The congressional elections of 2006 brought notional Democratic Party control of Congress. Election Day 2008 brought the Democrats the White House, firm control of the House of Representatives, and a strong but not filibuster proof majority in the United States Senate. The last two years have seen a protracted war of attrition featuring Republican party filibusters, stalling tactics in Congress, and an assault on reason featuring angry Tea Party rallies, talk of death panels, government tyranny, and calls for 2nd Amendment remedies. Our founding fathers would be ashamed. And yet, the energy and enthusiasm that brought President Obama into power in November 2008 has seemed strangely and frustratingly missing-in-action.
For sure, the conditions on the ground across the American economy have sewn seeds of dissension among working class Americans. Adding to that, progressives watched as President Obama was forced to compromise on issues like a “public option” in health care reform that left many disillusioned. To add insult to injury, some of those compromises were forced upon the President by members of his own party. The opposition has been neither loyal nor complacent. The question at hand is whether progressives and others who made up the strong Democratic majorities in 2008 will get re-energized before November — in time to head off the loss of the Congress by Democrats — or some time later in response to the return of mindless Republican governance that offers few solutions to the problems that confront our nation, while pandering to fear and the worst instincts of the American people.
The time is now to close ranks, put the petty policy bickering aside, and realize that President Obama has succeeded in putting in place the foundation for a progressive agenda that represents the last best chance for our nation. We need to keep up the momentum toward taking back our country, not from the government we elect in each election cycle, but from the corporate and special interests with agendas that do not coincide at all with the interests of the American people.