Louder Than Words — Roots Action’s video critical of President Obama

The timing of this video is perfect. President Obama is back in full campaign-mode, and he’s a brilliant speaker and campaigner. But too often his actions belie his words.

Yesterday at my local Democratic LD organization, there was a rather heated discussion about the extent to which we should criticize President Obama.  I’m glad that  someone else brought up the topic, saying that the org should be more tolerant of criticisms of the president. She said she thought it’s terrible how progressives are made to feel unwelcome. The Party should make room for progressives, she said. Some conservative guy (who often vocally opposes my progressive resolutions) walked out in protest: he thought we should be more supportive of Obama. Even the chair said he’s quite critical of some of Obama’s policies, but he felt strongly that it’s inappropriate for Dems to condemn Obama the man.

Indeed, sometimes I don’t feel welcome.  Sometimes I’m tempted to believe my more leftist friends that the Democratic Party is beyond repair.  Last month my resolution calling on the legislators to challenge the constitutionality of I-1053 lost by two votes in my LD.   I was disheartened. (I figure some people opposed the resolution in protest over my criticisms of Obama.)    Happily, the resolution  was later approved by the King County Democratic Central Committee — not that the legislators will pay much attention to the resolution….

There was a slide show about the budget crisis.  Mostly it consisted of criticisms of the Ryan budget.  It’s true: the GOP budget is horrendous.  But President Obama’s budget fails to cut military spending at all.  A title on a slide said “Reduces military spending”, but the text below the title said “reduces the rate of growth of military spending.”  Another member pointed out that, unlike the GOP and Obama budgets, the Congressional Progressive Caucus’s  Peoples’ Budget significantly reduces the deficit, by cutting military spending and closing tax loopholes and raising taxes on the rich.

I think there’s a battle for the soul of the Democratic Party. Will progressives win?

Someone at my LD meeting said that Democrats fight too much, and that’s why people don’t enjoy coming to meetings.  Everyone should cooperate more, they said.  But perhaps there should be more fights.  In the GOP, the far right fought hard and kicked out the moderates.  It’s not true that Republicans merely follow orders.  In the Democratic Party, progressives often leave because they don’t feel welcome. Instead, I think they should kick out the conservatives.  More fighting is good! Then maybe the Party would be reinvigorated with idealistic progressives, and meetings might be less boring — which is something some members complained about.

This topic  (how much should we criticize President Obama? and how progressive should Democrats be?) won’t be going away.

Would open criticism or a primary challenge against Obama strengthen the Democratic Party?  Some people have lost faith in the Democrats and in government.  Or would open criticism weaken the Democrats?