It’s bad enough that what passes for the left has been kneecapped by the Obama Administration. The ambiguous campaign promise “Change you can believe in” has turned out to be a Nixon-goes-to-China series of moves to the right that would have been well nigh impossible for a Republican to execute without incurring significant costs. Remarkably, Obama has increased both the number and scope of wars, used deficit scaremongering to cut Medicare and Social Security, and passed a health care “reform” bill that made overly expensive American health care even more uneconomical by enriching Big Pharma and health care insurers. And this is only a starter list in his campaign against average Americans.
Those visible moves have been accompanied by a largely stealth operation to neuter what were once called progressive organizations (“progressive” has been rendered meaningless by being adopted by pretty much everyone to the left of Attila the Hun). Groups truly committed to a left-leaning anti-corporate platform quickly learned the cost of crossing Team Obama: in their so-called veal pen, the Administration would get big company backers to yank their funding. This process has now moved up the food chain, but with bigger groups, it is less clear whether the Administration is the driver or whether like minded operatives are acting on their own initiative. Regardless, there is increasingly a vacuum to the left of Obama, which eases his continuing move to the right, as think tanks that are perceived to be reasonably independent, like the Economic Policy Institute, mysteriously lose the backing of significant, established funders.
There are plenty of people to the left of Obama, but they are mostly all individuals. The lefty advocacy groups (like Code Pink, MoveOn, NOW, NARAL) have been assimilated.
Nobody could have seen this coming. Politico:
Obama’s national finance chairwoman, Chicago hotel mogul Penny Pritzker, told supporters at a national finance committee meeting in Indianapolis May 2, and in other conversations, not to give money to the groups, people familiar with her comments said.
“From the beginning of this race Obama has told supporters that if they want to help his effort, they should do so through his campaign,” said Obama spokesman Bill Burton, who confirmed that Pritzker has told donors not to give to the groups. “And he means exactly what he says.”
But in recent days, major donors have begun to conclude that Obama is serious in trying to cut off funds to the outside groups.
“It’s given donors pause,” said one prominent Democratic donor of Pritzker’s words.
Donors and Democratic activists have been quietly debating Obama’s motives: Is he simply interested in keeping his Democratic efforts within his campaign, which is so well funded he doesn’t need outside help? Or is he, as some believe, cutting off funds to groups whose leaders — Brock and Podesta — some Obama aides view as too tightly linked to Clinton?
In either case, Pritzker’s words are the latest in Obama’s remarkably swift and complete consolidation of Democratic Party power. It’s an unprecedented seizure of control that has built him, over the course of a year, the most powerful field organization and the largest financial network in American politics, leaving many existing structures — traditional party organizations in many states, the Clintons’ long-nurtured national network — in the dust.
That story was from May 15, 2008 – before Obama was even the presumptuous nominee. Obama consolidated his power a long time ago. That’s why I see any primary challenges as nothing but fantasy.