Labor, Enviro and Green Party Leaders Seaking Candidates to Primary Obama


It was just a matter of time until liberals figured out if they didn’t get an opportunity to challenge Obama on the issues of the day, that they might as well hand over the country and the ’12 election to republicans.

Last week every loyal dem’s favorite punching bag, Ralph Nader, teamed up with others to call for 6 primary opponents to challenge President Obama on specific issues:

“Without debates by challengers inside the Democratic Party’s presidential primaries, the liberal/majoritarian agenda will be muted and ignored,” Mr. Nader said in a news release. “The one-man Democratic primaries will be dull, repetitive, and draining of both voter enthusiasm and real bright lines between the two parties that excite voters.”

In search of candidates, Mr. Nader and the others sent out a letter, endorsed by 45 “distinguished leaders,” to elected officials, civic leaders, academics and members of the progressive community who specialize among other things in labor, poverty, military and foreign policy. The list, they said, also includes progressive Democrats who have held national and state office and have fought for progressive reforms…

Mr. Nader and [Cornell] West are joined by Christ Townsend, of the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America, and Brent Blackwelder, president emeritus of Friends of the Earth.

As the story gained steam, the Washington Post provided some more details:

Nader said Saturday it is “very unlikely” he would challenge Obama, and that he is gauging the interest of former lawmakers and governors, academics, authors and labor leaders.

The group said Saturday it is seeking six “recognizable, articulate” candidates who would not mount serious challenges to Obama, but “rigorously debate his policy stands” on issues related to labor, poverty, foreign policy, civil rights and consumer protections.

The group’s efforts come as Democrats are growing increasingly pessimistic about the country’s direction. Fewer than three-quarters of Democrats approve of Obama’s job performance, and less than a third believe the nation is headed in the right direction, according to the most recent Washington Post-ABC News poll

“I just want all these liberal, progressive agendas to be robustly debated. Otherwise, there will be a de facto blackout of their discussion” during next year’s campaign, Nader said.

The push garnered some support in Congress, too, and is sure to spark some hot debate among dems about their future (and probably some glee among conservatives and their t-party cheerleaders):

Some frustrated Democrats in Congress are saying that a primary challenge to President Obama would be a good thing…

Rep. Peter DeFazio said a primary would “push the president and his advisers a bit … to give us back the candidate we had three years ago.”

The Oregon Democrat pointed out that some of his colleagues in the House Democratic Caucus agree with him, but he declined to name names.

“It’s a common refrain, and it’s certainly common in my district among Democrats [because] they want the guy back that they voted for,” DeFazio said.

Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) told The Hill a challenge “would be healthy for the party.”

Me? What took them so long? Pass the popcorn. Let the debates begin.!

  1. Turner

    What would just handing the 2012 election over to the Republicans look like afterwards? Is it the hope of some progressives that our lives would become so miserable living under fascism that the electorate would demand a progressive alternative in 2016?

    It wouldn’t happen. The fascists wouldn’t let it.

    • lizard19

      if enough people can be convinced to vote for a Republican for president, then we’ll just have to find a way to persevere through the cataclysm that 4 years of a Republican executive would produce.

      that’s not a desirable outcome, but it’s been made possible by Democrat failures; messaging failure, policy failure, and a total failure of the imagination. as you pointed out, Turner, Democrats snickering about crazy Republicans, using what j-girl referred to as disaster politics to scare the electorate into their camp, is a cynical, uninspiring strategy that may backfire.

      • Ingemar Johansson

        If I were you I wouldn’t be scared of a Republican rout next year. Mostly because the R’s would have to actually fix the numerous problems that lie ahead.

        Your biggest fear is your opponents finding solutions, much like Ronnie did.

          • Ingemar Johansson

            Can’t seem to find the specifics on the 11 tax cuts JC. You have something more substantial?

            And if the 11 exist would those raises even compare to the drop in federal brackets that RR got?

            • JC

              Reagan Tax Increases. 4 million hits at Google and counting. Report back on your findings by end of class today. That’s if you don’t got some cows to move or gophers to shoot or something. I gotta bet back to work. Lunch is over.

              • Ingemar Johansson

                I went to a bunch, starting with your original link. Still couldn’t find them individually listed.

                Which means two things. Either they’re insignificant or just BS.

              • JC

                I’m not going to do your research for you. Here’s an NPR interview with Sen. Alan Simpson–one of your heroes–and Doug Brinkley (Reagan’s historian), and Grover Norquist talking about it.

                Simpson attests to the veracity of the 11 tax increases, and Brinkley and Norquist uphold him:

                “Former Senator ALAN SIMPSON (Republican, Wyoming): Ronald Reagan raised taxes 11 times in his administration. I was here. I was here. I knew him. Better than anybody in this room. He was a dear friend and a total realist as to politics.”

                NOw you go and do the leg work and find the increases if you want to debate them. Or you going to call Simpson a liar?

              • Ingemar Johansson

                Hear ya loud and clear.

                They’re insignificant.

              • JC


                Or are republican tax increases “insignificant” and democrat ones are significant?

  2. Turner, the Dems are in a tough spot.

    They’ve played the race card for the last three years, and are stuck with Obama now, no matter what.

    Having him as a candidate IS handing the White House to the GOP, and they know it.

    But they’re going to do it anyway, and pray for a miracle.

    They might get it – there could be a conservative third-party candidate, unemployment might get better, the price of gasoline might drop to the pre-Obama levels, the cost of food might go down, foreclosures might dwindle, etc., but the Dem ‘establishment’ people aren’t going around with pained looks on their faces for nothing.

  3. JC

    Look at it and weep eric. That’s Billings prices for 60 months previous to MArch of this year.

  4. I keep forgetting to explain things over here – my apologies.

    OK –

    Right before the election of The Great Leader, gasoline cost $2.48 per gallon.

    After he was elected, and before he was inagurated, business took Obama at his word and started mass layoffs, and prices started going up on fuel, and soon after that, prices started going up on everything. Then Obama pulled out a drawer full of Dem spending plans, and called his massive spending bill ‘Stimulus’ and said it was full of shovel-ready jobs, and that if it wasn’t passed unemployment could go over 8%.

    How did that work out for America J.C.?

    Please, please come back and talk about how it could have been worse, or about Obamas ‘bad luck’ so I can smack you around some more –

    • JC

      You still don’t know how to read a chart, do you? Prices were higher under Bush than they’ve ever been under Obama. Gas prices were in a freefall on the election because Bush’s economy was in the midst of a death spiral. Gas prices bottomed out AFTER Obama took office, not before.

      And you have no idea about what the stimulus even contained. Half tax breaks. Spending about 1/3 of what was needed in the short term, gauging by how bad we know Bush’s robbers tanked the economy. So the stimulus worked in that it kept unemployment from hitting 11%.

      You? You would have kept shoveling rightwing drivel at the problem, and unemployment would have shot way past the 11% and probably have hit 12 or 13% with whatever solution McCain and Palin could have come up with.

      So instead of criticizing where we are right now, why don’t you tell us what you would have done had McCain/Palin won? Then we can examine a real plan instead of a fantasy counterfactual that you obsess over.

  5. eric has never shown the slightest interest in learning the truth, jc. the truth doesn’t usually further the agenda of the far right. it’s why they built their own news organization.

    eric prefers not to hear about the part where bush drove the country into the ditch and tossed obama the keys . he just wants us to forget all about the great job that his guy did in ruining this country’s economy. but most of us still remember.

  6. I think that Nader has a seed of an very good idea. Not to primary the President, but shifting back to a populist party philosophy. Instead of a fixed party platform which seems shaped by the desire to be the Republican anti-party on every issue, what the party needs is to understand the wisdom of the collective majority opinion. Yes, the majority is often wrong and has been throughout history, but the majority opinion is the root of democracy, and which the party that bears its name has lost faith in.

    The Democratic party needs to be democratic! Gather the party, debate the issues, vote, and accept the majority opinion as platform until the next election. Then expect your elected officials to be servants of the party and implement the party platform. This is a winning strategy. It will lead to a more progressive, liberal, and pluralistic party.

    What stands in the way of this needed reform are those who hold the current (old fashioned), false and failed ideologies who stand in control of the party right now.

  7. JC

    Big Ingy, here is a collection of “insignificant” tax increases by Reagan:

    Reagan Tax Increases, Billions of Dollars (all eleven of them)

    Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982: +57.3

    Highway Revenue Act of 1982: +4.9

    Social Security Amendments of 1983: +24.6

    Railroad Retirement Revenue Act of 1983: +1.2

    Deficit Reduction Act of 1984: +25.4

    Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985: +2.9

    Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985: +2.4

    Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act of 1986: +0.6

    Continuing Resolution for 1987: +2.8

    Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987: +8.6

    Continuing Resolution for 1988: +2.0

    Total cumulative tax increases: +$132.7 billion dollars

    To put it in perspective, Reagan also signed into law tax cuts of $275.3 billion dollars. But he allowed spending to increase enough through deficit spending to triple the national debt, a $1.873 trillion dollar increase, or 250%! He increased the debt to GDP ration from 32.5% to 53.1%, over 20%!

    Here’s your godsend’s record on the deficit:

    Oh, and thanks for the opportunity to do your research for you. Will make great fodder for a future blog post. Have fun refuting the reality of popping the Reagan mystique.

  1. 1 Busting the Reagan Myth about Tax Cuts « 4&20 blackbirds

    […] Ingy, in my previous blog post on the rise of a liberal movement to primary Obama was being coy about the nature of tax increases under Reagan. Actually, coy is a nice word. He was […]

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