The Religious Right and the Progressive Left: Same Boat, Different Day

originally posted on 2008-07-13 10:31:58. Bumped, interesting questions. Phillips suggests that the Religious Right will be sitting this election out. Weiler asks an interesting question: Are the staunch progressives considering the same? -- cho

Ronald Reagan rode the Religious right to power, as did George Bush Sr. and Jr. From the Clinton era to two years ago, Congress was controlled by Republicans who rode into power on the same horse. The religious right faithfully voted for their party because . . .they had no place else to turn.

If we view all those years from their perspective, they got very little bang for their buck. There was a lot of talk about the resurgence of social conservatism, but most of the change was on the very fringes of what they wanted. Congress and the President threw them a bone now and then by holding back stem cell research and mildly tougher abortion laws, but it was not even close to what they expected.

The religious right was not happy with the Republicans, but they weren't about to suddenly turn and vote Democratic. They were stuck and the Republican party knew it. The party faithful were not rewarded, quite the opposite, they were taken for granted.

I bring this all up because we are the progressive left. We are the party faithful who would never vote Republican, and just like the religious right, we're stuck and the party knows this. We can expect that Obama and Congress will talk up a storm about all the social change we can expect, but in the end, will produce only a little bit and even then only on the fringes. They will do just enough to prevent a full scale revolt, but nothing more.

We've already seen this in the Democratic Congress. They have done nothing to seriously challenge the status quo because they don't have to. They have taken our votes for granted and quite frankly, what's to stop them? Are we going to suddenly switch parties and vote for McCain? Not likely. Because of that, we have very little real leverage with the party. In a word, they can ignore us without repercussions.

We can expect the same treatment from our party, as the religious right received from theirs. As I've said before, real change will have to come from somewhere else.

Sad, but true.

No votes yet


I've mentioned this before here at community, but I'm really struggling with whether or not I'll vote in November. It's reached the point where my vote is simply passive aggressive support for absolutely nothing changing. I know I'll end up dragging myself to the polls, fuming the entire time.

According to recent news reports, Iraq wants the US out and a time line to hold it to. Is any one in Washington paying attention or are they too busy preening for cameras to notice?

Maybe I should change my screen name to cynical susie.

focusing here on Brine Pickles.

. . fuming the entire time . .

Try to imagine each candidate's cabinet, agency, and judicial appointments. That's what will drive my choice, now narrowed to the tall Hawaiian guy from Illinois.

that I am not advocating abstaining from voting. If for no other reason than the one rba just made.

I just see a lot of people with very high expectations, as if Obama is wearing a cape and flying around. He seems to have his heart in the right place, but that doesn't mean he's going to change everything.

You're column doesn't advocate abstaining from voting in November. That's very clear.

I was just voicing my frustration with our current political process. I'm still very angry with Obama and Clinton for shutting out the other Democratic primary candidates before the race had even begun. They encouraged a two horse race. Voters never had a chance to decide for themselves. That both Clinton and Obama so willingly participated in that told me a lot more about them then they really wanted me to know.

In many ways, the 2004 primary was much more "fun" because I actually got to listen to ideas from all of the different candidates.

Like I said, I'm very cynical these days.

as well as the Brittany Spears latest escapade reading public.

It sold papers. The sports-like battle was great for catching eyeballs, and so the media became great amplifiers.

It was easier to write about with just two candidates duking it out.

I really think more than anything else, Edwards was written out of the race early because of little media coverage... and he was doing great media worthy things...

And I also think the shrill noise from many in the "blogosphere" contributed to drowning out real reporting.

My personal opinion is Clinton and Obama together should have fought for exposure for the entire field of Democratic candidates. They didn't. Whether they like it or not, that choice said a lot to me about who they are.

and that played right into that "if it bleeds, it leads" mentality of news folks...

When the debates included all of the candidates, at the beginning, it certainly seemed to me to be to Hillary's advantage. She was the presumptive nominee and the guys seemed really diminished. Under those circumstances it might well have been to her advantage to press for a more open debate format. But really I really hated the whole staged debate scenario which drove them down to the level of reality TV with the pundits gathering afterwards to disect each candidates PERFORMANCE.


I just have been hearing and reading a lot from folks who seem to have caught a really bad case of the buyer's remorse flu. I agree with Susie a lot on this, because I could sense during the primary many people, fed up with the status quo, projected onto OB their own progressive beliefs, and had not done enough research to investigate his positions, his political (I don't mean his autobiographical) background, or his potential choices for cabinet, administration, etc.

rba is absolutely on target.

I think your commentary was a good chance to examine that frustration, cynicism, and almost despair that is spreading through a segment of the progressive community.

I have been to a number of local Obama house meetings lately and a very disparate group of people attend. Some retired military or working for defense contractors, others genuinely independant, some dems some libertarians. What they share is a deep concern about the present situation in the country but they have many doubts and questions about the candidate. I find the political diversity interesting.

How was he ever going to be elected as THE PROGRESSIVE candidate in this screwed up country. He needs to coalesce people who are desparate to get rid of the Bush albatross. I didn't start out "drinking the Kool Aid" as Standing Up so nicely put it. I was quite disappointed that Edwards dropped out. I think his winning the nomination simply would not have been tolerated. He didn't get the coverage that could have convinced people that his candidacy was serious and he didn't have the funding.

Let's not kid ourselves. Without big bucks it is impossible to do anything political in the present swampland. Should we hold Obama accountable for this. He was the underdog.

I never thought that the media gave the Clintons the bad end of the stick and propped up Obama. To me that was and is a complete myth. I think he was simply a foil for their coverage. They were trying to script the election to sell their stuff. I think that Bill Clinton was the albatross who sank Hillary, and as a non-fan of his it doesn't so much surprise me. I kind of found his "private life" in the oval office to be indicative of his moral character. Sorry about that. I was so glad not to have a young daughter to whom I would have to explain just what was going on when he "didn't have sex with that woman."

Was it fair that he was a loose cannon and destroyed her candidacy. Not at all. But surely it was not Obama's fault to run with his opportunity.

Signficant to me is Ted Kennedy's backing. Reading closely it may have been Caroline Kennedy who said "Uncle Ted you should endorse him now," but Obama said that he had asked Kennedy's advice before running and Kennedy urged him to go for the nomination saying it was the opportunity of a lifetime.

Progressives are disappointed that Obama isn't their dream candidate but then again many Obama supporters are not card-carrying progressives. Seems to me we are in with a chance that he will be a hell of a lot better than anyone imagined once in office. Conversely he can be much worse, but I cannot imagine him coming anywhere the record of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld et al. I find much to be hopeful of as I follow his speeches.

By the time the election comes I think the economic crisis will be devestating and how the country will dig out from under is not an easy to call in my opinion.I know who the bad guys are but I am not so sure how things can be put back together. FDR had to feel his way carefully and made a lot of missteps but he left a damned fine legacy.

No I am not saying that Obama is another FDR or JFK. But maybe it will be OK if he is an Obama.


rba had me about convinced that I should go ahead and vote, as Susie said, "fuming all the way"... but now I am back to being sick of the whole thing!

In Sunday's New York Times, Obama wrote an Op-Ed, My Plan for Iraq in which he strongly supports al-Maliki's call for U.S. troops to be withdrawn from Iraq.

The call by Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki for a timetable for the removal of American troops from Iraq presents an enormous opportunity. We should seize this moment to begin the phased redeployment of combat troops that I have long advocated, and that is needed for long-term success in Iraq and the security interests of the United States.

He is speaking this morning on his Iraq policy and will be appearing tonight on PBS' Newshour and then CNN's Larry King Show. If he follows through on his Op Ed I think this should go some way to allaying the fears of Progressives that his campaign is just another con.


It just didn't allay the concerns of the people of whom I speak.

I think that two Obama speeches, one yesterday before the NAACP and the other today on foreign policy, should trump some of the fear that there is no essential difference between the policies he is putting forward and the last eight years under Bush, or the possible four more years with McCain.

This is a video link speech to the NAACP speech.