Susie flags a HuffPo blog by Clarence B. Jones, MLK’s counsel and advisor.
When a close friend of (and former advisor to) Martin Luther King Jr. is calling for a primary challenge to Obama, something very big is happening.
First off, being held in close confidence to Martin Luther King, Jr. and a figure in the Civil Rights movement makes you relevant on subjects of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Civil Rights movement in a historical context.
I think the “I was near MLK/JFK, so I am free to make claims based on that experience” opinion clearing house for the left is just as bad as the corporatist “I was a successful CEO/Reagan confidante so I know how to lead anything” opinion clearing house that resonates in right wing echo chambers. Jones reminisces with the recounting of a protest song and then lays blame at Obama’s feet for not satisfying the progressive base. He says Obama voters have been abandoned.
The pursuit of the war in Afghanistan in support of a certifiably corrupt Afghan government and the apparent willingness to retreat from his campaign commitment of no further tax cuts for the rich, his equivocal and foot dragging leadership to end DADT, his TARP for Wall Street, but, equivocal insufficient attention to the unemployment and housing foreclosures of Main Street, suggest that the template of the 1968 challenge to the reelection of President Lyndon Johnson now must be thoughtfully considered for Obama in 2012.
The result of the 1968 challenge to Johnson? Nixon.
The result of the 1980 challenge to Carter? Reagan.
Now it’s also odd Jones says that Obama needs to be challenged like Johnson. President Johnson got a lot of things done. He is known as the fighter and arm twister that many say Obama should be. Never the less, Jones agrees with the fact that like Johnson was, Obama needs to be challenged to leave Democrats and our nation better off. Basically, if he wants Obama challenged by Johnson he wants him out. Does Jones want a 2012 Nixon?
It’s funny Jones never mentions blue dog Senate Democrats, aka centrists, who vote with every deficit multiplying, pro business bill you can imagine while dragging their heels on the social platform issues of the Democratic Party they selectively campaign upon. Jones sees more value in mounting a primary challenge against a sitting Democratic president dealing with nuclear Iran, a belligerent North Korea, two wars and a recession with 9.8% employment than finding ways to pressure Senate Democrats to actually implement the party platform. Jones also neglects to mention filibuster reform which is the real issue that would allow majorities to exercise the power they were intended to in the “most exclusive club”.
Jones is upset, but he sees the risk of a one term Obama as a risk he is willing to take. I don’t. Sure, if you are a Democrat or a liberal or progressive, you should have disappointments with the President. But they should extend to the Senate Democrats as well who back loaded legislation already passed out of the house into the Lame Duck session. Take the Bush tax cuts issue. The same ire should be reserved for Democrats Webb, Manchin and Nelson who for various reasons felt that Bush tax cuts should be extended for all. Obama has to compromise from that point because that’s the votes he has.
I remember how disappointed I was when Kerry lost in 2004. I haven’t been that disappointed during this administration. Obama is not the same as Bush. McCain wouldn’t have done the same things Obama did (would we be at full scale war with North Korea now? Remember McCain wanted to resort to arms over the Georgia conflict). Hillary Clinton was just as, if not more, moderate. I’m not voting for some 2012 Kucinich just to make a point.