The diary is an edited copy of a long reply to jeffroby in Jane Hamsher’s diary I Visited Over 40 Congressional Offices Today to Say: No Support For Anyone Who Votes for Social Security and Medicare Cuts It stands on it’s own as a diary, quite well.
Primarying Obama has it’s merits. However, if one’s concern is more to protect SS and Medicare, and less to build a long term movement, I can think of more effective ways to exert pressure.
I plan to write a diary that will overlap the following, since it will target the PCCC, and hope to strengthen their efforts to preserve SS + Medicare. (Recent diaries of mine targetting the PCCC are here, here and here.) However, for the following, I’m going to assume that the audience is not PCCC, but rather
1) progressive who are both bolder than the PCCC will (probably) ever be, but also don’t mind voting for Democrats when they judge them sufficiently progressives
2) progressives who can’t abide the Democratic Party
For the 1) category, threaten to throw some Democrats (5-10% max, in both the House and the Senate) under the bus in the general election, drawn from the ranks of those who vote for SS + Medicare cuts. Throwing some of them under the bus will mean the following:
a) pledging to vote for a Republican in the general election
b) aggressively recruit independents and non-Demo-bot progressives and moderates to do, likewise
c) solicit the aide of Republicans in carrying out 1) and 2).
For the 2) category, they can pledge to throw all Democrats under the bus in the general election, who vote for SS + Medicare cuts (also via a), b), and c)). Now, since they “can’t abide” the Democrats, they may be tempted to vote against every last one of them, even if they don’t vote against SS and Medicare. However, they need to ask themselves if having a massive shift to the Republican Party is what they really want. Probably not… Anyway, I am making suggestions, not telling anybody what to do. If a groups of progressives want to organize voters to throw all Democrats under the bus in the general election, there’s nothing I can do to stop them. Also, such an ultra-aggressive group of progressives could not expect anything from the Democrats, since no matter what the Democrats do, they will be voted against by the ultra-aggressive progressives.
Categories 1), 2) and even PCCC progressives (who consider themselves bold, but usually aren’t very) should be seriously looking at throwing anti-SS and anti-Medicare Republicans under the bus in primaries, by running candidates as Republicans, whose primary job will be to educate and raise the level of awareness of the Republican electorate, so that they will turn against the more extreme, Shock Doctrine obsessed members of their own parties.
Of course, I’m talking about a Full Court Press that targets the Republican Party, as described here
Since you don’t like waiting around for a Presidential primary challenger to Obama, any more than I do, please note that most of the suggestions, above, don’t require progressives to generate candidates, which apparently is still a big obstacle, given the lack of both non-Veal Pen organization of progressives, as well as the lack of aggressivness by those same non-Veal Pen organizations, such as the PDA. Only the Republican-facing Full Court Press would require the Progressives recruit candidates, and in Full Court Press fashion, these could and mostly would be minimalist candidates.
From a Democratic Infrastructural Ecosystem point of view, there is nothing wrong with having progressives who have radically differenct ideas about strategy, and the usefulness of the Democratic Party as a vehicle for progressive change, to nevertheless cooperate where they can (such as in the Republican Full Court Press), and to respectfully but synergistically refrain from direct cooperation, where they disagree.
If a strategy as simple as Good Cop / Bad Cop can get results, progressives should be able to grok the desirability of strategy only somewhat more complicated. Aren’t progressives supposed to be smart?
Imagine a situation where PCCC (about 750,000 members) signs on to the Republican Full Court Press, the 1) category grows to 500,000 progressives, and the 2) category grows to 500,000 progressives. 1) and 2) progressives also support the Republican FCP, as I indicated.
1.75 million progressives, both directly cooperating as well as synergistically not cooperating, might well reach 10′s of millions of non-progressives. If their net efforts result in terminating the political careers of 7.5% of Democratic incumbents, as well as 7.5% of the most extreme Republicans, we would end up with a much more people-oriented Congress, regardless of what becomes of SS and Medicare, in this election cycle.