My former professor warns that if the health care battle is lost, progressive hope will be lost for a generation. Of course, it isn’t just the health care issue that brings us to this juncture, but the discrepancies between Obama’s positions in the campaign and in the presidency.
I know I have warned, and I believe that others have as well, that Democrats take the progressive vote for granted. Progressives, they reason, have no major “party” alternative. Just like right wing Christians have no major “party” alternative to the Republicans. There is a difference, of course, in that Republicans have done far more for evangelical Protestants than Democrats for progressives, with the Democrats in fact pandering to those same evangelical Protestants to try to win back the South.
I am looking for another similarity in that just as many evangelicals felt, even if they voted for John McCain in the 2008 election, that they could not vigorously support him, I think that progressives will find it extremely difficult to vigorously support Obama in 2012. Campaigns are not just about votes and money but also about the dedication of volunteers. In 2008, Obama drew upon progressive energy in a campaign premised on “hope” and on “change.” For a great many, he has delivered despair and more of the same. If we want Republicans, many progressives will say, we will vote for Republicans; we do not need wolves in sheeps’ clothing, nor do we need Republicans in Democrats’ clothing.