August 8, 2011 § Leave a comment

It’s time to divert progressive resources away from Barack Obama and toward a genuine counterweight to and bulwark against the right-wing movement that is destroying this country:

Russ Feingold must challenge the President in the primary season of 2012.

Not because he can win, as wonderful a result as that would be.

No, Mr. Feingold must steal the gauntlet from Mr.Obama’s pocket, the gauntlet that the President has refused to throw down in his dealings with Republicans and use it to challenge Mr. Obama himself.

The voters need a demonstration of just how transformative a strong, unbridled progressive voice with clear, dynamic ideas can be- something that many voters thought they were getting (however erroneous that belief might have been) in Mr. Obama in 2008. The President needs to be annoyed, humiliated, shamed into doing something new in his Presidency (if he indeed gets another term): standing up for the common good and against the corporatocracy.

Here’s how some of the debate would go:

QUESTION : Where do the candidates stand on abortion?

OBAMA : Blah blah blah respect life blah blah blah reproductive rights are important blah blah blah I can see both sides blah.

FEINGOLD : A woman’s right to choose, to have an abortion, IS THE LAW OF THE LAND. I stand by that law one hundred percent. The recent violence against abortion providers and the laws passed restricting abortion by state legislatures is abhorrent and unacceptable. The criminals perpetuating the violence must be brought to justice and I will be making my case to the citizens of those states where such laws have been enacted to throw out their respective congressmen and elect leaders who will repeal those shameful laws.

QUESTION : In the current poor economic climate, do the candidates think it wise to raise taxes that could have an adverse effect on job creation?

OBAMA : Blah blah blah balanced approach, blah blah tax code can be improved blah blah blah the rich can pay a little more.

FEINGOLD : Lower taxes do not mean more jobs. That is bunk. Period. We tried that for eight years under Bush and the only thing that happened was that the rich got richer. Low taxes is the main reason for our states’ budget problems. As President I will place a tax on all stock transactions, a tax on polluters, raise the tax rate for the rich and corporations back to 45% and close every single tax loophole on corporations in addition to ending corporate welfare through subsidies to oil companies and the like. We don’t have a budget crisis in this country. We have a tax crisis and it will end when I am President.

QUESTION :  Mr.Obama, you’ve been criticized for a lack of leadership on environmental issues, from the climate change conference in Copenhagen to a lack of new legislation being proposed to support renewable energy and lower our carbon emissions. How do you respond to that?

OBAMA : Blah blah blah balanced approach, blah blah no way to get bills passed in Congress blah blah we’ve done a lot to promote renewables blah blah the future of our country is at stake.

FEINGOLD : This President has caved at every turn, refusing to single out Republicans and their party for taking bribes from oil companies to do their bidding. I am not taking a cent from the energy sector to fund my campaign, unlike Mr. Obama who has taken millions; please visit to see the numbers. As President I will place a tax on every gram of carbon spewed into the atmosphere in addition to phasing out gasoline-powered cars altogether. I will also be subsidizing a massive expansion of renewable energy production and grids to bring that energy to the public, providing millions of jobs to Americans. The carbon-based energy companies will have our support in changing the way they produce energy. Change they must. If not, they will perish.


These are just a few of the questions the candidates would be asked. Others would concern defense, gay marriage, our place in the world, terrorism, the importance of unions and so on. On every subject, Feingold would have the chance to make Mr. Obama look weak  and his proposals nebulous and ineffective. Would it weaken Mr.Obama for his fight against his Republican challenger in the general election? That would all depend on the President. If he doesn’t want to lead, it’s time to stand aside.

Picture : Russ Feingold, former Wisconsin Senator that rarest of political animalsa powerful Progressive voice.



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