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Notables on left don '2L4O' T-shirts to express dissatisfaction with President Obama (press release)

vastleft's picture


Obama's left/liberal critics make a fashion statement of their disapproval of his policies

WASHINGTON, DC, March 1, 2011 — In one sign that Barack Obama has alienated the left, more than a dozen blogs now promote union-made "2L4O: Too Liberal for Obama" and "2L4O: Too Left for Obama" T-shirts.

Blogs publicizing 2L4O shirts—which were originated by Boston-based blogger "Vastleft"—include Correntewire, Black Agenda Report, and Avedon Carol’s The Sideshow.

The shirts are worn by such notables as peace activist Cindy Sheehan, black-issues activist/editor Bruce A. Dixon, single payer health care advocate Dr. Margaret Flowers, and historian Paul Street.

Today, is proud to share statements from each of them about the timeliness and relevance of the 2L4O message.

Peace activist Cindy Sheehan explains why she's "2L4O":

Barack Obama ran under the banner of "change," and there has been a change since George W. Bush moved out of the White House and Obama moved in— there is far less outrage from so-called liberals about the policies of militarism and corporate exploitation.

Today, the war in Afghanistan burns ever hotter, as we send more of our young people to kill and die for no legitimate reason. We kill still more via drones—unmanned planes that murder civilians by the dozens. Since Obama's election, the part of America that cares about such things has grown even smaller.

If a Nobel Peace Prize winner waging constant war on countless fronts is not Orwellian enough, he also reclassified America's occupying troops in Iraq as "advisors."

Under Obama, we see the same institutionalized lack of accountability as under Bush, but now with increased abuse of peace activists and whistleblowers.

About all this, the silence is more deafening than ever. Sadly, many who once claimed commitment to peace and justice are content, so long as their preferred party is in charge.

Both major parties label anyone who challenges the bipartisan consensus as fringe extremists. To be humane is now to be an "extremist." To be "2L4O" (Too Left/Liberal for Obama) is unthinkable to both parties. Maybe it's time to rethink.

Black-issues activist/editor Bruce A. Dixon, whose website promotes the shirts, explains why he's "2L4O":

Black Agenda Report, where I am Managing Editor, was among the first political-commentary outlets to observe something that many Americans are now belatedly and reluctantly concluding: that Barack Obama is an attractive repackaging of the status quo.

Obama puts a reassuring "post-racial" face on policies designed to further marginalize the marginalized.

From healthcare "reform" that's a thinly veiled bailout for the insurance industry to surges in Afghanistan, expansion of the prison state, and boundless infringement of civil liberties, Obama reliably does the bidding of the powerful at the expense of the rest of us.

For the black community, the celebrated symbolism of Obama's presidency is a Pyrrhic victory. We shouldn't allow commemorative plates to distract us from the growing number of empty plates.

Progress in America has been hard-won, and it's been won from the left, the side that the Obama administration flagrantly dismisses. If you're not "2L4O" (Too Left/Liberal for Obama), are you on the left at all?

Single payer health care activist Dr. Margaret Flowers explains why she's "2L4O":

When President Obama was elected, I expected an open and honest debate about what the real problems are with health care in this nation and the most effective ways to solve those problems. The United States has been in an increasing health care crisis for decades with a growing number of people who have no health insurance or who pay high premiums for health insurance that doesn’t cover them when they need it. Even with health insurance, people are going bankrupt because of illness and are suffering and dying from preventable causes.

I expected that a single payer approach, modeled on our own Medicare which has improved the health of seniors and has lifted them out of poverty for 45 years, would be part of the discussion. President Obama supported a single payer health program when he was a state senator.

Instead, the health reform process was closed and scripted so that the final legislation benefits the corporations that profit from the health industry more than it helps the people who need care. The health bill passed by a Democrat majority is based on policy developed by Republicans. President Obama missed an important opportunity to address a very real and serious problem in this nation.

This is a pattern that we see when it comes to all of the issues that have a real impact on the lives of the people in America—education, jobs, peace, the environment, food and the economy. Instead of focusing on real solutions that benefit the people, President Obama further enriches large corporations.

I consider myself a commonsense person who wants to see solutions that are based on the evidence of what works. Single payer has been proven to work at home as Medicare and in other industrialized nations. Single payer covers everybody and saves money.

As a doctor, I believe it would be irresponsible to prescribe treatments for my patients that have been proven not to work.

The President’s health bill doubles down on for-profit health insurance, a system proven to limit coverage and foster runaway costs.

I support a cure that's both proven and affordable: single payer/Medicare for all.

I guess that being a pragmatist when it comes to public policy makes me "2L4O" (Too Left/Liberal for Obama).

Historian Paul Street explains why he's "2L4O":

How could any real lefty or liberal not be 2L4O (Too Left/Liberal for Obama)?

Having watched Obama coming up in Chicago and at the Iowa Caucuses, it's been clear from the outset that he's deeply conservative. But many have been, and remain, in denial about that.

As I documented in my books Barack Obama and the Future of American Politics and The Empire's New Clothes: Barack Obama in the Real World of Power, Obama re-brands much of the George W. Bush agenda with marketing designed to seduce progressives.

Policies as awful as—and sometimes worse than—ones the left properly railed against under Bush suddenly became acceptable with Obama at the helm. There seems to be no limit to this, with Obama even attacking Social Security and claiming the right to assassinate American citizens!

A necessary step to re-energizing a policy (and not personality) focused left is to break the taboo on admitting that Obama is not of the left and that we do not support his politics, the politics of empire and corporate greed.

If it sounds radical to declare yourself "2L4O," that's a measure of how far we have to go to reclaim a true left-oriented politics.

Alice Marshall

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coyotecreek's picture
Submitted by coyotecreek on

You can add "Coyote Creek" to that list (not that it would make any difference...).

Thanks for these shirts, VL.

LostClown's picture
Submitted by LostClown on

Way to go VL.