A little while ago, longtime Democratic operatives Pat Caddell and Doug Schoen ran an op-ed in the Washington Post, “To be a great president, Obama should not seek reelection in 2012.” The op-ed was somewhat deservedly mocked, largely because it's a non-sensical op-ed unless you read it between the lines as a desperate plea from two right-leaning Democrats for Obama to abandon the Democratic party before he destroys it.
Well, this weekend Post ran another preposterous op-ed that's the yin to Schoen and Caddell's yang. Uber-liberal Rabbi Michael Lerner, editor of Tikkun, proposes to “Save Obama's presidency by challenging him on the left,” because after the worst electoral defeat in 60 years what the Democratic party really needs is more liberalism via a left-wing primary challenge to Obama:
Such a candidacy would be pooh-poohed by the media, but if it gathered enough popular support – as is likely given the level of alienation among many who were the backbone of Obama's 2008 success – this campaign would pressure Obama toward much more progressive positions and make him a more viable 2012 candidate. Far from weakening his chances for reelection, this kind of progressive primary challenge could save Obama if he moves in the desired direction. And if he holds firm to his current track, he's a goner anyway.
The basic platform for such a candidate is clear: Unequivocally call for an immediate end to the presence of U.S. troops, advisers and private U.S.-based security firms in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan, and replace the “war on terror” with a Global Marshall Plan that roots homeland security in a strategy of generosity and concern for the well-being of everyone on the planet. Domestically, call for a massive jobs program; a freeze on mortgage foreclosures; a national bank that would offer interest-free loans to those seeking to create or expand small businesses; immediate implementation of the parts of the Obama health-care plan that would benefit ordinary citizens and build support for a health plan for all citizens; dramatically lower prices for drugs that treat critical diseases such as AIDS and cancer; a strong tax on carbon emissions; and immediate prosecution of those government employees involved in torture or cover-ups to justify the invasion of Iraq.
Ah, but who would be the one to pressure The One to adopt a this policy platform of progerssive pixie dust? Lerner has some suggestions:
Public officials who would make excellent candidates should they run on this platform include Sens. Russ Feingold, Bernie Sanders, Barbara Mikulski or Al Franken; Reps. Joe Sestak, Maxine Waters, Raul Grijalva, Alan Grayson, Barbara Lee, Dennis Kucinich, Lois Capps, Jim Moran and Lynn Woolsey. Others include Jim McGovern, Marcy Kaptur, Jim McDermott or John Conyers. We should also consider popular figures outside of government. How about Robert F. Kennedy Jr.? Why not Rachel Maddow, Bill Moyers, Susan Sarandon or the Rev. James Forbes? All suggestions need to be part of this critical conversation. What's clear is that we need such a candidate, and the finances to back her or him, very soon.
Last I checked, April 1st was still five months away. Maybe Lerner lost a bet or something? In any event, I heartily enourage Alan Grayson or Susan Sarandon to run for President this platform of full employment for political journalists.