‘Perhaps I grow testy’:
On Obama and Biden blaming the Democratic base
By Dr. Stephen R. Keister / The Rag Blog / September 29, 2010
[On Sept. 27] at a fundraiser in Manchester, NH, Vice President Biden urged Democrats to “remind our base constituency to stop whining and get out there and look at the alternatives. This President has done an incredible job. He’s kept his promises.”
[On Sept. 20] at the Pyramid Club in Philadelphia, President Obama said “when I hear Democrats griping and groaning and saying, ‘Well, you know, the health care plan didn’t have a public option’ …. or this or that or the other — I say, folks, wake up… This is not some academic exercise. ”
Perhaps I grow testy in my old age, but I am very much bothered by the statements of President Obama and Vice President Biden demeaning their progressive supporters and the young activists who brought them to office.
To place the blame on the progressives within the Democratic party for their own lack of insight — and their pandering to the Republicans and “Blue Dogs” — strains credulity and reason. Once again Casandra is ignored with, I fear, potential results comparable to the fall of Troy come the election five weeks away.
I look for a personal analogy… In 1938 I applied for admission to medical school. One of my sponsors, who I feel was key to my admission, was the elderly family physician.
Let us assume that at the end of my freshman year my grades were below average, and let us assume that my sponsor admonished me for my lack of dedication and perseverance.I would have two options: (1) to show my gratitude and respect and assure the gentleman that I would do better; or (2) to be cutting, unkind, and show no respect for his efforts in my behalf… put him down, demean him. If I had been an insightful, courteous, and thinking individual I would have opted for the first.
(No such event ever occurred… I worked my butt off!)
The Obama/Biden response to their initial supporters and donors certainly shows complete lack of any comprehension of reality. We are asked to be thankful for the crumbs from their table, and concurrently provide them a scapegoat for their own failings come election night and an overwhelming Republican win.
Of course we must take into account that the administration has been facing a hostile minority, but a minority indeed. We elected these folks to do what is morally and ethically correct, not to cringe and hide behind their dissident Democrats in the Senate.
Whether their response is a product of lack of understanding, stupidity, or gross disrespect hardly seems to matter. Perhaps, just perhaps, these folks can be saved from themselves. Perhaps we can in our actions get it across to them that they are derelict in communicating with the American people, a point that should be repeated time and time again.
Elect Republicans and put in jeopardy your Social Security, Medicare, and tax relief for the great majority of the American people. Elect Republicans and look forward to escalation of foreign wars with the concurrent loss to our national economy. Elect Republicans and deny yourself further ability to make individual choices.
One can hardly anticipate any positive action from these folks who cannot see the forest for the trees, but it might help an iota if the White House would appoint a thinking person, a person of vision and compassion, to the openings in the Treasury and White House staff, rather than more clones of Wall Street or of the Blue Dog stripe.
However, as the followers of true progressive tradition we must hold our noses and GET OUT AND VOTE. We progressives cannot afford to be petty and stay home; we must drag ourselves, our families, and our friends to the polls if we are to preclude a situation that could become unimaginably worse.
This is crucial in many, many states and many, many congressional districts, but none more than here in Pennsylvania where in the senatorial contest Vice-Admiral Sestak faces a very well-funded (by the corporations) political Neanderthal — one Pat Toomey — who is a leader in the drive to privatize Social Security.
I remember while in college being at an FRD rally when Harold Ickes spoke. Oh, to see persons like him, Henry Wallace, and Francis Perkins in Washington again.
[Dr. Stephen R. Keister lives in Erie, Pennsylvania. He is a retired physician who is active in health care reform.]