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Monday, January 02, 2012

The Politics of Pogo Possum

Some news items gave me a nagging itch.

One, some segments of the "Occupy Movement" declared for Ron Paul, exposing the anti-government at all costs attitude that lies beneath much populist fuzzy thinking. They proudly quote the mad "Network" rant, "we're mad as hell and we're not gonna take it any more!".

A second article quoted some Hispanic leaders as warning that their voters were angry about the deportation policy of the the administration.

Another item noted that emails which had been exposed which fueled doubts about man made global warming were not put out by deniers, but rather by activists on the well meaning left who feared that third world economic progress would be stalled by climate change policies.

Remember Ralph Nader.

"I'm not a member of any organized political party. I'm a Democrat." Will Rogers

That accurately describe a problem for liberals in any political season and now poses obstacles for our candidate, the now and (hopefully) future president.

No one can be elected by hewing to strict ideologically pure liberal (or progressive, if you prefer) rhetoric or programs. Even FDR, who is seen by the right as the epitome of a dangerously liberal president, wasn't deemed radical enough for many on the left of his own party.

The Democratic Leadership Council was formed by the right wing of the party to correct the perceived failure of tired left ideas that led to losses by McGovern, Dukakis, and Mondale. Clinton and Gore rescued the so-called Reagan Democrats by triangulating, co-opting conservative talking points: welfare reform, balanced budgets, free trade, tough on crime, pro death penalty, strong defense.

Obama has done as well as he could with the tools at his disposal and given the obstacles thrown in his path. Like FDR, he had to salvage a corrupt capitalist system from itself. As in the 1930's rapid and complete recovery of the economy is not within his power to achieve.

His problem is that as a scruples moderate, he is dealing from a tepid ideology that doesn't fit with our angry and polarized public's notion of the "passion" they want, either from the left or right.

His solution may be that his opposition quotes Pogo: "We have met the enemy and he is us." Walt Kelly (Pogo).