Last week Obama coincided his re-election campaign kick-off with the announcement that 9-11 suspect Khalid Sheikh Mohammed would not be tried in a U.S. court after all. Instead he's set to be tried in a Bush style military court at Guantanamo. Obama's choice to make both announcements on the same day has highlighted the Democratic Party's strategy of betraying its base to score political points, knowing that the progressive voter will support them no matter what. Glenn Greenwald has a post regarding this unhealthy relationship between Obama and his base in which he points out how effectively the Democrats have utilized fear of the GOP and the Tea Party to achieve unconditional loyalty from its grassroots supporters.
Progressives have an addiction to partisan politics that is deep seated and hard to kick. It is an addiction visible even in some of the most hard hitting criticism leveled at Obama from the left. Over and over again I read passionate tirades lambasting Obama's continued assault on constitutional liberties and his policy of endless warfare only to be completely negated by concluding with a pledge to vote for the lesser evil anyway. The message to Obama becomes clear: no need to take the left's outrage seriously because they have no where else to go. Meanwhile, Obama moves further and further to the right.
This brings me to the almost universal misreading of the election of 2000. After being shunned from the corporate run presidential debates and mainstream media, Ralph Nader was able to receive 6% of the vote, a victory that should have built upon in 2004. What better way to push the Democrats to the left than to force them to actually work for progressive voters' support? Instead the left largely swallowed the line from the Democratic operatives and professional gas bags like Eric Alterman that voting for a third party opposition is the equivalent to voting for Bush.
Here we are in 2011 and Nader is still regarded as a pariah by liberals blaming him for Bush's "win." Nevertheless, in many ways the former community organizer from Chicago is showing us what Bush's third term might have looked like.