To my correspondents who cannot stand Obama:
I would stop acting like an audience judging a performance. Get on stage and play a role.
I would concentrate on building progressive majorities in certain states, cities and congressional districts, and shaping public opinion to make it at least a factor Obama has to consider in a close election. In half of America, we can move towards green energy jobs, single-payer health care, etc., without fantasies of electing a left-wing president with a progressive majority. Building our strength at the base is the most important thing.
In the recent budget compromise between Obama and the House Republicans, for example, Obama held firm on funding Planned Parenthood and protecting the EPA. Why? Because there are well-organized women’s and environmental networks crucial to electoral success. There is no comparable network representing peace, even though 86 percent of Democrats are for rapid withdrawal from Afghanistan. Yes, there are one hundred Congressional members for peace, but they are a permanent minority in DC.
If you want to be effective, the task is to mobilize that potential peace bloc of voters through 2012. It would be counter-productive to vote against Obama, but he must know that he’s lost a huge number of volunteers, door-knockers, get-out-the-vote workers and even voters.
That’s our leverage, like it or not.