Karen Ocamb

A Call for a Primary Challenge to President Obama

Filed By Karen Ocamb | August 01, 2011 12:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: Barack Obama, Democratic Party, Democrats, president, presidential election, Progressive Caucus of California

BarackObama.jpeg

The Huffington Post is live-blogging what is happening in Washington over raising the debt ceiling and have reported that the congressional Progressive Caucus has called for an emergency meeting on the current negotiations to avert the country defaulting.

Sam Stein reported:

Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), a co-chair of the caucus, put out a statement harshly opposing the deal as it has been described in press reports.

“This deal trades peoples' livelihoods for the votes of a few unappeasable right-wing radicals, and I will not support it,” the statement read. “Progressives have been organizing for months to oppose any scheme that cuts Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security, and it now seems clear that even these bedrock pillars of the American success story are on the chopping block. Even if this deal were not as bad as it is, this would be enough for me to fight against its passage.”

How progressive lawmakers come down in the final vote may be the key to its passage. There are 76 members of the CPC, including one senator, Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). Should House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) bleed a good chunk of votes from his party — a perfectly conceivable outcome — he will be forced to rely heavily on Democratic votes.

Progressives have swallowed their complaints about major pieces of legislation before, including health care reform and the extension of the Bush tax cuts, but they do hold some leverage going into the debt ceiling vote, which will be held Monday or Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the Progressive Caucus of the California Democratic Party issued a statement supporting a Democratic Primary challenge to President Obama. I’m asked for a response from the California Democratic Party, which I’ll post asap. Here’s the release and resolution:

On Saturday, July 30th, 2011, an estimated 75 members of the Progressive Caucus of the California Democratic Party (CDP) passed a resolution in support of a Democratic Party Presidential Primary challenge to President Barack Obama. Gathering in Anaheim during an Executive Board meeting of the CDP, the group overwhelmingly endorsed the resolution following a discussion on the importance of not only challenging the far-right agenda of unmitigated corporate greed but also the current administration's willingness to slash 650-billion dollars from Social Security and Medicare. Below is the resolution:

RESOLUTION IN SUPPORT OF A PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY CHALLENGE

Whereas, the Progressive Caucus of the California Democratic Party, recognizes the challenge presented by President Obama's negotiating away Democratic Party principles to extremist Republicans by:

· His unilateral closed-door budget offer to slash Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, thus endangering The New Deal and War on Poverty safety nets.

· His determination to escalate U.S. militarism through illegal secret CIA drone attacks and unauthorized wars.

· His willingness to extend the Bush tax cuts for millionaires and bail out big banks without ending the foreclosure crisis that displaces American working families.

· His insistence on pushing a health insurance bill which enriches private insurance companies while ignoring growing support for single-payer health care or robust public options.

· His continuance of President Bush's assault on civil liberties with an extension of the repressive Patriot Act.

· His failure to restore due process and habeas corpus, while

continuing the practice of nationwide FBI raids of anti-war progressive protestors.

· His decision to increase the arrests and deportations of undocumented workers.

· His facilitation of the privatization of the public sphere, which includes education and housing, among others.

· His disregard of his promises to the Labor movement.

Whereas the Progressive Caucus of the California Democratic Party recognizes the historical significance of the great late Robert F. Kennedy's anti-war challenge to former President Lyndon Johnson, following President Johnson's decision to escalate U.S. military involvement in Vietnam, betraying his campaign promise to end a war that polarized America, we similarly recognize the danger and betrayal the "Grand Bargain" represents to the legacy of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's signature gift to all Americans: Social Security and the New Deal, a point of pride for all Democrats.

Whereas the Progressive Caucus of the California Democratic Party is committed to the understanding that an interest in a 2012 Democratic Presidential Primary challenge will not interfere with President Obama's ability to govern, nor limit his ability to do so in ways that include invoking Constitutional options, we recognize that a Primary challenge will, in fact raise debate on important issues without risking the ability to mobilize and energize the base of the Democratic Party to elect a triumphant leader to counter the far-right agenda.

Therefore, be it resolved, to make our views heard, the Progressive Caucus of the California Democratic Party will begin the process of contacting other Democratic organizations, Democratic Party members and public organizations that share our views and which seek to change the course of history by exploring other steps necessary to effect a necessary change, including a possible primary challenge against President Obama.

Update: An informed source close to the leadership in the CA Dem Party says: “This means nothing, it was overwhelmingly repudiated and they got slammed big time! Their re-charter was tabled until At least November.”

(Cross-posted at LGBTPOV)

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Jay Kallio | August 1, 2011 6:04 PM

Nothing even remotely progressive is going to happen until we have complete campaign finance reform with exclusively public financing of elections. Both parties are bought, Democrats by the banks and financial services industry ("Wall St"), and the Republicans by Oil.

Everything progressive will fail until we restore real democracy.

Wilberforce1 | August 1, 2011 9:05 PM

It's the Progressive Caucus' own fault. They forced Obama on us in the last primary, even though the Clintons had vastly more experience.
True, I danced in the streets when the first African American President was elected. But we're paying a heavy price.
They sat on their hands while Obama wasted a year on healthcare, which could have been done in three minutes through reconciliation, and when he passed the Keynesian hogfest stimulus instead of targetted investment of fiscally responsible Clintonomics, and when he let the Republicans dictate terms over and over. Also, the rank and file deserted their President last Nov. and allowed the Republicans to retake the House.
Talk about whining. Please, Aunt Euphemia Hoyt. Look in the mirror.

The Clintons? Only one Clinton was on the ballot. I have my doubts about Hillary's ability to have won that election. Primary Obama, and the Tea Party will occupy the House, Senate, and the Oval Office.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | August 2, 2011 2:27 AM

Democrats, like their Republican cousin-brothers, are a wholly owned subsidiary of the bankster-looter class.

Obama is the best you'll get from the Democrats. Just ask all the GLBT Democrats who asked us to vote for him and his party in 2008.

There are no leftists or progressives in the Democrat Party. All of them accept contributions from corporations and have to pay their debts. Kucinich voted for the madness of Obama's heatlh care 'reform', a reform that allows HMOs and insurance companies to print money.

Which Democrats would support these minimum, necessary and completely reasonable ideas:

o - Passage of ENDA and repeal of DOMA

o - The immediate and total withdrawal of all US troops and an end to foreign wars to make the world safe for Wall Street

o - A multitrillion dollar plan, organized by trade unions and funded by a 90% tax on incomes over $250,000 to green the economy and zero out unemployment

o - 30 hours work for 40 hours pay at trade union wages and for benefits for the unemployed, retirees, job training and college students and the heads of single parent families

o - The US public debt should be repudiated, without compensation for rich Americans, businesses or for foreign speculators. Only those programs that benefit working people - like pensions, Social Security, Medicare, and a super fund dedicated to greening industry, agriculture and the infrastructure, a measure aimed at zeroing out unemployment - should be funded and part of our national debt.

Democrats are Republicans in drag. On November 6th, 2012 vote for the left, vote against Democrats, vote socialist, vote against Republicans or simply sit it out. Our energies should be focused on building a mass movement with an open ended campaign of mass actions to compel them to make our agenda a reality.