The Right Wing has a mantra about Supreme Court nominations: No New Souters. They're talking about Justice David Souter, who was nominated by the first President Bush but left conservatives feeling burned. They thought he would be another Scalia or Thomas but were apoplectic when he failed to go along with the program - in fact, he often stands up for the rights of individuals against the powerful business and government interests favored by the Right.
Progressives, on the other hand, have had the unfortunate experience of watching this play out in reverse. Senator Joe Lieberman arrived on the national stage as the running mate of Al Gore, whose campaign stressed support of the people over the powerful. But he has gone down a reactionary path in the years since, and seems destined to become the next Zell Miller.
We can't afford to have another VP nominee who would undermine the progressive movement from within. When we talk about Barack Obama and his coming decision, we ought to have a mantra of our own: No New Liebermans. Instead, Obama must choose a running mate who shares his - and our - progressive values and is firmly committed to pursuing them.
To help get the message across, People For the American Way has launched a petition that calls on Obama to choose a progressive. You can sign the petition and enter your preferred VP nominee here. Next week we will present the petitions and top three VP vote-getters directly to the Obama campaign. Now is the time for progressives to make their voices heard!
(By Kathryn Kolbert, President of the PFAW)