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Excerpt: "Clearly, Obama does not have progressive instincts, and prefers to rule from the center. This impulse is wrong-headed, since the center didn't man his campaign offices or make phone calls for him. Ruling from the center means taking his base for granted while reaching out to relatively conservative constituencies."

Juan Cole; public intellectual, prominent blogger, essayist and professor of history. (photo: Informed Comment)
Juan Cole; public intellectual, prominent blogger, essayist and professor of history. (photo: Informed Comment)

Top Ten Wish List For President Obama

Juan Cole, Informed Comment

07 November 12


resident Obama's reelection should mean more to progressives than simply dodging the bullet of a Romney presidency indebted to the Tea Party. Democratic politics has to be more than relief, while playing Russian Roulette, that this time we got the empty chamber. Progressives are a significant wing of the Democratic Party, and if we continue to be ignored, the party will ultimately falter.

Clearly, Obama does not have progressive instincts, and prefers to rule from the center. This impulse is wrong-headed, since the center didn't man his campaign offices or make phone calls for him. Ruling from the center means taking his base for granted while reaching out to relatively conservative constituencies. This tactic is why we don't have a single-payer health insurance plan. It is why Wall Street reform has consisted of half-measures. It is why we are imposing a financial blockade on Iran that could easily spiral into a war. When it comes to the arch-conservatives, for the most part, Obama has never learned to just say 'no.'

It does not help that Obama will face virtually the same, obstructionist Tea Party House of Representatives that stymied him for the past two years. Instead of going to them and asking how he could make them happy, he has to threaten to make an all-out push to turn them out of office in 2014 if they continue to say 'no' to everything.

Progressives will have to push Obama to the left if we are to get what we want. This situation is nothing new– FDR's New Deal would not have amounted to much if workers hadn't engaged in widespread wildcat strikes and if people had not resorted to civil disobedience.

As for positive accomplishments, here are a few we should pressure him and Congress on:

  1. We need the tax break for wind energy to be continued. Uncertainty here is deadly to the industry. And it is facing competition from cheap fracked natural gas (which is itself an environmental disaster every which way from Sunday). Wind energy could easily provide a quarter of all the electricity the US produces annually, and it is a way of slowing the rapidly rising average temperature of earth's surface. Obama should deploy Republicans from high-wind states such as Iowa and Colorado to help make his case. It is to Obama's credit that green energy doubled in the US from 3% to 6% during his first term. But 6% is almost nothing, with Portugal, Germany, Scotland and others being far more ambitious. Scotland wants to be 100% green by 2020. Obama should emulate John F. Kennedy, Jr., and give a major address committing the the nation to try to go green in 8 years, just as Kennedy pledged to put us on the moon.

  2. The Citizens United and other such rulings of the Supreme Court that allow dark money to dominate our elections needs to be undone by legislation. Corporations are not people, and Superpacs shouldn't be buying our elections. Obama should start the work on a constitutional amendment that would permit actual campaign finance reform so that our elections look more like those of Western Europe and less like those of Pakistan.

  3. Banking regulation still needs to be strengthened. There is nothing really in place that would prevent a repeat of the 2008 meltdown. Moreover, relief for homeowners under threat of losing their mortgages unfairly or arbitrarily needs to be pushed for again.

  4. Obama needs to show leadership in pushing back against Koch Brother attempts to destroy public sector unions. Moreover, he needs to create a legal framework for the protection of the right to unionize in the private sector, a right that has been gutted by corporations such as Walmart. It was the unions that gave Mr. Obama Ohio, and if they are undermined during the next four years, they won't be there to deliver the state again.

  5. He needs to have the Department of Justice look into the Koch Brother-backed legislation in two dozen states restricting the franchise by requiring a paid-for state i.d., which is a kind of poll tax. In many states, this legislation violates the 1965 Voting Rights act. We can't let a couple of sour billionaires undo the achievements of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., achievements for which he gave his life.

  6. That use of the Department of Justice would perhaps make its workers and its head, Eric Holder, too busy to go around kicking down the doors of medical marijuana clinics and confiscating their computers, records and cash, in states where the state has legalized marijuana. Obama was elected the first time by the youth, and had promised to cease Federal harassment of pot clinics, but reneged and proved much worse than Bush on this issue. Holder should stop denying the clear medical uses and benefits of pot. In Colorado and Washington states, the same people who voted for him have legalized recreational marijuana. Moreover, the RAND Corp. concludes that legalization would defund the Mexican cartels. If the the Democratic Party continues on this Draconian path, it should not be surprised when it begins losing elections because a substantial younger constituency deserts it for the Green Party.

  7. Obama put off further consideration of the PATRIOT Act until 2014. Several of its remaining provisions have been tagged by Senators Wyden and Udall as unconstitutional and pernicious because of the way law enforcement is interpreting them "secretly." These unconstitutional provisions must be repealed altogether. Moreover, Obama needs to come clean about the extent of Federal violations of fourth amendment rights, warrantless surveillance of citizens, and the data mining of our emails and possibly their storage by the National Security Agency. As a victim of illegal White House/ CIA surveillance myself, I am furious that Obama has continued Bush-era abuses, and moreover that the Democratic Party has not so much as bothered to launch an investigation of my case.

  8. The Bush tax cuts for the wealthy have to be allowed to lapse.

  9. Obama must give up the fiction that a Department of Justice review of assassination targets is the same thing as a court trial that ends in an execution. The separation of powers is there in the constitution because King George III used to use the executive to declare people "outlaws" and have them killed on a whim, too. Maybe Obama and the national security state think they have invented something new. They haven't. Targeted assassination by executive fiat has been around for a long time, and the Founding Fathers wanted it prohibited.

  10. Obamacare has to be tweaked in the direction of a single payer system. your social media marketing partner


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+95 # Ray49 2012-11-07 10:43
excellent article, I hope it was sent to the white house
+81 # PhilO 2012-11-07 11:11
I'd add #11:
I wish that BO will be a better communicator. Rather than trying to "sell" his ideas to Congress, he needs to sell them to the American people.

When (alas, I wish that I could write 'if') Congress tries to obstruct his agenda, he needs to call a press conference (and/or go on the talk show circuit) and explain why his idea is good and important. And, ask that Americans pick up their phones and call their Representatives and tell them to support the President!!!
-63 # jlstiles 2012-11-07 10:44
Yeah, this is the democrat kiss arse attitude. Slave for Obama, who has never been their friend, and then beg him for mercy. Pitiful delusion. Should have supported third party voices.
+13 # Quonomo 2012-11-07 12:37

The real delusion is a third party. It ain't going to happen until a revolution occurs and maybe not even then.

The game is rigged, bought and paid for. No laws will be enacted by anyone to limit the amount of money those who write the laws are funded by. Get serious.

Corporate Media, Money and Influence has third party candidates stuffed into Houdini straight jackets, locked in safes, and dumped into the East River. You need not look further back than yesterday for proof.

Myth Romoney Came with in a gnats ass of winning an election for the most powerful political position in the world based on obvious slight of hand, deception, and lies. It cost the Plutocrats cab fare to come as close as they did to pulling this off.

The Corporate Enablers will never let a third party happen unless they trot out a puppet on strings. As of this morning I am sure Karl Rove is already considering that as an option.

Follow the money. It doesn't lead to third party candidates and it never will unless the fascist want it to. When it behooves them to do so, I suggest running as fast as one can.
+9 # Nominae 2012-11-08 01:24
@ Quonomo

Sad to say, but you are absolutely correct.

Change will not come by working within an already corrupt, stacked and rigged system.

OWS makes a great world-wide model for the way that change will come in the future.

The same way that OWS simply "spanked" the Red Cross by doing things their own way in New York in the wake of Sandy, citizens who are sensitive to real change will "spank" the present internationally corrupt system until it just won't work due to a shortage of participating victims.

We need new ideas, not new politicians. We need to re-create all of our systems from the ground up with an eye toward the kind of a society we wish to become in the future. We need not place yet another patch on our flat tire, we need the next generation beyond tires. All new.

Juan Cole worries that the "Democratic Party ..... will ultimately falter."

*Spoiler alert* the Democratic Party has been a dead, irrelevant, empty shell since 1980. RIP. It has been dead not as a role player in present-day Political Theater, but as a representative of the people.

Representative Democracy itself has been a cadaver for longer than that.

The Republican Party has always been about rich people "lining their own nests". They had no relevance *to* lose.

Since we will not now need to spend the next four years "dodging and resisting" Romney, let's take advantage of that time to do what we might to "disarm" the present warped-out system on all levels.
+1 # Quonomo 2012-11-08 13:06
Occupy should hold the Forth Continental Congress right away. It is time to create the country we want and to take this step right now. The survival of this Union may just depend on it.

Occupy favorably polled at 38% of population. That is roughly 118 million people. Think of the support that could be garnered by a concise platform.

One has to ask what type of a revolution do we want? One of change or one of blood? Left to the current course I fear there will be only one option and it is very ugly.

There is a great handbook for the peaceful transition we need. Gene Sharp's book 'From Dictatorship to Democracy'. This is an outline for a peaceful epiphany and has work time and time again.

A must read for those that believe there is a better way.
0 # EternalTruth 2012-11-08 23:56
I tried to find the book "How to Start a Revolution", and all I found was a documentary film. Is there actually a Gene Sharp book with that title, or were you actually referring to a different title?
0 # Quonomo 2012-11-09 14:19
Sorry wrong title. This will get you there
'From Dictatorship to Democracy'.

Here is the link
+14 # Tje_Chiwara 2012-11-07 13:35
Quoting jlstiles:
Yeah, this is the democrat kiss arse attitude. Slave for Obama, who has never been their friend, and then beg him for mercy. Pitiful delusion. Should have supported third party voices.

Yep . . and that's the typical Republican Rove rave to encourage all those with insufficient wit to steal on their own to head off to the corner to play with themselves --- establishing their irrelevance, and wasting the good will and efforts of those who try to serve the common good and help them. You're just an unpopped pimple on the body politic. That's really pitiful.
+78 # barkingcarpet 2012-11-07 10:52
Try again bub

Sure Obama is better n Mittens, and the time is now for us to get off our entitled and oblivious consumer asses. Unless we address the the rules, laws, workings, and systems of Nature, none of the rest will mean much.

End Nukes. Period. Fukushima is still spewing and teetering. Radiation lasts for a LOOOONG time. Are your children immune? Oops.
End the endless wars.

GMO's (genetically modified organisms)and toxic pesticides. We know not what we are doing, and as Nukes, the effects will last long into the future. $ profits for a few, are not worth long term illness.

The Legitimate Rapist bankers need to be jailed, and the industry needs an overhaul. Reinstate Glass-Stegall, etc.

Education.... the root and key to everything. Turn em on and set em free. Perhaps our kids can save us from ourselves.

A consumer based economy within finite natural systems is destined to crash. Conserve is healthier than consume, especially for when trading living diverse natural systems for garbage products and toxic lifeless landfills.
+36 # Helen 2012-11-07 12:30
Bravo, Barking carpet. We had better start taking care of our planet instead of spewing warfare, radiation, and toxic chemicals into our soils, air and oceans. Let's remind our leaders in all political parties that climate change and the health of our planet and communities are directly linked to their willingness to reduce our reliance on coal-fired power and other fossil fuels. When crafting policies, they should use the Genuine Progress Index rather than the GDP. See
+9 # MidwestTom 2012-11-07 10:55
As an engineer I like everything in this list except the wind mills. Why? The windmills are costing the government a fortune in lost tax revenue, and having little effect on our overall environmental problems. I drive through a field of about 300 to 400 of them weekly and about half of the time they are idle; and even when they are rinnung, power company engineers tell us that they cannot shutdown their boilers, because the wind might die anytime, and it takes at least 48 hours to bring up a boiler. Until we come up with a way to store large volumes of electricity windmills are a waste of money. Please note that the UK just stopped all future construction of windmills> See this article:
+29 # MidwestDick 2012-11-07 13:09
I too am an engineer. The first thing I thought when I read your comment was: We can fix this. Let's do it.
-11 # brux 2012-11-07 15:57
The fix for solar and windmills is large banks of cheap efficient batteries. There is AMERICAN company trying hard to do this LMBC ... now called AMBRI ...

Check it out, this is the only way solar and wind will be useful.

No one wants to admit it, but nuclear is currently the cleanest non-oil solution, even with the idiotic disasters in Japan and Chernobyl.
-17 # brux 2012-11-07 19:26
-4 ???? See the problem with Liberals, one mention of nuclear power and they go nuclear. And the real problem is that they know nothing about nuclear power of the threat of radiation except what they watch on TV and movies. That is what is really sad about Liberals.
+11 # Nominae 2012-11-08 01:38
@ brux

Yes, well, while you are bemoaning the intelligence of "liberals" you might check on the intelligence of ALL scientists who will tell you something about the half life on spent fuel rods.

The problem with nuclear energy NOW is the SAME PROBLEM that caused it to be shut down in the '70s.

Forget "idiotic [but no less deadly] accidents":


So, *stunningly* intelligent geniuses like yourself insist upon making MORE of that DEADLY WASTE that we CAN NOT SAFELY
dispose of, simply to *boil water* for a steam turbine ?!?

Damn ! You guys *ARE* bright !
+51 # Wolfchen 2012-11-07 11:00
If we are to have any meaningful and lasting solution for a corrupted electoral system, we must have public financing of elections...and this should be fortified with a constitutional amendment that prevents a corrupted Supreme Court from undermining such reform.

Medicare for All (a universal single payer health care system) should definitely be given top priority, if we are to have a dynamic, cost effective and intelligently healthy society.

We must also have progressive tax reform that enables us to rebuild our national infrastructure and industrial base. To allow tax incentives for outsourcing our means of production is idiotic to the point of economic treason.

Our middle class must be enlarged and again made healthy. Inheritance taxes must be restored, if we wish to avoid becoming an oligarchy. Living wages must also become a reality, so as to enable everyone the opportunities for obtaining an education to prepare them for competing in a world economy. Let's stop being a nation of "no can do", and return to becoming a society that encourages the greatness within us.

We can rebuild our nation and heal our democracy, if we all pull together and cease mindless adulation of those who feed off of an ignorant, racist and greedy electorate.
+28 # obx1212 2012-11-07 11:01
"Tax Break for Wind Energy"
I am so tired of "tax breaks". Direct subsidies would be so much better. What of people who pay little or no federal income tax. Mr. Romney's 47%. Tax breaks do nothing for them.
More broadly, we should get away from large scale wind-farms and other signature big projects. Too costly, limited scope geographically and grossly inefficient given significant power loss over transmission distance. The same arguments apply to solar.
The best utilization of wind and solar are small, local projects - neighborhood by neighborhood and house by house. People could opt in or out as they chose. Excess power generated in non-peak hours could be sold back to the power companies that would be obligated to purchase it. The infra-structure is already in place. No long, inefficient transmission would be required. And, best of all - job creation on a local level, not tied to major corporations. The technology already exists and large scale production would serve to reduce costs and thereby increase affordability and availability. Go green - go local.
george mendelson
kill devil hills, nc
+27 # MidwestTom 2012-11-07 11:16
If Obama wants to truly lead he needs to listen to some of the things that made 50% of the citizens vote against him. I don't think that many voted FOR Romney. If he continues do drive for only his ideas he runs the risk of fracturing the country even more. He needs to present a reasonable budget . He needs to declare that we are not planning on war with Iran, because Iran has dine nothing against us, even though the sanctions that we are driving, are really hurting them. He needs to rain in the military budget, we cannot afford to rule the world as we get poorer and poorer.
+7 # tabonsell 2012-11-07 15:11
Obama has returned reason to the budget.

When Obama took office he inhered the 2009 fiscal year budge from George W. Bush that had a $1.55 trillion deficit because of more than $400 billion less in tax collection resulting from millions of jobs destroyed and added spending for Bush's TARP bailout of the banks. Some off-budget surpluses lowered the official deficit to $1.412 trillion.

Latest estimates place the present deficit at about $1 trillion. So Obama has lowered the deficit by about $400 billion. It took Clinton four years to eliminate the $255-billion deficit inherited from Bush the Daddy, so why should we expect Obama to cure a deficit six times larger in less time?

This deficit can be cured in only two ways. 1) Get more people back to work so they will pay taxes and 2) end the freeloading of hundreds of corporations that pay no taxes or very low taxes while getting a check from the Treasury for just being corporations and have billions of income from contracts with the government they pay little or no taxes to.
+3 # swissms 2012-11-09 19:53
And another avenue for reducing the deficit is collecting from millionaires who are hiding their financial gains offshore. As an expat living in Switzerland, I've wondered for some time why the IRS was coming after the little guys instead of the big fish. I found out that the problem is that the IRS has outsourced its enforcement to private business (whose goal is of course to make a profit.) It is easier to go after individuals who can't fight back than to go after the guys who can hire the big-shot lawyers to fight for them. There are some jobs the gov't can do better than business. Collecting taxes is one of them.
+8 # EternalTruth 2012-11-07 22:21
Really? You think the people who voted against Obama thought that Romney was less likely to go to war with Iran, and more likely to "rain" (rein) in military spending? I agree that he should do these things, but the %50 of the voting populace who voted against him (for Romney), are not going to be happy about it. This post doesn't make any sense. If he wants to make that %50 happy, he needs outlaw homosexuals, enslave women, and deport any off-white people.
What he really needs to do is to invest heavily in education so that "we the people" are smart enough to stop voting for corporate stooges against our interests, and stop believing BS propaganda that we saw on a TV commercial (e.g., labeling gmo foods will hurt small farmers, and cost everyone lots of money, and they're totally safe anyway).
+2 # Nominae 2012-11-08 01:50
@ Eternal Truth

If GMOs are "totally safe" (what are you, a chemist ? - because chemists, doctors, ecologist, scientists, etc. don't agree with you) why is Big Ag terrified to have them labeled here as they are in Europe ?

The detrimental health effects of GMO crops, pesticides and herbicides are PROVEN.

That proof, like Climate Change, is DENIED only by industry-paid "tobacco scientists".

I hope that you and your loved ones need not contract cancer and the other proven problems in order to "wake up".

Kind of the way that Climate Change deniers are having a *really* bad year this year all over the globe. In fact, they're having a "tough" decade all over the globe.

Bon appetit !
0 # EternalTruth 2012-11-08 12:22
Another unfortunate victim of our broken education system. Read my comment again, and see If you can understand it this time. You are agreeing with me but don't even know it!
+2 # Nominae 2012-11-08 22:19
@ Eternal Truth

In spite of the snark and hyperbole dripping from your observation above, I hereby stand corrected on my mis-reading of your original statement.

Mea culpa
+4 # EternalTruth 2012-11-08 23:42
Sorry 'bout that. A little while after I wrote it, I realized I was being a dick, but haven't had time to rectify it 'til now. I'm just still grumpy (effing pissed off!) that prop 37 (gmo labeling) didn't pass in CA.
BTW: Despite the proven health effects of GMO foods, a CBS News article (yesterday or today) claimed that there is scientific consensus that GMO foods are as safe as conventional foods! I commented strongly on the outright BS and obvious bias of the article. But when that's the kind of news that the average person is getting, what hope is there for creating an informed electorate? I'M SO EFFING PISSED OFF!!!
FWIW: My original comment was about Obama focussing on improving education, so maybe people would become smart enough to stop voting for corporate stooges. Obviously a corporate stooge is not going jump onboard with that plan, so maybe in 2016.
I'm done ranting for now.
+5 # Nominae 2012-11-09 08:56
@ Eternal Truth

Not a problem. All said, you are fighting the good fight, and it becomes exhausting for us all up against that constant Corporate Drip.... Drip.... Drip..... of relentless and unending propaganda. It's like standing in front of a kettle of boiling water trying to push all of the bubbles down.

You are certainly on the right track by looking for ways to better educate.

I find
to be a very valuable source of clean science, action alerts, etc. They also feature links to other affiliated organizations fighting on related fronts.

Hang in there, and best of luck to you !
-1 # MidwestTom 2012-11-07 12:03
What we may be witnessing is the end of the idea that we are a homogenous melting pot of different peoples. We are starting to sound like Yugoslavia. A controller of a 150 employee company in Chicago called this morning saying that management is really depressed this morning, and now seriously considering moving their entire operation to thier small facility across the Mexican border. This c company is located in what was once a European immigrant neighborhood, that has now turned black and which has forced them to invest heavily in security systems Obama needs throw some bones to small business, or he will be looking at a far worse recession soon.
+14 # brux 2012-11-07 12:45
The biggest "bone" Obama could throw is the one he will not because it is signature accomplishment - Obamacare.

What would help small business the most would be to take the burden off them to provide health care, or the blame for not providing health care, by extending Medicare for all, with supplemental insurance for those who can afford it and can pay for it.

The Republicans like to talk about small business, but the biggest pressure small business feels is over health care, not to mention the whole rest of the country.
+1 # RLF 2012-11-08 06:59
I think it should be made illegal for employers to provide health insurance and then people would pay attention. It is the self employed who are taking the bullet so the wage slaves can have their pills and back operations.
Also...I wouldn't hold my breath with Holder...he is too busy ignoring torturers and banksters committing international fraud to do anything but prosecute leakers and tweakers.
+14 # Quonomo 2012-11-07 15:02
Blaming black people shows just how deeply we have no clue as to what income inequality does to the world. It ain't about bones.

Productivity has never been higher in this country yet wages have at best stayed the same. Where did all the money go? Look up. Oppress people with slave jobs and you get the crime that comes with it.

My bet is they are moving because they can save a ton of bucks on labor. Another third world nation to exploit on the road of turning this Country into one. Blacks are nothing more than a sick excuse.

Get a clue, they control all the property on the Monopoly Board and have pilfered all the get out of jail free cards. They are now exploiting inmates as business ventures. Book a flight and ask where the person helping you is located. News flash: they are incarcerated making 25 cents an hour. Great business plan wouldn't you say.

It is all about them. Keep this mind set up and you will be dining from the bones that fall from their gilded tables. Stop supporting the corporate overlords. Their money is their greatest power and weakness. Exploit their weakness for once.
+3 # RLF 2012-11-08 07:01
Let him go...nothing is ever cheap enough for the east business with your hand on your wallet. This 'businessman is only depressed that he is not the only one allowed to steal.
+8 # Vern Radul 2012-11-07 12:03
Well, it looks like some peoples wishes will come true.

Jonathan Chait, Jun. 11, 2012:
[Jeb] Bush is clearly engaged in an effort to position himself as the next leader of the Republican Party.
To understand what Bush is saying, you need to anticipate how the party might diagnose the causes of a loss in 2012, and then you can see how he is setting himself as the cure.
In customary party fashion, he lashed President Obama for failing to fully endorse the Simpson-Bowles deficit-reducti on plan...

Barack Obama, Oct. 24, 2012
Barack Obama laid out an astoundingly ambitious second-term agenda in an interview published Wednesday, vowing to forge a "grand bargain" with Republicans to reduce the national debt and achieve comprehensive immigration reform—all in 2013.
"I am absolutely confident that we can get what is the equivalent of the grand bargain that essentially I've been offering to the Republicans for a very long time...

"We can easily meet—'easily' is the wrong word—we can credibly meet the target that the Bowles-Simpson Commission established of $4 trillion in deficit reduction, and even more in the out-years...
+20 # brux 2012-11-07 12:43
Grand bargain is code meaning cutting social security and medicare with maybe a small tax increase.

We cannot let Obama get away with this if he tries it. This is a "duopoly" shell game, and we cannot let Barack Obama carry the Republican torch anymore!
+14 # Wolfchen 2012-11-07 15:27
Right on the mark, Brux!!!!!!!!!!!
Obama must not be allowed to walk weak-spined before the Republicans. Even though I supported him in the elections, it was really for not having a viable choice. Frankly, he's too much of a WallStreet lacky, as evidenced by his cabinet appointments.

We must all keep the heat on him and others...while working for a viable progressive with more backbone as a candidate for 2016...and likewise for the House elections in 2014.
+1 # dbriz 2012-11-07 19:26
Quoting Wolfchen:
Right on the mark, Brux!!!!!!!!!!!
Obama must not be allowed to walk weak-spined before the Republicans. Even though I supported him in the elections, it was really for not having a viable choice. Frankly, he's too much of a WallStreet lacky, as evidenced by his cabinet appointments.

We must all keep the heat on him and others...while working for a viable progressive with more backbone as a candidate for 2016...and likewise for the House elections in 2014.

A question in all sincerity.

Just what kind of "heat" do you think can be put on Obama?

What if he agrees to SS and/or Medicare cuts? What can anyone do about it? You don't think Harry Reid is going to take up your cause do you?

Obama's already assured four years, he can blame any "spine" problems on the need to "work together" in a bipartisan fashion and there is nothing in his performance to date to suggest he would be willing to go to the mat for "progressive" issues.

So, under the assumption that if it walks like a duck and quacks like duck, Obama is likely to remain what he has been, a conventional centrist in the Bill Clinton mode.

So, I again, what "heat" are you talking about?
+2 # brux 2012-11-08 00:46
That's a good point.
Do you have any ideas?
I'd say demonstrations, emails, riots.
But I don't think Obama would have gotten re-elected without a certain amount of heat from people talking and expressing their feelings. It does do something.
+1 # Vern Radul 2012-11-08 02:53
For the past year I've hearing people say things like "we need to re-elect obama because romney is scary" in effect saying that they were terrified to do the same thing obama's being doing for four years.

Then they'd say things like "after he's re-elected we'll 'hold his feet to the fire' and 'lean on him really hard' and 'push him to be more progressive'.

I guess what they meant is that they'd threaten to not vote for him unless he straightens up and flies right. I mean "right".
+4 # brux 2012-11-07 19:29
Yeah Wolfchen, I think we will very soon see, even before he takes the oath for his second term this grand bargaining away of social security and medicare, and there is nothing to restrain him.

It's not the Democrats and Republicans that are really enemies, it is the hired politicians and the people who are natural enemies.
0 # swissms 2012-11-09 20:05
So given that Hillary is likely to be the democratic candidate in 2016, what is your assessment?
0 # cassandrapt 2012-11-11 02:21
That's right!!
+7 # Sunflower 2012-11-07 12:24
Dear Folks,

I attempted to add comments several times
but they haven't appeared.

What's up?

-- Amy
+36 # sanantone 2012-11-07 12:28
And FREE BRADLEY MANNING or at least give the man a trial!
+5 # brux 2012-11-07 12:41
I did not hear any of this, or a hint of any of this in Obama's acceptance speech, - - - what I did hear, I think?, was a signal of continuation of his status quo, with perhaps louder speeches.

At the end of the next 4 years I expect we will all have the same frustrations with Barack Obama.

I hope I am pleasantly surprised, and the biggest best one for the American people and small businesses that Republicans seem to be so concerned about would be HEALTH CARE. The simplest politically and intellectually for Americans to understand would be to extend medicare down and allow supplemental insurance companies to compete in a boutique-like pick and choose model.
+15 # 2012-11-07 12:57
All these points in the article are well taken and should be read by everyone. The one point I would add to it, is the breakup of the giant news organizations. Since their money comes primarily from advertising for the super large organizations, they simply cannot afford to criticize their source of income, even if they wanted to. In the thirties we had something like 300 independent newspapers in New York City. Every conceivable party, idea, ideology was represented and they all prospered.
It was democracy. We all were exposed to good, crazy and fanatical opinions and were forced to at least understand their view. We were able to, and had to make up our own mind. They were bought out and destroyed not because they lost their readership. The GOP always argues for small government and local initiatives which would be to my liking if every one would be an angel. The destruction of democracy has been going on for many years to a point today, were only a handful of people and/or corporations rule our country. They have succeeded in dumbing down the public to their advantage and believes.
These are the same people who want to privatize everything from the prisons to healthcare from the military to the air we breeze. We need government but we need to streamline it as well.
+1 # swissms 2012-11-09 20:08
See my point above regarding IRS privatization!
+14 # MidwestDick 2012-11-07 13:13
11. Increase Social Security benefits, don't reduce them.
12. Increase Social Security benefits, don't reduce them.
13. Increase Social Security benefits, don't reduce them.
+5 # Tje_Chiwara 2012-11-07 13:25
Obama's victory speech was a lesson in the art and design and hope of his struggle to govern by consensus, and to move this country in a positive direction.

Some believe that "progressives" can simply destroy the conservatives with their superior righteous attitudes, and the country will naturally follow. I am afraid that is as wishful thinking as all those non-progressive s hoping to eliminate government from their idea of freedom.

Obama is wiser than that. And asks us to help him with those changes that can be made to our body politic. These 10 on the wish list, and others that people are willing to advocate and make happen.
+13 # Vivadublin 2012-11-07 13:30
How about an international ban on lethal and surveillance drones!! These killing machines that are the judge, jury and executioner, putting not just innocent residents of foreign countries at risk but everyone in the USA. We will live in a lockdown prison in 2015 when our skies will be filled 24/7 with drone surveillance, as signed into law by Pres. Obama in the 2012 Reform Act. How about student debt and the betrayal of these bright young people who have followed the rules and received 3rd level education to find a life of penury with no meaningful jobs. What about our hungry children? Unconscionable to allow little ones to go to bed with empty stomachs in the most powerful nation in the world. How about holding our allies, China, Saudi Arabia and the oil-rich countries accountable for human rights abuses. We can do better and I hope Pres. Obama will rise to the occasion and take action instead of being our Commander in Speech.
0 # tonywicher 2012-11-09 11:01
I hope so too. Ah yes, it's the hope that springs eternal in the sucker's breast. Obama works it very well. We have to get beyond hope, and Obama has said that only organized popular pressure on a massive scale in the form of stikes and demonstrations can give him the impetus do do something more than continue to allow Wall Street and the CIA to run the country. It will take massive popular pressure, a general strike with concrete demands. This is what we the people must aim for. There must We must begin by fighting "austerity". "No Cuts! No 'Grand Bargain' with reactionary Republicans!" must be our war cry. Wall Street must pay! Join the United Front Against Austerity (UFAA). Please visit againstausterit
+8 # bbellbrown 2012-11-07 13:33

add: institute departments of art and peace.

thank you, in advance, Mr. President.
+15 # Working Class 2012-11-07 13:40
In response to Item #2 we need this:

Move to Amend's Proposed 28th Amendment to the Constitution

Section 1 [A corporation is not a person and can be regulated]
The rights protected by the Constitution of the United States are the rights of natural persons only.
Artificial entities, such as corporations, limited liability companies, and other entities, established by the laws of any State, the United States, or any foreign state shall have no rights under this Constitution and are subject to regulation by the People, through Federal, State, or local law.
The privileges of artificial entities shall be determined by the People, through Federal, State, or local law, and shall not be construed to be inherent or inalienable.

Section 2 [Money is not speech and can be regulated]
Federal, State and local government shall regulate, limit, or prohibit contributions and expenditures, including a candidate’s own contributions and expenditures, for the purpose of influencing in any way the election of any candidate for public office or any ballot measure.
Federal, State and local government shall require that any permissible contributions and expenditures be publicly disclosed.
The judiciary shall not construe the spending of money to influence elections to be speech under the First Amendment.

Section 3
Nothing contained in this amendment shall be construed to abridge the freedom of the press.
+7 # MainStreetMentor 2012-11-07 14:16
That's a Top Ten List I'll endorse, that's for sure!
+6 # baghira 2012-11-07 14:23
thank you for these words - some in europe are not aware that obama is no "progressive". due to media propaganda (yes, in europe) they don't connect the person obama with the presidency and the fact that he is responsible for US politics. they never would make such a difference beetween an european politician and his or her duties and responsibilitie s. this kind of propaganda weakens europe as we don't trust our politicians to handle problems and at last we don't trust ourselves that we can handle our affairs. what you said about CIA is quite true - also in other countries. they exercise pressure on those who don't "cooperate" - who see their country as a sovereign state (which every country is by constitution). this could happen politicians, entrepreneurs and journalist when US interests in the field of foreign policy, security, economy and geopolitics is affected.
+9 # Artemis 2012-11-07 14:35
And the list for external changes:
- immediately stop drone strikes, which are not only murderous and illegal, but create extremists and hatred for America in each and every foreign country.
- choose a better Secretary of State with more modesty and less tyrants as friends.
- create a balance of experts on Arab affairs in government, which might mean letting go some of the many pro-Zionists.
- create a new US policy for Israel that is in accord with practically every other country on earth. This means support in times of real need, but no arms, and no financial aid until the settlements are dismantled and Palestine is freed from occupation.
- ease up on Wikileaks, Assange and Bradley Manning. Recognize the essential need for truth-telling and that damage has only been loss of face. See the advantage this has given you!
- withdraw troops from Afghanistan and Iraq immediately. Only invest well-conceived aid for damages done during US wars to rebuild the infrastructure of both countries, according to the cultural and social needs and wishes of the people.
- quit aiding fascist or anti-democratic parties in foreign countries. Stop promoting US interests above real interests of foreign peoples.
- prevent US corporations from exploiting the economic potential of other countries and using their citizens as slave labor.
- recognize that other countries are suffering from global warming due in part to the excessive and wasteful needs of US citizens.
+9 # Kate41 2012-11-07 15:21
Free Leonard Peltier. Should have been done 4 years ago.
+2 # EternalTruth 2012-11-07 22:32
Agreed. Also Mumia Abu Jamal.
+10 # tabonsell 2012-11-07 15:23
The Prof is right.

When this nation faced serious problems in the past it has always turned leftward.

As life became unacceptable under British rule, the colonists followed those Massachusetts liberals to gain independence.

When the libertarian Articles of Confederation failed, the new nation turned to Northern Virginia progressives for a Constitution and then a Bill of Rights.

When the far-right slave states attempted to destroy the nation to preserve slavery forever, the nation turned to an Illinois liberal (GOP at that) to keep the nation whole and eventually end slavery.

When repeated tax cuts for the aristocracy and corporation running free throughout the 1920s led to the Great Depression the nation turned to a left-leaning aristocratic New Yorker to save capitalism, preserve democracy and prevent a Marxist revolution.

When the nation got serious about the rights of all Americans the nation listened to a Southern rabble-rousing Baptist preacher and a "corrupt" Texas liberal Democrat president to secure the rights the Constitution promised to protect for more than a century.

The political right has never proposed or adopted a program that benefited the nation. Its actions have done the opposite.
-2 # TedFred 2012-11-07 16:54
The budget deficit is conspicuously absent from this article. We (our leaders) ignore it at our peril. I was disappointed that Obama couldn't reduce the deficit in term one. I hold the House Republicans mostly responsible for it, but it should still be the single most important & urgent item on Obama's second term agenda. He's simply going to have to make a deal with the other side, as distasteful as that prospect may be. The alternative is economic disaster - good for nobody.
+6 # tabonsell 2012-11-07 20:40
Obama did reduce the deficit in term one.

As said above, Obama inherited a budget deficit of $1.55 trillion from George Bush. The latest estimate are for a deficit about $1 trillion.

That means the deficit was reduced by about $400 billion and could have been more if not for GOP resistance.
+12 # reiverpacific 2012-11-07 18:00
And while he's at it, tax churches, pastors and ANY religious group that butts into socio-economic- political discourse (and members of the SCOTUS who are affiliated with religious groups like Opus Dei).
Close unnecessary military bases like Okinawa where the US presence is resented by the locals.
Enact legislation where Secretaries of State who are affiliated with any candidate or active in any political parties are in charge of calling the votes -from any side.
Get serious about Universal Healthcare and drag the country into the 21st Century.
Ditto progressive PUBLIC transport and infrastructure, especially high-speed and light rail, before Military and Correctional spending. P
Purchase, renovate and re-sell or rent-to-own large tracts of foreclosed housing sitting rotting and waiting for slumlords to further run-down neighborhoods; all this would put millions of professionals, skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled people to work for a long time. And make a requirement that LEED (Greening, sustainable) design and construction be part of the overall concept, as Germany and Scotland are doing already with marked success.
Prioritize veteran's healing, care and reintegration into society rather than arming more young people.
Forget the "War on Drugs" and rescind the idiotic sentences of all who are in jail on small, drug related charges.
There's more but 'nuff from me for now.
+3 # tabonsell 2012-11-08 13:26
No church should be tax-exempt just for being a church. A better method is to offer tax exemptions for any non-profit outfit that shows its mission assists in promoting the "general welfare" of the nation. And keep politics out of who or what qualifies.That also results in smaller government the right wants buts does everything to increase government size.

Our foreign bases aren't "unnecessary." They are needed for intelligence gathering such as in Okinawa keeping an eye on China. As we become more sophistication in other methods of intelligence gathering, we can close those bases. In the meantime they should only be reduced, keeping intelligence gathering in place.

We are only started on universal health care which is why it was so important to turn back the right in the last election.

State and local governments should handle the problem of unoccupied foreclosed houses by making it illegal to allow a foreclosed house to be unoccupied. If they required banks to "hire" someone to take care of a foreclosed home by occupying it, banks would be less likely to foreclose in the first place. They would renegotiate the mortgages.

And Colorado, where I used to live, and Washington up here in God's Really Excellent And Tolerant (GREAT) Northwest, where I presently live, have started the ball rolling on getting rid of the idiotic "War on drugs."
+2 # reiverpacific 2012-11-08 20:11
@ "tabonsell".
In short form.
1. Churches are meant to be supported by their parishioners and vice versa, hence their charitable status. -And "Fuck the right"! They've SWOLLEN government (for their own purposes) every time they've had a chance starting with Reagan.
2 Ask the residents of Okinawa (and many native Hawaiians) and anywhere else the US military plants it destructive, polluting oversized foot, whether the bases are "Necessary". Don't they have any say in their own lands? Plenty satellites and other technology for intelligence gathering in all it's paranoid glory!
3. Doesn't mean that you shouldn't push hard; there is so much resistance here that you still have an uphill fight.
4. State and local governments are too bloody broke already to do this without a large injection of Federal funds; I've been working on bid-package and conceptual structures for this for a while (I'm an Architect) and have actually proposed that local or regional banks handle the financing but the $ has to come from a deeper pocket.
5. I live in Oregon, which has developed some availability of medical marijuana but I congratulate Washington on actually making it legal; it's coming to us too; but it needs to be national and perhaps even a part of a (far into the future) universal healthcare program, like dental, vision, abortion and alternative medicine.
I dunno if you were agreeing with me or not but that's my come back. It's all related.
+1 # tabonsell 2012-11-09 13:34
Semi agreeing with you. Just adding my perspective on issues I have experience with.

If churches or other nonprofits aided in promoting the "general welfare" of the nation to get tax benefits government could be scaled back and that would disarm the right on its constant whining about "Big Government." When tax rates were high on the wealthy there were many deductions and credits if they put their money into important matters. Reagan reversed that resulting in the growth of government to do what the private sector used to do.

I'm all for reducing our military abroad, not for eliminating it. I spent several years at the National Security Agency (when we were still good guys) and know the importance of intelligence gathering and how improved technology can't fill all needs.

In my book "Saving America:Using Democratic Capitalism to Rescue the Nation from Economic Folly" I propose a healthcare system better than what we have started with "Obamacare."

The proposal on foreclosed homes doesn't need additional funds. In fact, fining banks for not occupying foreclosed houses would raise much needed funds for local governments.

As a former Lava Bear linebacker I am disappointed that Oregon didn't go along with the marijuana victories of Colorado and Washington. Should have been enough votes in Eugene alone to get that passed.
+5 # tonywicher 2012-11-09 01:10
The deficit is not real. Austerity is fascism. The money is there to fully fund Social Security, Medicare for all, rebuild our infrastructure and create tens of millions of high-wage jobs. But Obama would have to take on Wall Street to get it. His record does not indicate that he will do this. The best we can reasonably hope for is that he will defend what is left of the New Deal social contract. He may not even do that. With Wall Street and the CIA continuing in control, the economy will continue to limp along, with the threat of a crash always looming, and imperial wars always going on.
+3 # Janice 2012-11-09 18:02
We sorely need a single payer system. Insurance companies are making millions in profit and not spending the money on patient care. If there is a government option it will reduce premiums and create competition and keep the insurance companies honest (if that is possible). It is all bull crap that Canada and the UK does not like their insurance. I personally many people from Canada and have many friends in the UK they would not change their situation for anything. There are minor complaints but overall they would not change things and would not want our nightmare over insurance for anything. Why should insurance CEO's make millions and billions of dollars while we struggle with raising premiums. Medicine and health care should NOT be for profit. Single payer is the answer.
+3 # Janice 2012-11-09 18:04
SINGLE PAYER SYSTEM IS NEEDED. I worked for a hospital that went bankrupt because insurance companies found millions of excuses not to pay for patient care. We filed insurance forms on the wrong forms(which Humana sent us) and when they did not pay us we appealed and they said we sent the wrong forms and statute of limitations had applied and we could not collect. They were horrible. WE need a single payer system to keep the insurance companies honest and give us an alternative when insurance companies treat us badly. SINGLE PAYER is vital and will reduce premiums for all.
0 # cassandrapt 2012-11-11 02:19
Number 1 - the defining problem of the 21st century = GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE caused by human activity. Deny or ignore this and the rest are meaningless.

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