Saturday, July 25, 2009

Feingold?

So is Feingold the one?

Someone is going to have to challenge Obama in the 2012 primaries.

It must be someone who will stand up to Obama, the Blue Dog Democrats and the Oligarchs on a broad range of domestic and international issues, and who has the strength of character and understanding to not compromise on a wedge issue such as support for Israel.

It must be someone who stands squarely on the side of the American working people and is not trying to find common ground with the Oligarchs

It must be someone who can reach and rally the rank-and-file activists of the labor movement, and fire up their hearts and their courage.

It must be someone who speaks not just to and for the hopes of the people but who gives expression to our anger.

Ideally it should be someone of color, because many Afro-Americans may otherwise support Obama no matter what he does, but it must at least be someone who understands the centrality of race in America and the importance of confronting racism and building "black-white" unity.

It must be someone with the skills and instincts of an organizer and a leader, not just a lawmaker. Someone with a proven track record of coalition-building. Someone with a vision of a lasting transformation of American politics, a new kind of politics rooted in and driven by an organized people.

And it must be someone who has the charisma to break through peoples' skepticism and cynicism and touch their hearts.

Dennis Kucinich actually comes pretty close on the issues, understanding, commitment and passion, although maybe weak on leadership and coalition building. We need to look closely at why his campaigns for president never caught fire.

Those who have taken the time and effort to really listen to Kucinich and watch his performance at events like the AFL_CIO rally last year at Chicago's Soldiers Field know that there was a potential in his campaign for a great political upset. And yet, a measure of the task we face is that after two presidential runs, his name recognition is still below 80%. Many who do recognize his name are conditioned to snicker when they hear it, without even being able to explain why. Perhaps this was due to the urgency people felt about finding someone who could beat Bush, and the fact that they had not lost all hope in the system as it is. Certainly it owed much to his being nearly totally ignored by the corporate media.

But it points to a "recognition barrier", our need for a candidate who already has a high name recognition and media presence - if possible.

It is not too soon to be looking at the few people who are our trusted voices on the national political stage, not too soon to be thinking and talking about whether "they're the one" who could do it - or rather who could lead *us* in doing it!

Kucinich again? Barbara Lee? Bernie Sanders? maybe Al Franken? Or Michael Moore?

Or maybe Russ Feingold?

Let's keep looking, asking, talking to each other, and challenging them! And let's keep *our* hope alive!
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