizes the notion, and applies pressure for others to get in the race.

In other words, we’re in the game.

by jeffroby 2010-11-12 07:16PM | 0 recs
RE: We might be better off starting small

I agree with and support the direction you're taking.

BTW, to find a candidate who combines major name recognition with anti-corporate, definitely populist credentials, progressives might have to look in unconventional places. Compared to the Republicans progressives have never been big on searching for candidates among TV, movie or rock stars, but we'd be smart to start thinking in those sorts of unconventional directions.

by fairleft 2010-11-12 07:24PM | 0 recs
RE: We might be better off starting small

Thank you!  Check  out the list of 122 “nominees” malcontent has amassed on FDL.  Others are thinking along similar lines.

by jeffroby 2010-11-12 08:01PM | 0 recs
RE: We might be better off starting small

Yeah.  Read that list.  Madonna/Clooney 2012?  Is that supposed to convince me you are putting forth a serious alternative?

by Strummerson 2010-11-14 04:52PM | 0 recs
I gather you don't like the idea of primarying Obama

There are 122 nominees on the list, the result of an open process.  2 down, 120 to go.

Many of the names are quite serious, and your snark is neither helpful nor, frankly, serious.

by jeffroby 2010-11-14 09:13PM | 0 recs
RE: I gather you don't like the idea of primarying Obama

When you put forward a serious proposal, I'll treat it with seriousness.  Do we really need to go through that list one by one?  Cut to the chase.  Who there is viable, willing, preferable, and capable of taking down Obama without tipping the WH to the GOP.  I understand the preferable issue will be a sticking point, as I don't think that Obama is the worst conceivable President and you may.  But as long as I find him wanting, it makes sense to consider reasonable options.  Put forward a serious argument and 'll ask serious questions, then either oppose it seriously or hop aboard.  In the mean time, I don't feel obligated to change approach or tone.

by Strummerson 2010-11-14 10:25PM | 0 recs
RE: I gather you don't like the idea of primarying Obama

I have 5 entire posts, all beginning "Dump Obama."  If they haven't convinced you, ce'est la vie.  I'm hardly going to try to sum them up in a single comment.

Dump Obama: feeding frenzy beginsLive 1 11/12/2010 at 03:29PM EST Dump Obama: continued 5Live 32 11/09/2010 at 12:16PM EST Dump Obama: continued (pts 3-4)Live 0 11/06/2010 at 01:14PM EDT Dump Obama: part 2 of the seriesLive 7 11/05/2010 at 02:50PM EDT Dump Obama: a process of developmentLive 10 11/05/2010 at 01:29PM EDT

 

by jeffroby 2010-11-17 12:08AM | 0 recs
RE: I gather you don't like the idea of primarying Obama

I won't like the idea until I see a coherent program with a likelihood of success that will improve prospects for the policies I think necessary.  I've read those posts.  I don't see that program.  And I think this list is ridiculous.  It isn't that there aren't individuals on it whom I could conceivably support (though Wiener's name is conspicuously absent there).  It's that there must be willingness on their part and real potential for success.  That's the case you've got to make.  Jane Hamsher isn't going to get us there.  Neither is Feingold, whom I admire.

by Strummerson 2010-11-17 10:49AM | 0 recs
RE: I gather you don't like the idea of primarying Obama

We need to single out the bad actors among the group, I thought, but then realized that none of them probably have had any political experience, as Reagan did. Also, Reagan came to light when racism was fashionable; we think in opposite terms.

by MainStreet 2010-11-16 01:35PM | 0 recs
RE: I gather you don't like the idea of primarying Obama

To tell the truth, in my humble opinion the only viable primary challenger against Obama (at this point, who knows how bad the economy will go downhill from here) would be an African-American or maybe a Latino, probably someone in Congress or a governor.

The first-step list constructed on myfdl was done very openly, as brainstorming stages should be. It of course is not a proposal.

by fairleft 2010-11-17 12:10PM | 0 recs
RE: I gather you don't like the idea of primarying Obama

In that case, I'd back Adolph Reed. But BJJ is more electable than he is...

by Strummerson 2010-11-17 04:14PM | 0 recs
RE: I gather you don't like the idea of primarying Obama

In that case, I'd back Adolph Reed. But BJJ is more electable than he is...

by Strummerson 2010-11-17 04:14PM | 0 recs

Diaries

Advertise Blogads