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Hundreds of liberal activists pledge to oppose Obama in 2012

By Sahil Kapur
Wednesday, February 2, 2011 10:01 EDT
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WASHINGTON – Hundreds of liberal organizers and anti-war activists have signed a petition pledging to oppose President Barack Obama’s renomination in 2012 unless he reverses course in Afghanistan and pushes for significant cuts to military spending.

“We vow not to support President Barack Obama for renomination for another term in office, and to actively seek to impede his war policies unless and until he reverses them,” the petition reads.

From former high-ticket lawmakers to ex-intelligence officials to veterans advocates, the petition (available here) has garnered the support of a multitude noted figures, including Pentagon whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, retired FBI agent Coleen Rowley, and 2006 US Senate candidate Jean Hay Bright.

“We wanted to express our willingness to take a stand,” said seasoned anti-war activist David Swanson, the creator of the pledge, in an interview with Raw Story. The signatories, he added, declared their “absolute unwillingness to support Obama” unless he “takes on the war machine.”

“Half of what we wanted to do was simply to inform people of what’s been happening for the past two years,” Swanson said, referring to the growing military budget, the increasingly unpopular war in Afghanistan and misconceptions about the end of the Iraq war. “People, to a huge extent, don’t even now what’s going on.”

“So our goal is to pressure him or to replace him, but certainly also to educate people.”

Swanson said the activists haven’t coalesced around a preferred alternative for the 2012 Democratic nominee, but he described ousted Democrats Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) and Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) as potentials who “would be far and away better than President Obama.”

Two other potential candidates, former Vermont Governor Howard Dean and Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), said they won’t run in 2012 and discouraged a Democratic primary challenge, adding to the view that an Obama renomination is a foregone conclusion.

But Swanson said he and the petitioners rejected the view that liberal activists should settle for flawed Democratic candidates and instead focus their resources on attacking Republicans.

“I think if you’re going to eliminate the use of party primaries to advance your interests, hold your nose for two full years, and then vote for someone who is against almost everything you stand for, but is just not as bad as somebody else, then you’ve really given up on democracy,” he said.

“We ought to think of this more in terms of pressuring elected officials to improve where they are, to move in the right direction.”

Swanson has over the last decade served as a spokesman for Kucinich and progressive entities such as the AFL-CIO affiliated International Labor Communications Association, ACORN, and more recently a campaign called StopTheChamber.com.

He added that there’s something “incredibly dishonest” about criticizing President George W. Bush’s war and military policies without applying those same standards to Obama.

 
 
 
 
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  • http://www.rawstory.com/ Stumptownhero

    It’s ok to work for a third or fourth party at the state and local level but until we abolish the Electoral College you have to choose when it comes to the Presidential election

  • Anonymous

    Closer to reality than the Republicans?
    Dude, you wanna raise the bar high enough so the audience can see it :-)

  • http://www.rawstory.com/ Stumptownhero

    Most analysist have said the health insurance price increases are independent of the passage of healthcare reform.

    Even health insurance companies have said that little of the increases have anything to do with healthcare reform.

    I agree 100% that single payer is the best option but realize that it was and is not “doable” at this time so we have to make the best of it!

  • Jaimie11

    I was only talking about the drug insurance premiums, the copays and co-insurance which definitely were affected by the very small (before gap) price decreases for drugs to about 50% (in the gap). The increases in copays are huge, in many case doubling. All this could take place because drug prices were decreased. There’s have been no way to justify the increases had it not been for the drug price reductions that for most people amount to no savings at all.

    Oh, and I forgot to mention, that during the calendar year drug companies will raise their prices possibly forcing people to reach the gap who might not reach it otherwise.

    The real effects on the wallets of consumers don’t involve savings, but increases, unless the consumer reached the gap last year and will this year too.

  • Jaimie11

    But stump we’re now creating terrorists in Pakistan and North Africa, the Arabian peninsula. There’s no end to it. And the situation in Afghanistan is worsening while in Iraq they are now saying there will be no security once the Americans leave.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_AFULHQYIXBD5BG7RI6AVX4L2DU Michael

    good one you got me. my real name is Shrek

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_AFULHQYIXBD5BG7RI6AVX4L2DU Michael

    Do you feel all big and puffed up now? good i’m glad i could be of service

  • arianna issa

    Efxaristo! Sorrys vor not mention. Big, big story on da Charlie Sheen. As boy friend alvays says to me “That Charlie Sheen guy got it bad, doesn’t know his limits, give him a little Jack and Coke and Coke and he goes nuts. I ever tell you I once jacked a Coke truck on Coke?” And he shouldt know dees thingks, he billionaire congressman.

  • Anonymous

    There’s a reason I put Paul in caps, not Sanders. I like Bernie Sanders. He won’t win the Presidency, but I do like him. And I like that he pushes Obama from the left.

  • Anonymous

    How old are you? You sound like a child.

  • Anonymous

    Just because you’re in the basement doesn’t mean I’m in a tower.

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, there was a lot of that leading up to 2008, so I guess it’s cranking up again.

  • hourglass1

    sorry, for the late reply, but i’m in quite another time zone. idiotic purista? what else could i expect from an insular american cow than an attack on my intelligence. i bet you think you told me! huh!

    i am not one of a little band of anything you tool of empire – i am one of billions bloodied, plundered and impoverished by the likes of you and your capitalism and your long-suffering silent appeal to america’s better angels. that sense of fairness and equity you speak of is born of that exceptionalism fed to you on tee vee and in cinemas and drummed into your once malleable brain at school beginning with that ridiculous “pledge of allegiance”. you are good and your motives are pure and for the good of all – your good intentions are just misunderstood – we (the world) are so ungrateful!

    america has been an rapacious, murderous and corpulent blight on the planet since the monroe doctrine – whose political choices are provided to you, suffering citizen, by the owners of america. you may enjoy the red, white and blue buggering – but don’t expect my little band of billions to grab our ankles while you continue to utter your pleas to better angels with votes that mean nothing.

    did i leave out arrogant?

  • hourglass1

    with a handle like yours, beasty-girl, i’d watch who i was calling a drama queen.

    no, sweetie, your view of history comes from hollywood and madison ave. talk to me again after you get a passport – we’ll go visit a war zone together and i can share some history with you.

  • Anonymous

    Blowing up hundreds of women and children in Pakistan with Hellfire missiles fired from drones is evil. Perhaps you think this is goodness in action?

  • hourglass1

    thanks for the compliment, stumpy, i think you meant genius not genus. you help make my point – you see, your owners believe that as long as you remain obedient, everything is fine. you participate and yet you and your fellow constituents are ignored. you keep playing their game and expect different results.

    changing the rules via democratic processes has become impossible because of institutionalized roadblocks and there is always a more important emergency (often orchestrated) to focus the national attention upon. too much damage is done in the interim by the setting of precedents and traditions – the impotent senate of 2008-2010 is one case in point.

    true election reform and public financing is another example of a simple idea to clean up politics (todays campaign contributions were yesterday’s bribes) that has been talked about for decades – yet the supreme court just gave corporations the right to multiple votes with their money by a simple one vote majority. the corporatocracy is now institutionalized because public financing of elections would be just too expensive at this or any foreseeable time in the future and the damage to commerce (media ads) would be ruinous to the economy. so only friends of billionaires can ascend to positions of DNC or GOP presidential hopefuls by design. it is no longer the american president – it is the american ceo – serving the stakeholders of the american system – your owners.

    it’s time to change the whole game … and i suspect even you sense change is coming of its own volition since our universe is the stuff of massive collisions – meet and talk with your neighbors – the sooner the better.

  • NadePaulKuciGravMcKi
  • Anonymous

    I’m not comparing him to anyone. He screwed up by not following the demands of the people who voted him into office, plain and simple. I didn’t vote for the man in the first election so I hardly think I’ll vote for him in 2012, unless he does something really great to impress me.
    So far, he’s been following Bush’s policies and crap since he took office. I wasn’t impressed by him from the beginning.

  • arianna issa

    Sorry vou no like, ist vour brain on rag?

  • NadePaulKuciGravMcKi

    President Barack Obama

    has been compromised from day-one via extortion and blackmail

  • H.P. Loathecraft

    “We all know that the coming baby boomers’ retirement will only add to the challenges that we face in this new era. Unfortunately, while the world has changed around us, Washington has been remarkably slow to adapt twenty-first century solutions for a twenty-first century economy. As so many of us have seen, both sides of the political spectrum have tended to cling to outdated policies and tired ideologies instead of coalescing around what actually works.

    For [liberals - kjm], and I include myself in that category, too many of us have been interested in defending programs the way they were written in 1938, believing that if we admit the need to modernize these programs to fit changing times, then the other side will use those acknowledgements to destroy them altogether. On the right, there is a tendency to push for massive tax cuts, as Peter indicated from my speech at Knox College, no matter what the cost or who the target is, a view that stems from the belief that there is no role for government whatsoever in the challenges we face. Of course, neither of these approaches really works.”

    Those “massive tax cuts”, by the way…something he already eagerly capitulated to, as you noted.
    Stay tuned for Social Security, Medicare, etc, etc. Obama will betray at every turn but make it look like the mean republicans made him do it.
    Obama and Grayson are not cut from the same cloth at all.

  • ekwhite

    I am about as far away from a teabagger as you can get. I was a life-long Democrat until the last election. Now we have a Democratic president who is even making noises about cutting Social Security and who hires Wall Street types and corporate CEOs for advisors. What happened to the Democratic party that advocated for the common man?

  • ekwhite

    Exactly. Voting for the lesser of two evils is still voting for evil.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_JOWSGCAPD7RGYCTTAMMJM2GNX4 Slothrop

    Riiiighhhht….. so, like, next time your house is robbed, or your mom is raped, we’ll just let the culprit go because, you know, it’s in the past and focusing on investigating those crimes will just be a distraction….

    Obama’s failure to prosecute the crimes of the Cheney/Bush regime means he’s no better than they are – he’s now reneged on his oath to uphold the Constitution by failing to prosecute those who tried to tear it to shreds.

  • Anonymous

    Just the way they(D-R) want it!

  • Anonymous

    If Obama went after Bush and Cheney, the media would focus on that alone and nothing else and they would portray Obama as vindictive and divisive and small, a witch-hunter. Obama wouldn’t be able to accomplish anything, and America would suffer. As it is he has managed to do a hell of a lot considering the opposition. When Obama took office we were on the brink of another Republican Depression. To focus on criminal investigations of the previous administration instead of fixing the economy would be irresponsible and well, criminal.

  • Anonymous

    Stumptown, the people here don’t want to roll up their sleeves and actually do anything–they prefer to sit on their butts and tippy-tapy about how Obama is not liberal enough to suit them, and then in 2013 they’ll tippy-tap about all the terrible things Jeb Bush is doing to them.
    And then there’s the fact that many of the Obama-bashing comments on these progressive sites are written by interns at the RNC and Heritage and Karl’s Crossroads, working to sap the enthusiasm of the Democratic base by instigating the circular firing squad.

  • Anonymous

    No, motorfingaz, the Obama-bashers posting comments here supporting a progressive third party won’t be squealing, they’ll be laughing, because they’re TROLLS, interns sitting at the RNC and the Heritage Foundation and Karl’s Crossroads, polluting all these sites with their Obama criticism, posing as dissatisfied fellow progressives, trying to get Democrats to vote third party or stay home.
    And then there are the other dumbasses who are doing Karl’s work for him for free.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2BL2BMGKRQFI5RE66OP2H2ROLU James a Polk

    Oh…and…here’s another piece of evidence (RE: BP)

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/us_gulf_oil_spill_claims

    So…it’s not whining. The evidence is strong. I know this…I voted for the Obama who, during his campaign, spoke more like FDR. What we’ve gotten is MUCH more of the Obama who spoke like Reagan. I didn’t vote for Reagan in the 80s and I had hoped I hadn’t voted for him in 2008.

  • Anonymous

    As a veteran you should read the IAVA’s report card on how members of congress vote on legislation affecting veterans.
    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2010/10/vets-group-142-republicans-d-f-veterans-affairs/

    IAVA gave out 154 D and F grades. 142 of those went to Republicans and 12 to Democrats — meaning that 92 percent of the D and F grades went to members of the GOP.

    Of the 94 congressmen that received A or A+ grades, 91 are Democrats and three are Republicans.

    So if you move your vote from Democratic to third party, you are helping elect the GOP, which is no friend to veterans. The extreme example is Michelle Bachmann, who wants drastic cuts in veterans’ benefits, as was recently posted on RawStory. So you might think about what you are doing. There is indeed a difference between the two major parties.

  • Anonymous

    Obama never said he liked Reagan’s policies, he merely made a remark one time that Reagan was able to accomplish a lot politically.
    And I’m thinking that was because Reagan had the support of his base, who didn’t whine and jump ship when everything wasn’t suddenly perfect.

  • Anonymous

    It’s not too late to go after bush. He can still be impeached. How about after Obama wins the next election? The problem is now Obama has carried on so many of bush’s impeachable offenses that he would have to be impeached also. I admit Obama walked into a shit storm, but he has bent over for the republicans one time too many.

  • Anonymous

    So what are you gonna do about it? Vote third party and help put the Republicans back in? Obama has tried to accomplish as much as possible without totally alienating the middle and independents, because he needs them to win a second term. One can accomplish more in eight years than four. The guy is smart; hang with him. Or live through eight years of Jeb.

  • Anonymous

    If Obama’s health care reform benefits corporations so much, why did they spend two million dollars a day for months and months lobbying to defeat it?
    Not even the political genius Bill Clinton could pass health care reform of any kind, because the opposition is so powerful. That Obama was able to pass anything at all is a big effing deal.

  • Anonymous

    Apparently this is the meme talking point that Karl Rove mandated for all interns at the RNC posting on these sites: “They’re all the same! No difference between Bush and Obama! Vote third party! Or don’t vote, that’ll show ‘em!”

    You’re either an intern or you’re out of your freakin’ mind or you have a really really bad memory.

  • Anonymous

    Yes, stumptownhero, I think “Michael” is probably sitting at a computer at the Heritage Foundation or the RNC. These sites are hopelessly polluted with shills and trolls. The Internet is a great tool for progressives, and Karl knows this, so he recruits legions of young Republicans to infiltrate and pose as progressives to weaken the support of Obama’s base. Thom Hartmann tells of the time he visited the offices of the Heritage Foundation and saw rows of kids sitting at computers tapping away, and they were “scrubbing” the Internet–altering Wikipedia, etc. This site and TPM and especially Kos are completely polluted. Reading these comments sections you would think there was not a single progressive who supports Obama. But step away from the computer and enter the real world and you soon find out that is false. I’m still remembering bitterly all the Greens in 2000 who were saying there was no difference between Al Gore and George Bush. And they were serious. Can you imagine how different the world would be today?
    So hang tough and don’t let all these trolls discourage you.

  • http://www.facebook.com/erica.branchbutler Erica Raven Branch-Butler

    Are you kidding?????? I don’t know about Heuvel, but I listen to Thom just about every day– and he’s been harder on Obama for longer than most of the the other Progressive Pundits out there. I mean, *I* found myself getting tired of hearing him continually bash the President for anything and everything! The language you are using to describe the Obama administration is the same language Hartmann uses, every single day. He hardly ever has anything good to say about Obama. Obviously you don’t actually listen to the show, and don’t know what you’re talking about.

    And by the way– I think it’s incredible to see folks here, spouting off “Liberal talking points”, as if they were myopic Tea Baggers– meaning a lot of low information drivel spouted, no actual research.

  • http://www.facebook.com/erica.branchbutler Erica Raven Branch-Butler

    Our “Kenyan Overlord” ? He’s not Kenyan, he’s American. Period. And you sound like a Birther.

  • http://www.rawstory.com/ Stumptownhero

    Sad but true.

    I wonder how much they are paying Michael?

  • http://www.rawstory.com/ Stumptownhero

    And that is where the Dems in both the House and the Senate let us down when they had the majority. They could have provided cover for the O man with investigations that would have put the TRUTH on the record but they are pussies when it comes to hardball politic’s!

  • http://www.rawstory.com/ Stumptownhero

    Yes the drug companies cut a sweet deal with the O man but they “sold” him on their support or lack of opposition even thought they gave $20 mill to the opposition under the table.

    I don’t understand why they think they can get away with this in the long term? Oh wait they don’t give a Sh*t about the long term just next quarters bonuses…..F’m all.

  • Anonymous

    The Dems didn’t really have a majority in the Senate, and the Rethugs filibustered everything. I do think that Harry Reid should have stood up to the Repugs and made them actually stand up and filibuster instead of merely signaling that they were going to filibuster. But now I think that Obama’s slow-and-steady incrementalism is paying off, and the Republicans’ hardball is coming around to bite them on the ass. The American people are beginning to clue in as to who is really working for them, and who are corporate shills. Check Obama’s numbers on TPM poll tracker. Obama handled Tucson admirably, and some wingers are having buyers’ remorse after November. Thanks for your insight and real-world political savvy.

  • Anonymous

    Look the problem is even though this country has more left leaning people in it we are a divided side. We have to stop voting in people just because they have a D in front of their name. My point in 06 I believe one of the very few moderate to sometimes liberal republicans who I actually liked Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island was defeated by arguably a more conservative democrat. I for one will be voting for who the best person is for president, for my district and for my state. I urge people who say I am throwing my vote away if I choose not to vote 2 party to ask yourselves, aren’t you throwing away yours? Are you happy with what Obama is doing?

  • Anonymous

    I have listened to Thom Hartmann for several years every day (although not as frequently as previously). His criticism is mild and he still persists in the false narrative that 1) Obama must re-elected because of possible SC vacancies and 2) That a challenge to Obama or a third party will ensure the election of a Republican president in 2012. In 2008 when Israel was blowing the s*** out of Gaza Thom was reduced to sputtering incoherence because he can’t bring himself to attack the genocidal policies of Israel and can’t recognize or even acknowledge Obama’s total surrender since then to AIPAC and the Zionist agenda. Katrina and Thom and others have allowed themselves to be sandbagged by the Obama mythology and hence have no intellectual freedom of movement. They are cornered. To admit the truth that Obama is a Corporatist/Militarist war criminal and a Wall Street/Zionist puppet who has expanded the evil wars of the Bush/Cheney Régime implies that they are and have been completely wrong. They all are well intentioned and on the right side but they are delusional. Obama is a dangerous fraud. Finally, it is insufficient and nonsensical to state as Thom does once a week that “Afghanistan is Obama’s Vietnam” and then insist upon his re-election. Obama and his whole cabinet can go to Hell. They are Bush’s third term.

    Read “Death of the Liberal Class” by Chris Hedges. It’s the history of the sell out by members of the professional “Progressive Left” such as Thom and Katrina.

    http://www.amazon.com/Death-Liberal-Class-Chris-Hedges/dp/1568586442

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=30902871 John C. Osborn

    Are we doomed to be voting for the lesser of two evils over and over and over again. Geez, when are we going to accept the oligarchy that obvious exists and has existed in this country for many many years.

  • Anonymous

    If there is a better candidate out there isn’t it our responsibility to choose the best candidate for the job? Where is it written it has to be Obama? In all probability it will be Obama because people are assuming it will be him. We all know what happens when we assume.

  • Anonymous

    I happen to think he is the best candidate, and I don’t think he will be primaried because he is too popular. Of course that could change, but I think he’s on the upswing. People are slowly beginning to clue in that he’s not an Arab terrorist sympathizer. And as health care reform kicks in, and people don’t see any death panels, only benefits, that has to help also. Obama is well aware of the pressure from the progressive wing, but he’s doing all he can without completely alienating the middle and independents, in my humble opinion. And without the middle, he won’t have a second term.

  • Anonymous

    Vote anyway you wish but don’t expect anything to REALLY change with Obama or the F***ing Democrats who have, since 2006, approved every Pentagon budget submitted. Below the veneer both Democrats and Republicans are completely corrupted by corporate money and will do what the Puppet Masters demand. More war, more obscene military budgets and more repression at home via DHS. So, if you feel better about supporting Democrats do so but it is delusional and self-defeating.

  • Anonymous

    You dumb ass! From “Yes we can” to “No we can’t” and finally “No we won’t” and if you don’t like it F*** off out of here. If you actually had a case here then the actual record would support it but it doesn’t and that’s the sorry truth. So attack the messenger as a TROLL to discredit the message if you will. It won’t work and it only serves to further weaken the Progressive cause.

  • Anonymous

    Delusional ObamaTron. The Crime Syndicate destroying America controls the Republicans and Democrats. The illusion of difference is carefully scripted by the MSM to trick the gullible and weak minded.

  • Anonymous

    I can’t say the HC bill didn’t help me somewhat but I was disappointed by the bill itself. I think Obama should have held out for a single payer system. He tries to reach out to the repubs too much. They are beyond dealing with. If he tries this thru the rest of this term and thru his next he might as well join the republican party. He should not have made the deal with repubs to extend the bush tax cuts and he is teetering on messing with SS. I don’t trust him anymore to do whats right for the country instead of whats right for the gop leadership.

  • Anonymous

    Gee, I noticed you forgot the biggest con artists of all……bush and cheney and their players.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t see how complaining on this site furthers the progressive cause. I have seen some posters say they are “holding Obama’s feet to the fire.” Well, I have news: Obama doesn’t read RawStory, and I doubt if any of his staff do, either. So what do you think you are accomplishing other than venting? By criticizing Obama here it seems to me you are doing nothing but convincing other voters to vote third party or not vote at all, which is exactly what Karl Rove wants all Democrats to do.
    And as for the “no difference” meme, well, that is just absurd. Statistically, everything is always better under Democratic administrations: job growth, employment, GDP, SCOTUS noms, etc., even the suicide rate drops. Google it.
    So instead of merely venting on these sites, I think it would be far more productive and useful to write or fax your Rep and Sen and Obama, and join your local Democratic Club and work for change.
    I understand your frustration, and believe me I wish Obama were the Progressive Ideal president, but he’s not. That candidate would not have been elected, and a losing candidate can’t really accomplish much in DC. But on issue after issue he is far above the Repuglican corporatists, whose only mission is to funnel our Treasury to the uber-wealthy.
    http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/promises/obameter/rulings/promise-kept/?page=1

  • Anonymous

    Amen.

  • Anonymous

    What’s a psuedo progressive? Someone who disagrees with you I guess.

  • Anonymous

    My comments are not aimed at Obama or his administration but at http://rawstory.com/ readers who are deluded themselves into accepting the current situation as the “best we can get”. It will be if we support either Obama or the sellout Democratic party. F*** ‘em both. I will never vote Democratic again. The wars grind on and I very much doubt the victims of the “Empire of Amerika” under Obama would believe things are better. That’s the bottom line. The wars are destroying us morally and economically and killing thousands of innocents. Congress doesn’t give a shit about stopping the wars. They approve the funding for them continuously because they are hopelessly corrupt. I will not be deterred from attacking this war criminal president because of your pussyfied Stephanie Miller philosophy.

    I do want a viable challenger to Obama in 2012 either through the Democratic party or from a third party or both.

    Finally, your comments here suggest that you are working for Cass Sunstein, Obama’s head of “The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs”. See below.

    http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2010/01/15/sunstein

  • hourglass1

    no, a psuedo progressive is one who expects others to make political progress for him. a fake patriot who goes along to get along, one who watches in silence as “the authorities” strip him of his rights and rob him of his future while giving ever more rights to non-living-breathing entities. he thinks that by remaining silent the bad guys will become satiated and change their ways … eventually he begins to turn in his neighbors in for suspicious activities in hopes of special treatment. when questioned about his patriotism by “the authorities” because his flow of names and information has slowed, he pees down the leg of his mexican made jeans into his chinese-made sneakers.

  • Anonymous

    Oh. You mean conservatives. I see.

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