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      In Response to Letters from Readers on Obama

      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. 

      For more, please see also by Tom Hayden, "On Bill Fletcher's Thoughts on Obama," and in the winter issue of The South Atlantic Quarterly, "Obama Between Movements and Machiavellians."

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      Reader Comments (1)

      You are so spot on, as usual, Tom. We all heard him say it over and over in 07 and 08, "I can't change Washington by myself. It isn't going to be easy. We're going to have to work together.... Yes We Can". That sometimes means fighting on the far left of Obama to move him closer to where he really wants to be standing. What I want to know is, what happened to WE? Living in New Orleans, now, so I'm not sure, surrounded by the red, that our piece of the "arc" will bend very far, but I'm going to give it a try.

      July 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSarah Rath

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