Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Eliot Spitzer on Obama's jobs priority

Obama's re-election chances have notably increased over the last few weeks. But this commentary from Eliot Spitzer from early September on Current TV is still important.

'What exactly is the agenda for the next 4 years?' Eliot Spitzer reacts to Obama's DNC speech 09/07/2012:

Slate has the text version, President Obama’s Mistake: He Didn't Outline a Second-Term Agenda 09/07/2012. Talking about Obama's acceptance speech at the Democratic Convention:

His priorities are surely better than those of the Republicans. And give him credit: He even spoke directly about global warming. But it is not clear to me that he is ready to push for the genuine control of health care costs that might ensure that the government can afford the investments in the areas that most need it: education, infrastructure, basic R&D, and protection of the safety net for the poor.

Contrast this with the announcement, hardly noticed, that China is initiating a $156 billion infrastructure investment plan to build more subways and highways as part of an effort to confront the economic slowdown there. China’s growth rate has slipped all the way down to 7.6 percent. Ours, by contrast, is 1.7 percent.
It's important for Democrats to keep shortcomings like this on Obama's part in mind. Because even if he wins, Republicans can go right on with their obstructionism on domestic issues. And we've seen Obama's willingness to compromise far onto the Republican turf in negotiations. So to get any kind of progressive domestic policies enacted, Obama's own party has to do a lot of griping and complaining and organizing to force him to support those policies.

From the standpoint of progressive politics, a Romney election would be a huge setback. One of the main reasons is that both the Democratic and Republican party's learn the same lesson from nationwide election defeats. When Republicans lose, they assume it's because they haven't been Republican and conservative enough. When Democrats lose, they also assume it's because they haven't been Republican and conservative enough. Pushing the Democratic Party into a more new-New-Deal direction will be easier with an Obama win in November. But a key element of that process will be progressive primary challenges to corporate Democrats.

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