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Help Draft Candidates for 2012!

Michael Wilk's picture

2010 is nearly over, and the fight for the presidency in 2012 is beginning to take shape. Corporate Democrat Barry Obama has not merely disappointed the public, nor has he merely failed to accomplish progressive goals. He has, in fact, deliberately and stubbornly refused to even try to accomplish progressive goals, opting instead to continue and expand on the fascist, totalitarian policies of his predecessor and ideological brothers, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.

I do not make that last charge lightly, or at all inaccurately. Paul Street and Glenn Greenwald, as well as Jane Hamsher and the good members of the FDL family, among others, have documented the multitude of offenses which the right-wing Obama regime has undertaken against the public in the name of continuing the horrors of the Bush-Cheney years.

Sadly, the Democrat Party establishment is so powerful that no candidates exist within the institution who are willing or able to challenge Obama for the office of the presidency in 2012. That being the case, and in agreement with Ralph Nader, Jane, and others that there is little or no chance Democrats will abandon their preferred incumbent candidate, we're going to have to acknowledge that any chance for true change will come from outside the Democrat Party. This is not an easy thing to do, but it has to be done.

Also required is a serious effort to draft candidates to run against Obama in 2012. We're not going to do it by indulging flights of fancy, and we can't waste two years trying to build a new political movement from whole cloth when we already have progressive organizations that we should be building up into a viable challenge to both major political parties.

In my observation, there are perhaps four people we might be able to persuade to run for president, or for Congress, in 2012: Cindy Sheehan, Cynthia McKinney, Mike Gravel, and Ralph Nader. Their politics are well within the realm of progressive values, and they've all demonstrated their commitment to putting their efforts where their mouths are by running for public office.

I've created a petition below for people to sign, in the interests of drafting people to run for the presidency in 2012.

It's got to be done. The goal for signatures is 20,000 but the petition will be sent to Cindy, Cynthia, Mike, and Ralph even if we only reach five thousand, even if we only obtain a few hundred. If we're serious about running a candidate against Obama in 2012, or in running genuine progressives for Congress, this is a good start. It will show these progressive fighters that there is a base of supporters who will lend their time, energy, and money to getting them elected.

Time's wasting. Who's with me?

Click here to sign the petition!

No votes yet


DCblogger's picture
Submitted by DCblogger on

we need to elect emergent party candidates in 2011. That is more important the nominating someone to run against Obama as a progressive.

For my part, I have written off 2012. We need to lay the ground work for a lefty Presidential fusion party candidate in 2016.

Michael Wilk's picture
Submitted by Michael Wilk on

I absolutely agree that we need to focus on 2011. That's actually part of how we grow organizations and strategies for 2012. I don't expect huge victories either next year or in 2012. What we need to do is, as you said, lay the groundwork. That's what this effort is.

Joe's picture
Submitted by Joe on

Michael, you really had me all the way up until you started listing your potential candidates.

I don't really like any of your selections, to be perfectly frank.

In my view, the goal should not necessarily be "winning" the presidency. The goal should be BREAKING the two party system. The way you break the two party system is that you have a BIG showing from a 3rd party candidate. So big that it effectively permanently legitimizes a 3rd party on the national political stage.

I'm okay with a President Palin but ONLY in exchange for this. I have no interest in supporting a candidate who's going to get 2% of the vote and help republicans win the presidency.

We need to demonstrate the POWER of the left. We need to demonstrate that we will NOT be fucked with. You fucked with us, and look at what we did? We just destroyed the democratic party. We just fractured it right down the middle. That's power, baby. And that's what we need to show.

The only way to do this is with intellectual firepower. You've got to get someone who can stand next to this smooth talker Obama in the debates, and crush him on an intellectual level. People like Cindy, as honorable as they may be, are not in a position to do this. She is not capable of debating financial reform. HAMP. Due process free assassinations.

We need intellectual firepower. Big brains but also the ability to put our messages out forcefully. I think of names like Glenn Greenwald, Jane Hamsher, Dean Baker, Bill Black, Elizabeth Warren, Marcy Wheeler, Paul Krugman, etc.

And yes, I'm being perfectly serious when I put bloggers names on this list. These are people who have put in the work, developed their arguments, demonstrated their principles. Being big name bloggers, they could attract the fundraising necessary to get themselves in the debates and change this country.

letsgetitdone's picture
Submitted by letsgetitdone on

We need intellectual firepower. Big brains but also the ability to put our messages out forcefully. I think of names like Glenn Greenwald, Jane Hamsher, Dean Baker, Bill Black, Elizabeth Warren, Marcy Wheeler, Paul Krugman, etc.

Of these, I think Elizabeth Warren is the only one who has the communication skills to talk to Main Street, and I get a very strong impression of integrity from her writings and speeches. I could be wrong, of course, since I don't really know her.

The others are all good people and I wouldn't hesitate to vote fir them for lower office or to have them, in some cases, in key economic or regulatory positions. I think Bill Black and Dean Baker are men of great integrity, and the others are strong defenders of progressive values and very good in their subject matter areas too.

Here's one sleeper. What do people know about Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island?

basement angel's picture
Submitted by basement angel on

this is backwards. None of those candidates would cause even one Democrat to blink. Other than Hillary Clinton (whom I would prefer to see run), I don't know who has the credibility and the skills to run and win right now. But no one worthwhile is going to challenge Obama, if he's running, and risk splitting the African American vote off from the Democrats. Too risky. But if Obama isn't running, well, then you can have a ball game.

If I were you, I'd focus on getting people to declare that they won't vote Democratic - that could force Obama to step down and give us a shot at having a real candidate who could run and win. If that caught on among disillusioned Dems, you could scare hell out of the party. it doesn't matter who they vote for, it matters that they won't vote for Obama under any circumstances. If the Democratic party sees great numbers of people changing their registration, that'll scare the shit out of them. Then, if Obama's the nominee, we either skip the presidential vote, vote third party or stay home. If there are enough people refusing to vote, a leader will rise up. The powers that be will force Obama down, and it'll be a real battle.

None of the people you listed has any ability to impact the battle - not even Nader. I don't want to turn the White House over to another novice. I want someone who has ties to Capitol Hill and who knows policy inside and out. Somebody who knows how to lead and how to get legislatures to move. That's what I want.

votermom's picture
Submitted by votermom on

If I were you, I'd focus on getting people to declare that they won't vote Democratic - that could force Obama to step down and give us a shot at having a real candidate who could run and win.

I personally won't vote Dem if it means voting for Obama, even if his running mate is the reincarnation of FDR. I won't. I will happily vote for his opponent, even if that person is Attila the Hun. I am so over the Dems and their backstabbing and lies.

If they are determined to kill me anyway, I'd rather bring them down with me if I can.
(hyperbole prophylactic, btw, no actual murder is being discussed)

Submitted by jawbone on

I did have the luxury of knowing my state of NJ was going heavily for Obama, so I could vote as I wanted without worrying about a McCain presidency. But at the time I believed Dems would be better Dems in opposition to McCain than as supporters of The Obama. I had predicted Dems would be unable to hold Obama's feet to the fire of Democratic principles.

Now, of course, I wonder how many of those running and elected as Dems have any Democratic principles....

I felt

Obamahe would not be very progressive; I'm still stunned as to just how far to the right he is on so many important issues. Scary dude.

I will not vote for him.

letsgetitdone's picture
Submitted by letsgetitdone on

Obama needs to step down for someone better to have a chance in 2012.

None of the people you listed has any ability to impact the battle - not even Nader. I don't want to turn the White House over to another novice. I want someone who has ties to Capitol Hill and who knows policy inside and out. Somebody who knows how to lead and how to get legislatures to move. That's what I want.

That's right, too, so who do you have in mind who fits this bill?

basement angel's picture
Submitted by basement angel on

First of all, I am Clinton supporter. I know her record as First Lady of Arkansas and of the US, and as senator. I think she's as close to FDR as we're going to see. I know she belongs to the loathed DLC but, based on what she does of her own volition, I don't think that's where her philosophy is rooted. I think she's a lot farther left than her voting record suggests. Also, she didn't go home, like Kerry and Gore did, when Versailles told her to. She stayed and fought and after the previous two refused to fight on, that impresses me.

But my other thought is this - we didn't see Bobby Kennedy coming either. If Obama can be forced to step down, someone who fits the bill is going to step up to the task. If you're capable of running this country brilliantly, you want your shot at it. My die hard Republican grandmother, who was still complaining about WPA workers lounging around on the job in 1990, would tear up and talk about the fact that Bobby was the only candidate of her lifetime whom she thought could bring the nation together. We didn't know what a powerhouse he was until the primary was well under way.

One of the lessons I really learned from this past primary is that you have to look at the full picture. What did candidates do as social service projects? What bills did they introduce year after year, whether they got signed into law or not, as legislators? When they had the opportunity to make things better for people, did they take it?

One of the things I've been wanting to research is what the political establishment perceived FDR's political philosophy to be when he was nominated. Did anyone suspect him of being as far left as he was?

Submitted by lambert on

Cindy Sheehan, Cynthia McKinney, Mike Gravel, and Ralph Nader? Ridiculous, except possibly McKinney.

I think it's the economy, stupid. The Ds will split themselves if it's bad without any outside help from anyone, and if they've managed to pump enough blood into the zombie then they won't split and they'll renominate Barry. Either way, it has nothing to do with us. Let them do what they do, and don't invest any time in it.

Submitted by jawbone on

I know that some are not, but I still am, even though I think long and often about deregistering (along with sending a copy of my old and new registration and a letter explaining why I am no longer a registered Dem to the DNC, my representatives, the state and local party organization, maybe the WH (like our prez would care). However, I still think my vote in primaries might have some beneficial effect....

Others here?

I have suggested for quite awhile that to make an impact on party leadership, there should be an organized De-Registration as a Democrat (DRD or maybe D-RD) campaign, with running totals of those willing to sign off and sign up to be known as deregistering.

Occasionally I'd get a response (like, one) when I brought this up, but I really do not know how to implement such a thing on a scale that would be effective and noticeable.

Perhaps now is not quite the time: The effects of Obama's Republican tax plan have not yet affected those who will not be helped by it, and now Obama has the DADT legislative win to crow about (as he did this morning). I don't recall hearing him publicly push for passage of DADT, btw, but I may be wrong. He does like doing things behind closed doors.

The story coming out of the WH is that Obama has been working the Republicans behind the scenes for passage of the START treaty, but I don't recall hearing he did that for DADT, Dream Act, or even the 9/11 first responders and surrounding area citizens' (like, people who lived there, children going to school there, workers coming into the area) health bill. Appreciate input on what Obama has actually done on these three.

So, maybe wait until the Obama/Republican tax plan goes into effect, and those earning under $20K as individuals and $40K as families get the lower paychecks? Early spring or late winter?

Until they realize they lose our votes, they will not do bupkus (or bupkes) for us and our goals.

Even if they don't get our votes, Corporatism may still rule the day for the Dems, as they need big bucks to get elected and re-elected. But we don't have to be party (yeah, pun intended) to what they do from the nominally "left" side of the Corporatocracy in enabling the Oligarchy and the Kleptocracy.

votermom's picture
Submitted by votermom on

... holding on to it in case I get a chance to vote against BO in the next primary. (Closed primary in PA)

gqmartinez's picture
Submitted by gqmartinez on

I left California in the Summer of '08 so I registered Decline to State in WA (or whatever the equivalent). I used my last Democratic Party primary vote to vote *against* Anna Eshoo, whom I used to volunteer for frequently.

Personally, I felt that I had to get rid of my Democratic Party affiliation, as a form of protest, a way to register my disgust, and because I couldn't be affiliated with a party that legislated deliberate disenfranchisement (which was what FL and MI was to me). Not voting in the primaries was a small price to pay for me.

BTW, didn't Obama's Justice Dept file briefs opposing the DADT policy when it went through the courts not too long ago? I thought that ruling pretty much put the kibosh on DADT and rather than having the ruling go to the supreme court, thus showing that even they wouldn't hold to policies based on religious views and ultimately shattering the idea that Supreme Court Justices are "culture war" "victories" for either party--and mostly on the side of big business. How quickly shit falls through our memory holes.

Valhalla's picture
Submitted by Valhalla on

Mass has open primaries (or semi open, I don't remember the exact term, but I can walk into a primary and take whichever ballot I choose). So giving up Dem registration didn't mean having to close myself out of primary voting. The RBC put me over the edge, but I was already heading that way with all the appalling sexist crap hurled at Clinton by Democrats -- long before Howard Dean tried to excuse his inaction based on his lack of a cable subscription.

Submitted by hipparchia on

partly because we closed primaries here in florida, and partly because of my sympathies for the lefties who want to take back [or take over, depending on your viewpoint] the democratic party.

Joe's picture
Submitted by Joe on

I'm still a registered democrat. I intend to stay registered democrat in order to engage in subterfuge of the party. And vote in the primary. Even though in the general I am not likely to vote for the Dem nominee.

Jack Crow's picture
Submitted by Jack Crow on

...just get out of electoralism altogether? Electoralism always fails because the electoral system is set up to suit the interests of the ruling class. Madison wrote it that way, and none of the expansions and accretions to the system have changed that fact. Not even so-called liberal and progressive victories, like social security, which almost single handedly neutered a real out-of-system revolutionary movement, never mind kicking American blacks deeper into the ghetto (by excluding them from the take).

Getting good people elected gets them into the ruling class. Or deeper in, if that's where they're already from.

Why do that?

Why not just start from the ground up and put together alternatives which don't involve begging, pleading, wheedling and cajoling an imperial military death state into not acting like an imperial military death state?

basement angel's picture
Submitted by basement angel on

Creating a situation where the powers that be in the Democratic party understand that Obama cannot turn party regulars out is a lot simpler and a lot cheaper. We should focus on making it clear that he is a failure and not allow him the legitimacy of a second run. It doesn't matter to the Democrats how we vote if we're not voting for Obama. He's not going to have an easy time of it this second time around and every person who votes third party, stays home or skips the presidential race is going to hurt. And the less committed we are to other candidates before that happens allows the focus to stay on Obama's failure to rally us. Deals can be made with emergent candidates. Threats can be issued. But huge blocks of apathetic voters disinterested in what the party is offering is another thing entirely.

Once Obama is hammered out of the race, good candidates will arise. But getting him out has to be the first priority. It's also the cheapest way to move the marker down the board.

basement angel's picture
Submitted by basement angel on

I doubt the party could stop them. We are an age in search of a hero and the opportunity to impress all of history is there for the right candidate.

Submitted by lambert on

Lucky duckies.

I was looking for Jesse Jackson's speech to the Democratic National Convention when Dukakis one. Our Goldwater, with the opportunity passed by....

Makes Obama look... Not even a pale imitation. That speech brought tears to my eyes, then, and still does.

basement angel's picture
Submitted by basement angel on

and I watched it again. Holy moley! That was out and out socialism he was advocating back then. His language is incredibly far left for the US. And as much as the Obama campaign tried to obscure his primary victories, Jackson won a slew of 'em talkin' like that.

Eureka Springs's picture
Submitted by Eureka Springs on

If angel above can watch Hillary, her neo-liberal ways and her response to wikileaks alone... and with a straight face still support her, I really don't know what to think or say... except to say, respectfully as possible... you are part of the problem, angel.

You appease murder, occupation, constant war for corporations sole benefit (pipelinistan, etc.).

Please wake up. Be a much better angel... A dollar store halo would be a dramatic improvement.

Thanks for this post, Michael. Keep this discussion going.. we need lots of work getting outside of the box. I will vote for any of the new blood mentioned throughout. But I will never vote for a war or banker president or congrescritter again. Restore rule of law, end wars... and demand public campaign finance with every third breath you take!

basement angel's picture
Submitted by basement angel on

I think she's pulling the State Department as far as left as she can and is making things better. She picks her battles. That doesn't bother me.

But the same people who are telling me that she's a corporate Dem are the same people who told me that Obama was just peachy keen. I know Clinton's record from the time she got out of college and it has very little to do with your accusation. In fact, I'm quite sure that you know next to nothing about what she's actually done in her life as opposed to what the marketing whizzes behind the Obama campaign rolled out.

So, go ahead, treasure your mythology. I'm going to fight like hell to get someone in office that looks and acts like FDR (who wasn't perfect either) and right now, that's Hillary Clinton. You find another woman with the legislative background, the history of really great social service projects (I"m sure you know nothing about this), the institutional knowledge and the full out wonkery of Clinton, I'll take a serious look at them. But since I suspect that another man with an inferior resume will once again be offered up, no, thank you.

Submitted by lambert on

is to be registered now and disrupt, and/or deregister later, and disrupt.

That said, I'm deregistered and won't vote for a D or an R at anything above the local level.

Submitted by lambert on

Jesse Jackson, Sr. He'd be 71 in 2010 -- Reagan's age.

Jackson/Hillary, or Hillary/Jackson -- either would kinda sorta work for me. Presumably the two of 'em could set aside their egos and figure out which one of 'em on the top of the ticket would win, given that the goal is to save the party and the country. I put Jackson at the top on policy: "They work every day" is red meat for me, and because he actually did oppose Iraq. I'd cheer from the sidelines (or from the real field, as Jack Crow points out), instead of recoiling in disgust and horror.

I mean, seriously. Cindy Sheehan, Cynthia McKinney, Mike Gravel, and Ralph Nader? Or (leaving aside the bloggers for actual public servants) Bill Black and Elizabeth Warren? Na ga happen. None of 'em have the stature or the chops.

Anybody know if Jackson's still in the game? Or could be "lured out of retirement?" The exploding heads among our career "progressives" would be worth it.