After Vice President Joe Biden asked the Democratic base to "buck up" and "quit whining" but still be sure to get out and vote in the mid-term elections, the response from a lot of the Democratic base was unsurprisingly less than enthusiastic. Lawrence O'Donnell talked to the Progressive Change Campaign Committee's Adam Green about President Obama's interview in Rolling Stone.
As Green noted, no one is telling the Democratic base not to go out and vote this year and none of us wants to see the Republican Party back in power to run the country off the cliff again. That said, what we liberals did want to see was the Obama administration fight for progressive ideals and as Green said, not making backroom sweetheart deals with Joe Lieberman when they needed him. Especially since when they needed Dennis Kucinich to go along with them, they actively campaigned in his district to put pressure on him to vote for the health care bill. They didn't use the bully-pulpit and public pressure to get the Blue Dog Conserva-Dems in line but they were more than happy to do it to undermine their progressive base. If they think that's a strategy to motivate the base to get out there and vote for them this year, they're sadly mistaken.
And all of that doesn't even begin to address the fact that they haven't gone after the Bush administration for their crimes and are continuing way too many of those policies like warrantless wiretapping, drone attacks, our occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan, Guantanamo and the list goes on and on.
Unlike Republicans, liberals and the Democratic base are not going to support policies just because the leadership of the Democratic Party wants us to support them. "Because they're better than Republicans" is not as strong a motivation as actually standing strong for progressive principles. I think most of us who follow politics understand fully the kind of obstruction they're up against and that given that, they're lucky to have gotten anything passed. But there's no question that few liberal principles even make it to the table in fear of that obstruction.
I think there's a debate to be had over whether they would have gotten anything passed had they gone after the Bush administration, or had they pushed harder for a progressive agenda. Maybe that would have meant maybe a Lieberman bolting and caucusing with the Republicans or who knows what kind of reaction out of the Republicans and corporate Democrats, as though what we're seeing already isn't bad enough.
Cenk Uygur came on Dylan Ratigan's show for his daily rant segment and the video is below the fold. Cenk responded to Biden's comments about bucking up and not whining.
Cenk thinks they're going to scapegoat the progressive base and blame us for their losses in the mid-term elections. I hope not, but their recent rhetoric hasn't been helpful. And while I share Cenk's frustration, the one thing he did not address here is the problems we have with the obscene levels of obstruction in the Senate and the bad actors on the Democratic side there. That said, I don't think anyone should be told they have to moderate their criticisms when they're irritated.
Politicians tend to do the right thing if they're pushed in that direction. It's our job to keep pushing them whether they like it or not, and as Cenk said, we're not pushing them to try to harm them. We're pushing them because it's the right thing to do and our country is in really terrible shape right now. We can't afford to sit by silently while our politicians are either bought and paid for or too timid to do what's right.
And one last thought on Dylan Ratigan. I'm glad he's been letting Cenk Uygur fill in for him while he's gone and coming on the show for commentary. But he absolutely hates President Obama and I think the only reason he lets Cenk come on there is because Cenk will criticize the administration. Ratigan's all over the map with some of his political views but he's a conservative at heart. MSNBC needs to just give Cenk his own show. Their daytime lineup is so bad I can barely stand to listen to most of them these days. I would imagine him having his own show would do nothing but boost their day time ratings and we'd have another progressive voice on their network besides their prime time shows.