Progressives Heroes in the Age of Obama

Posted on August 24, 2011 by

Preventing a right-wing takeover will preoccupy progressives in 2012. 

Bitterness over Obama’s failures will be suspended as we work to defeat the republican presidential nominee and conservative congressional, gubernatorial and legislative candidates. 

To sustain us, progressives will need some diversion and inspiration.

You can already see these emerging:

Elizabeth Warren – who set up the federal financial consumer protection office but was not, according to the white house, “confirmable” as its director – may run for the U.S.  Senate from Massachusetts against Republican Scott Brown who won Ted Kennedy’s former seat in 2010. 

Van Jones - who resigned in 2009 as the administration’s green jobs advisor because of “radical links” – has launched “Rebuild the American Dream,” a grass roots tea party antidote. 

Former U.S. Senator from Wisconsin Russ Feingold – who recently decided against seeking elected office next year – has formed the “Progressives United” alliance for corporate accountability.  

Vermont Independent Socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders - who is up for re-election with no chance of being ousted – will build on his role as the loudest and clearest voice on the hill wiling to “tell-it-like-it-is.” 

However these and other high-profiles decide to posture it, they will form a very broad consensus on the American left to support Obama’s re-election. 

Even more important than what they say is their ongoing commitment to reform.

Which will instruct and inspire progressive voters desperate for role models.

Comments (4)


  1. Greg II says:

    I see people who claim to be progressives complain about Obama’s failure’s. I don’t get it. I see a whole lot of things that he has accomplished and according to Rachel Maddow he has achieved 85% of what he promised. What I see are things that are not achievable given the extraordinary opposition from the Right. I don’t remember in my life time and I am collecting my pension, any president of any persuasion encountering ever, this kind of opposition. And as I look at the list above, all people I have tremendous respect and hope for. As much as I miss that they are not where they were, all of course except Bernie Sanders who is amazing, I believe what they are setting out to do at this point is actually for each of them a much more important and broad based space for each of them. Yeah Elizabeth Warren has proven that she is the best consumer advocate, but as you well know the Republicans have been pushing back on all things Obama just because they are his. Wish you all weren’t so jaundiced and weak kneed.

  2. DK McLeod says:

    As a union activist, I find it surprising you left out Richard Trumka, who gave the dreaded Larry Kudlow what-for on his own CNBC program (Kudlow, minimizing and making excuses for corporate greed, in his role as cheerleader and shill-in-chief for the Wall St mob, complete with his own perversion of the Pledge of Allegiance — to Capitalism, no less! Kudlow: “Well, some of the banks…”; Trumpka” “‘Some’ of the banks, Larry? ALL OF THE BANKS, Larry!…”, etc.). And what about the economists who aren’t bought-and-paid-for (as revealed in Inside Job), or certified KoolAid drinkers out of the University of Chicago/Milton Friedman/Ayn Rand/”the market is always right” school of “thought” — people like my old Yale classmate Paul Krugman, Nouriel Rubini, Robert Reich, and even the aging Paul Volker, who supported Glass/Steagal’s separation of mortgage and gambling money — people who got the economy, you will pardon the expression, right? as opposed to Rahm Emmanuel, Larry Summers, Ben Bernanke, and Timothy Geitner, et al? Unfortunately, too many of those die-hard “supply side” foxes, mostly Bush appointees, are still guarding the already-ravaged henhouse in what is supposed to be a Democratic administration. Obama needs a new economic team. Or a new team to oppose him.

  3. Nick Eldredge says:

    Greg II makes a mighty good point.
    Actually a number of mighty good points.

    Against the stiffest and nastiest headwind I’ve ever seen a president encounter (JFK was my first vote) and in a catastrophic economic environment not even approached since the late ‘30s, Barack Obama has indeed accomplished a remarkable list of positives.

    The truly mean spirited and disrespectful attacks by the Republicans are grotesque but understandable considering their consistently feudal mind set.

    But the harsh judgments of my liberal brethren are disappointing and disturbing. Just because Eric, Mitch, John and Rick say Barack is doing a terrible job as president, doesn’t really make it true. In fact, the opposite is strongly implied.

    But the challenge of listening to the relentless drumbeat of Republican half-truths, lies and propaganda-points is that our perception of what the hell is actually going on can and absolutely will be warped.

    One example is the way the news media regularly give equal weight to a serious statement of fact or opinion on the one hand and to a stark lie or obvious exaggeration designed to obscure the truth on the other. A bizarre pretense of political balance.

    Another effect of the Republican repetition/saturation technique (combining, of course, with deep liberal/progressive frustration) is the narrowness and stridency in the last eight months of critical liberal commentary. As if, because Barack Obama hasn’t already (and single-handedly) created all the changes we truly believe need to happen, this incredibly bright, bold, courageous man we elected our president less than two years ago, has suddenly become narrow, dim and inept.

    • Nick Eldredge says:

      bruno, nick’s editorial assistant here:

      the old boy gets so tightly wound up with his words sometimes that he completely bobbles his numbers.
      barack obama has in fact been president of the u.s. of a. for nearly THREE full years.

      nick will be deeply embarrassed when he wakes up to this correction in the morning.
      but accuracy is what blog comments are all about.
      furthermore, one should never, under any circumstances, hit SEND or SUBMIT after 3 am.

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