Theodore's World: Progressives to Gather at Tides Foundation Conference with Frustration with Obama on Their Minds

« Valerie Jarrett Obama's Closest Adviser and Communist Sympathizer | Main | Total Idiot Bill O'Reilly - "Communism is not a Threat to us anymore" »

September 10, 2009

Progressives to Gather at Tides Foundation Conference with Frustration with Obama on Their Minds

Progressives to Gather at Tides Momentum Conference with Frustration with Obama on Their Minds

By Don Hazen


September 4, 2009

We are in a political crisis moment. The Tides Foundation is bringing together the country's most significant progressives to address our complex political realities.

Our country and our still new president are facing a political crisis moment. Stacked against us are fundamental issues – health care, climate change, war, and a still-floundering economy. How each and all of these issues are resolved (or not) may well determine the success of Obama's presidency.

With health reform and the so-called “public option” reportedly on life support (although some activists strongly disagree with that prognosis), and the increasingly unpopular Afghanistan war on the verge of yet another escalation, many progressives and Democrats are frustrated, angry, or simply scratching their heads in disbelief. The Obama they thought they elected is not meeting their expectations.

Obama Has Betrayed the Progressives Who Got Him Elected -- So Now What Do We Do?
Posted by Allison Kilkenny ( August 31, 2009)

According to a recent Washington Post/ABC News poll, support for Obama is dropping, and Greg Sargent theorizes this is due to waning support among Democrats and liberals.

Sargent's theory makes sense. Ask any Democrat or Progressive why they voted for Obama, and you're likely to hear a range of grievances extending from he's better than Bush to Nader wasn't on the ballot, but others say things like he said he'd bring the troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan, or he promised healthcare reform. The President's behavior on the other progressive hallmark, healthcare reform, is equally abysmal. Obama's shameful conduct has been well-documented, including the White House's agreement to oppose any congressional efforts to use the government's leverage to bargain for lower drug prices or import drugs from Canada, and the agreement not to pursue Medicare rebates or shift some drugs from Medicare Part B to Medicare Part D, which would cost Big Pharma billions in reduced reimbursements.

Although Obama still has relatively high numbers among Democrats, they appear to be dropping with some speed.

Obama has lost even more support among 18-29-year-olds, who may have been more invested in Obama's message of change and have less patience with recent disappointments: Obama's approval ratings among young voters has dropped by 18 points.

It is in this fraught emotional and political climate that the Tides Foundation is holding its 4th Momentum conference at the W Hotel in San Francisco, from Labor Day through September 9th. The roster of speakers – which includes Donna Edwards, Roger Hickey, and Anna Burger -- and the topics they will address guarantee that the charged political moment in which we find ourselves will dominate the agenda.

Although the conference isn’t specifically designed to address the current political maelstrom (as Drummond Pike, the CEO of Tides, and the brains behind the conference says, "There’s not a theme per se for Momentum. We try to assemble the most innovative folks we can find working on policy, strategies, and tools that advance progressive outcomes") the political realities of the moment can hardly be avoided.

On the agenda is a “health care briefing”, which includes Roger Hickey, co-director of the Campaign for America’s Future and the lead spokesperson for the progressive wing of Democrats rallying for a “public option.” An appearance by Crystal Hayling, President and CEO Blue Shield of California Foundation, and California health activist Anthony Wright, should make for interesting debate. Anna Burger, the powerful number two leader of the country’s largest Union, the Social Service Employees Union (SEIU), is scheduled to speak at the Work Plenary. SEIU has invested tens of millions of dollars in organizing around health care reform, and is in the heat of the battle – a battle, as Ezra Klein of the Washington Post reports, has the White House decidedly split between the policy advocates who insist that we need a robust health care plan to work towards covering all Americans, and White House political operatives pushing to scale back the plan to make it more “politically viable.”

At all levels, the battle for health care reform is as contentious as any in recent memory. The country has endured well-publicized town hall battles, often provoked by right-wing astroturf groups. We've seen the disturbing spectacle of right-wingers bringing guns – and fevered, threatening rhetoric -- to presidential events. Absurd fantasies like “death panels for Grandmas have dominated nightly news coverage of the debate over health reform.

Some would argue that progressives have made major strategic errors in the health care fight. In his critique of the politics of health reform, Tides Founder Pike questions the tactics employed by progressives in the struggle for a viable health care system.

Progressive Congressional Donna Edwards Will Provide More Sparks

Another speaker bound to hold the Obama administration accountable at Momentum is Congresswoman Donna Edwards from Maryland. In her relatively brief time in office, Edwards has quickly gained national attention as a principled progressive, holding the administration’s feet to the fire when necessary. Edwards has also called on progressives to be better organizers.

Earlier this summer, at the America’s Future Conference in DC, Edwards spelled out what it means to be an effective progressive:

It means that there are occasions when no matter how great this President is, sometimes he may not be right. And you know what? We can't shut up about that because, trust me, if we were on the other side… they would not be quiet in the face of their leadership doing the wrong thing

Wild Thing's comment.......

Very interesting!! This is all important because these are the people like it says that are also connected to Soros and they all got Obama elected. Now they are not so happy about it.

I really think we also scared these Progressives ( communists ) we scared them, Obama cannot handle it. He is showing his anger, he is messing up big time in Afghanistan too. The Townhall meetings, the Tea Party Express all the various things coming together. Rush Limbaugh speaking out, he called Obama first a socialist then said no he was wrong Obama is a Fascist. He has been hitting Obama hard and then add in Glenn Beck.

Even when Laura Ingraham sits in for O'Reilly she hits hard too and doesn't hold back. The same with Mark Levin.

When I read the two articles above it made it clear why Pelosi is totally pushing against Obama and staying stronger then ever about what she wants in the health care bill. She is a progressive too and she probably wants to stay on their good side. She knows Presidents come and go and she is bound and determined to hang on to her own position and knows the Tide Foundation will back her up. Just my take on it, I could be wrong. It is just that she has not been flexible at all about some of the things on the Bill.

Posted by Wild Thing at September 10, 2009 07:50 AM


I hope the bulk of Democrats are even more disappointed in obama than I was in George Bush.

The important people I want to be disappointed in obama are the independents who voted for him. I want them to be disappointed for just the opposite reasons. I want those independents and even moderate Dems to be disappointed because obama has shown himself to be a Marxist ruler surrounded by radicals.

Posted by: TomR at September 10, 2009 11:46 AM

All these left organizations are beginning to realize they have been Obama's useful idiots. They drove Obama to the big dance and then got locked out.

Posted by: Jim at September 10, 2009 11:47 AM

He better fail because the country is in sad shape and the only way we can fix it is if they carry him out on a rail, tarred and feathered.

Posted by: Mark at September 10, 2009 06:22 PM

Tom, you make a good point, those are
the important ones. I agree Tom, I want
them to be speaking out big time of their

Posted by: Wild Thing at September 10, 2009 11:03 PM

Jim, good way to put it.

Posted by: Wild Thing at September 10, 2009 11:04 PM

Mark, I would love that to happen to him.

Posted by: Wild Thing at September 10, 2009 11:05 PM