Al Franken said it best when addressing the Netroots Nation, " I know progressives are frustrated...because it feels at times not everyone in our party is pushing at the same pace." Al's absolutely right, it isn't even closer to the direction that many in the progressive movement thought that the 2008 election outcome would propel us. So far many things, from healthcare, the environment and global climate change legislation, Wall Street reform, and civil liberties have been co-opted or watered down in a race to make sure "we" can win the mid-terms.
So many of us are ruminating on the idea that helping the mainstream Democrats will bring us more of the same. If this is progress, why bother? We are told to consider the alternative. If Republicans are able to win the House or Senate back, what will happen to even the short-term gains that have been made? And this is a truly frightening--not hopeful-- proposition
We are asked to "hope" a little longer, be willing to wait for "change" a little longer, but so far the return on our investment has been questionable. What the mainline has to consider is that when you make promises at election time, people really do count on you delivering on them. It is likely that some of the people who joined the Tea drinkers did so because they felt that what was promised was not being delivered. We all wanted "change we can believe in"--sadly, what we have gotten is politics as usual.
We are told that change is not instant, that we must keep our eye on the larger prize. We must do more to keep hope alive. But while platitudes make for great conventions, legislation is how we get things done. And does anyone really believe that the legislation pushed through in the last year and a half is for the people? If it is, I hope every Democrat running for reelection can articulate how it helps us on Main Street. We need to ask the mainline to consider the alternative of losing support by the people who pushed the hardest for change to happen.