Here is a CAN’T MISS discussion between Dylan Ratigan, Glenn Greenwald and Cenk Uygur on the contentious divisions which now exist between Progressives and the President (and the Democratic Party). The three identify Obama’s ultimate betrayal — which underlies a series of more easily identifiable ones, including his deliberate undermining of meaningful health care reform, financial reform, political reform, etc.
They articulate how his chosen methods of governance conflict so fundamentally with his former populist campaign promises as to literally obliterate his credibility and his former identity as a change agent. Herein lies the impetus for the Democratic Party’s midterm losses: their overnight transformation from change agents — ushered into power with a populist mandate — to status-quo agents.
Here’s some highlights of the discussion:
Glenn Greenwald: You can complain and object to all sorts of things, but if at the end of the day politicians know that you’re going to give them your undying and unconditional support, because the other side is just mildly worse, what you’re doing is you’re ensuring that you’ll be ignored. But I think this election actually revealed some leverage, which is one of the reasons why the Democrats got destroyed, is because the base of the party — the people who put Democrats in power in the last two elections — didn’t bother to go and vote. And the reason they didn’t bother to go and vote is because they weren’t given a reason why they thought it was worthwhile. That is leverage. That is telling the Democrats you will be out of power. Not just in the House of Representatives, but in the Senate and the White House if you continue on this path.
Glenn Greenwald: [Obama's] whole campaign was based upon subverting that very system — namely that no matter who wins, Democrats or Republicans, the same special interests continue to prosper, while ordinary Americans suffer. And the plan was that by assembling this highly energized, activated citizenry behind him — this army of people who believed in the change that he would bring — he could circumvent all of those power structures. He could tell them that they could no longer have their way, because they couldn’t do anything to him, because he had this army of highly energized young voters, first time voters, and the like. And they squandered that. Instead of becoming the voice of populist rage, they became the target of it, because they became the agents of the status-quo rather than the agents of change.
Cenk Uygur: [Obama's] fundamental error was — we didn’t ask you to do change on the specific issues. That’s great, health care reform, etc. that’s lovely, ok. And there was some good wins in Pell Grants, etc. right? We asked you to change the system. That’s what you missed. [...]
Glenn Greenwald: … the real tragedy of the Obama Presidency is there are millions of people who had believed that the political process had nothing to offer them, who were turned away from it and wallowing in cynicism. And they got convinced to put aside their cynicism for the first time ever — that there was really hope that they would be able to realize by investing themselves in the political process. And that has come crashing down. And I don’t see how it can be re-engaged, and the irony of the Obama Presidency –
Dylan Ratigan: Why not? Why not?
Glenn Greenwald: — because people concluded that: “this , I thought, was the real chance that something would be making a difference, and if not even this worked, then I don’t ever believe anything will.”
Cenk Uygur: … I’m with Glenn. There’s a great irony here, that the guy who sold us “HOPE” ultimately wound up robbing us of hope, and why? Because this was our one chance. Because the money power is so overwhelming, it is such a hard thing to fight, but he had amassed the army to fight it. He had that army. Let’s go, let’s do campaign finance reform, let’s change the way things are done so the lobbyists don’t own our politicians. And he squandered it, so what hope do we have? [...]
Glenn Greenwald: … I guarantee there are lots of people who are watching who are thinking “Oh, look at how impatient they are. What did they think, that he was going to come in and fundamentally and radically change and improve Washington in two years?” I don’t think anybody thought that. I certainly didn’t. I think everybody was in it for the long haul, was willing to have patience. But the reason people are disappointed isn’t because he hasn’t succeeded yet, it’s because he’s not trying. He’s doing the opposite. Everything he accomplishes is by meeting in secret with the very lobbyists who he said he was going to dis-empower. Everything that he does is intended to entrench the system rather than to subvert and undermine it. So if he were actually fighting, everybody, including everyone at this table, would have all the patience in the world [...]
How rare it is to see candid discussions like this one, in the main stream media, giving an honest account for the recent Democratic losses — low progressive turnout — and then to expand on the WHY.
WATCH (to see discussion in its entirety):
Originally published at AlterPolitics