Thom Hartmann: We need a Progressive movement, NOW.

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I'm listening to Thom Hartmann's radio show, liveblogging, with some paraphrasing:

Before the 2010 elections, the Republicans bet that if they could anti-message President Obama, they'd win.

Now they're betting that they'll out-message him on the economy.  I bet they'll win that bet.

Ari Emanuel is saying Obama will be like Harry Truman, win re-election, and not be fully appreciated until he's out of office. I have not heard any Truman like speeches out of Obama. I think Ari Emanuel is living in a different world.

Robert Kuttner: In the next 2 years, the Fed won't be able to pull us out of a recession. Obama didn't listen to Christine Romer when she told him that the stimulus bill was way too small.  He didn't explain and market it well, so he lost older voters. The public is uninformed, and he shouldn't have lost older voters.

Because of the poor design of the Obama health plan, and the ineptitude of explaining or marketing it, older voters came away convinced that the scheme would come at the expense of their Medicare.

Obama's goal was to appease the Republicans and ConservaDems. He didn't have an alternative with Blanche Lincoln and Ben Nelson. The ConservaDems lost in the 2010 elections. They were taken out with enormous amounts of money, and because of tactical mistakes along the way...

The GOP propaganda creates opposition to Obama's policies.

The real question is how we do this without the active collaboration of a Democratic president who is fast becoming more albatross than ally.

Movement based politics is the solution. And we should be pushing that harder.

So our task is to step into the leadership vacuum that Obama has left, and fashion a compelling narrative about who and what are destroying America. Our movement needs the passion and single mindedness of the Tea Party movement, and it helps that we have reality on our side. If we do our jobs, we can move public opinion, discredit the right, and elect progressives to office. Even Barack Obama might embrace us, if only as a last resort.

This president will never be a Progressive. Period. But I do want to see him re-elected, because of the Supreme Court, and maybe he can get some good things done around the edges.

We have to rebuild a progessive infrastructure in the context of the Democratic party and outside of the Democratic party... our version of the CATO institute, etc.

You and I are the new green shoots in what will become the mighty force of the Progressive future of this country. I'm not seeing this in the White House. There are some in Congress, most of them in the House. We've got some allies, but we have a long way to go, and we've got to start getting there.

I would love to see Howard Dean run for president, but I don't want to see Obama weakened. He's not telling people the economy  is the Republicans' fault. The narrative has to change.

I don't want to take down Obama... we have to build a movement.

As long as Summers, Geithner, Bernanke are where they are, I believe this White House has been captured by Wall St.

But, when Darrell Issa goes after Obama the way Newt went after Clinton, Obama may get angry enough to fight back, but I doubt it. He's called a Kenyan, angry black man, unAmerican... and he's just saying, "Let's get some stuff done." I'm in awe of how thick his skin is, but that doesn't mean I think it's wise politics.

Robert Kuttner, co-editor of American Prospect, asks how to save the Progressive movement. Reagan had two recessions that followed his tax cuts. FDR didn't wait six months, he waited two weeks...Obama's getting bad advice (Summers, Geithner)...

Most Progressives gave up before the election. They didn't show up. The ConservaDems lost, and by default, the GOP won. Young people outnumbered old people in 2008. This time, it was the exact opposite. How do we build an enduring Progressive movement?

Today, Paul Krugman points out that Alan Simpson (co-chair of the Debt Commission) says that there will be a blood bath in April. He thinks the GOP will say "We won't raise the debt ceiling unless you put a knife in the heart of the government" and government will bleed all over.

“I can’t wait for the blood bath in April. ... When debt limit time comes, they’re going to look around and say, ‘What in the hell do we do now? We’ve got guys who will not approve the debt limit extension unless we give ’em a piece of meat, real meat,’ ” meaning spending cuts. “And boy, the blood bath will be extraordinary,” he continued. [...]

...[I]f sabotaging the president endangers the nation, so be it.

This is an American politician, picked by Obama to co-chair his commission?

My sense is that most Americans still don’t understand this reality. They still imagine that when push comes to shove, our politicians will come together to do what’s necessary. But that was another country.

It’s hard to see how this situation is resolved without a major crisis of some kind. Mr. Simpson may or may not get the blood bath he craves this April, but there will be blood sooner or later. And we can only hope that the nation that emerges from that blood bath is still one we recognize.

Running someone against Obama would be suicide. But if we build a Progressive movement before 2012, we can not only get Obama re-elected (Supreme Court is at stake), but we can achieve real change.

Showing up at the polls, voting, would be a very, very good start.

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  • The "War on America" you speak of is corporate personhood depriving 99% of us while they run the country. Nice try.

  • I agree that Pres O is a centrist, but I disagree that he presented himself as a progressive. Back in 2007 I knew he was a centrist, as would anyone else who listened to his positions and did any reading on his policies. I wasn't even going to vote for him in the primary until here in CA, there wasn't much choice. I supported him 100% in 2008, but still knew he was no progressive (sadly). He's still far better than the alternative.

    I doubt Bush would have nominated Sotomayor or Kagan to the Supreme Court.

    Again, the GOP alternative is unthinkable.

    As for reversing Bush policies, again, you are partly right, but somehow i doubt Bush would have reversed DADT, refused to support DOMA, been pro-choice, hired Elizabeth Warren, signed the Lilly Ledbetter law, etc.

    So, although he's no Progressive, and certainly has never presented himself that way if you listen to his past and present speeches (he supported staying in Afghanistan, for one), he's also no Bush. He's a little of both.

  • sonofecgtheow

    Michael--I quite agree except Obama has crossed the point where I will not vote for him no matter what he does from here on out. He will not make any move (only promises to move) on any progressive issue before the election; when the election is over, if he is still in office (I so hope the draft a progressive style movement via social media etc.. will reverse this pitiful two party system) he will go back to his current center-right position that his map indicates as the center. 

  • sonofecgtheow

    What "change" are you talking about?????  Obama should make the republicans thrilled--if he wins they have a republican president, if he loses they have a republican president.  Seriously--what are you talking about.  Obama is incompetent, arrogant and many other adjectives but he is not the "progressive" he presented himself to be during his campaign.  We need a real progressive to reverse the damage right wing Bush policies have done around the world and at home.

  • Gthompson03

    the progressives have started a war on AMERICA and we will fight back ! Obama is a one term president..his and the lefts "change" is a lie and the "change" americans don't want...

  • Gthompson03

    the republicans are NOT the sabbotuers, the progressive left are...they are the oneS building a huge government for control,health care,banks,manufacturing,trying to remove religion,parental rights and redistribution of wealth. NO where has Socialism been ,that a country was not destroyed...its people becoming slaves to the government and live in a freedomless society with an elitist few in control...ie.,Nazi Germany,Russia,and Cuba are just a few of socialism victims and this is exactly what the progressive left are all about. NO ! 2010 has now been AMERICA FIGHTING BACK, 2012 will be when THE PEOPLE WILL STOP IF NOT DESTROY THE PROGRESSIVE MOVEMENT !

  • Gthompson03

    problem here is that NO one wants any part of the progrssive movement ! or its agenda..how arrogant can you be?? the 2010 elections were held and the PEOPLE said loudly NO ...to the progressive dems,NO to Obama and the People will finish saying NO in 2012 !

  • michael

    My only problem with this is that humans do what is easy. Obama had a clear majority and didn't use it. The argument here is one that assumes Obama would come around. He will not. It assumes he will nominate progressives for Supreme Court when he has not yet. At this point he's used up the good will and trust I granted him as a new president, promising a difference. He'd have to do some serious work to earn that trust back before I'd support him for president again.

  • michael

    My only problem with this is that humans do what is easy. Obama had a clear majority and didn't use it. The argument here is one that assumes Obama would come around. He will not. It assumes he will nominate progressives for Supreme Court when he has not yet. At this point he's used up the good will and trust I granted him as a new president, promising a difference. He'd have to do some serious work to earn that trust back before I'd support him for president again.

  • michael

    My only problem with this is that humans do what is easy. Obama had a clear majority and didn't use it. The argument here is one that assumes Obama would come around. He will not. It assumes he will nominate progressives for Supreme Court when he has not yet. At this point he's used up the good will and trust I granted him as a new president, promising a difference. He'd have to do some serious work to earn that trust back before I'd support him for president again.

  • Anon

    I have been reading many items about what I think should be a message from here on in - the Republicans are sabotaging the economy deliberately, they are willing to see Americans suffer if it hurts Obama, there have been some very good articles referenced on the Washington Monthly web site, I would urge all to read them, it is quite eye opening, the length the republicans will go to stop the economy from getting better.