Obama Decries Circular Firing Squad Then Fires Preemptive Shot at Progressives


Obama has weighed in against those pesky progressives! They’re so, you know, “rigid”. Why don’t they loosen up and join together with the conservative wing of their party to maintain the status quo? Don’t divide the party, he exhorts the progressive wing. Follow the conservatives.

This was a truly foolish comment on Obama’s part, one of the few I remember him making. As someone who’s just left the party because it is too conservative, this reinforces the correctness of my decision. If I were still a Democrat, this remark in itself might drive me to leave the party. Wouldn’t it be fair for a progressive Democrat to ask in return, “Aren’t you conservative Democrats being ‘rigid’ about life or death issues like the Green New Deal and impeachment of a criminal?” Obama’s comment will fuel rather than quell division. And it will certainly alienate many progressives who are not Democrats to see Obama working to move the party to the right. Why would an independent progressive vote for a conservative Democrat? It’s sad, really, to see someone like Obama attack progressives. And sad to imagine the votes they are losing.

I would make Obama’s point the other way around. Moderate and conservative Democrats have joined with the Republicans in a firing squad against us all, maintaining the status quo and endangering our nation in the process. The conservative Democrats should quit dividing their party, move to the left, celebrate progress and take back the presidency in 2020 in a way that will help the world.

Obama warns against a circular firing squad. And then he fires the first bullet. And he’s wrong. It’s the moderates who hold the party back, and guarantee its failure. Even if the Democrats win the 2020 election with a moderate candidate, the country loses, because necessary changes won’t happen.

Obama uses a premise that seems common among conservative Democrats. They begin from the idea that progressive ideas aren’t winning ideas. This false thinking proves itself true again and again, because when the conservative Democrats fail, they blame it on the progressives. They lose and say, “See, we told you you would cause us to lose!” Hmm. What’s wrong with this thinking?

Progressives, both inside and outside of the Democratic Party should be proud of ourselves for speaking out. For holding on to the things that matter most. We clearly have the corporate Democrats running scared. Why Obama is shilling for them against progress remains a mystery.

Are they so desperate to maintain control of “their” party that they are willing to lose in 2020?

I wonder if progressive Democrats feel silenced by this attack on their values.

Looking in from the side, I know that I would.

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