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What's So Progressive About Progressives?


Back in 2016, I was thrown off the Daily Kos website because I posted a story in which I claimed that Bernie Sanders was running a campaign which despite his claim to be a ‘socialist,’ was nothing more than a standard, Democrat(ic) response to the GOP with some ‘occupy Wall Street’ cliches thrown in.

I was accused, among other things, of being a ‘secret’ employee of the Russian disinformation campaign to make sure that Americans never had a chance to consider the programs or strategies of the Progressive movement, which Daily Kos claims to represent.

Last month I signed up again for Daily Kos and started posting stories on their website, which were the same stories I post on Substack, Medium, and my own blog every day.

Two days ago, I posted a story on all four outlets again criticizing Hillary Clinton for making a snark comment about Joe’s age in an interview with The Hill, and I received more than – ready? – 300(!) comments on my Daily Kos page, most of which can best be described as angry, hateful, or worse.illary

I was also informed by the Daily Kos management that I had violated the website’s rules because they do not permit “misleading, deceptive, or malicious attacks against Democratic officials or candidates,” even though dear Hillary is neither a party official nor (yet) a candidate. So, she fits into some other sanctified group, perhaps a group which consists of Democrats who run lousy and/or worthless political campaigns.

Before I get thrown off Daily Kos for the second time, which will probably put me in a rather select category, perhaps even more select than the category in which Hillary currently resides, I’m going to put one more story about Hillary on the Daily Kos website, and that will probably be the last time I am allowed to question any of the current orthodoxies which together create the progressive mind.

I was a resident of New York State when Hillary ran and won a Senate seat in 2001. I voted for her then just as I voted for her in 2016. In fact, I was very impressed with her 2000 campaign, if only because she made a point of doing at least one, in-person appearance in every one of the New York’s 65 counties, of which many of the upstate, rural counties have fewer Democrats than cows – a lot fewer, by the way.

The moment Hillary took her seat in the Senate however, she stopped representing New York State so much as she began to represent some kind of voting bloc that could be used to move from behind a desk in the Senate chamber to the Resolute desk in the Oval office, which is clearly where she hoped to wind up.

Hillary spent the next ten years making sure that she never took a position on any issue which might make it difficult for her to stitch together a national campaign. Without doubt, her single, worst vote was to support the invasion of Iraq. And even though her explanation that she voted for the 2002 invasion was to give President Bush more diplomatic leverage which he never used, Hillary couldn’t bring herself to admit making a mistake. God forbid Hillary ever made a mistake about anything.

The Daily Kos bunch can call themselves anything they want, but if they are going to use the word ‘progressive’ to define their political ideology and goals, at the very least they might want to take the trouble to understand what the word actually means and how it became part of the political lexicon a century ago.

The progressive movement started in the Midwest and was a reaction against the power and authority of the national government which increasingly created a legal infrastructure embodying the social and economic changes of the Industrial Age. In particular, progressives were opposed to the concentration of wealth in the hands of the industrialist class and called for more support of workers and other vulnerable groups (e.g., women, poor) whose status and security was being undermined.

But the progressives who formed several political parties at the end of the 19th Century did not expect the national government to promote these much-needed reforms. To the contrary, they worked to establish non-government, social-service organizations and labor unions to provide for the common good without the government being involved.

In today’s political environment, I don’t know a single issue promoted by the so-called progressive wing of the Democrat(ic) Party which isn’t based wholly or partially on government funding, or government legal statutes or both. Which is fine, as far as I’m concerned, except that’s not how the Daily Kos progressives define themselves today.

Their notion of progressive politics, at least judging from the vitriol I received because I had the audacity, the temerity to question the motives and behavior of Saint Hillary, is to condemn anyone who dares step outside their self-appointed boundaries of what’s right and what’s wrong.

And what’s right for this group is to attack Joe Biden because he’s just another, old, mainstream liberal who will sell out the Democrat(ic) Party and make nice with the other side.

Joe did one thing which Hillary never did. He got rid of Trump. Which as far as I’m concerned, awards him a second term. And if progressives would rather see Trump in the Oval Office for another four years, they can keep promoting Hillary and dumping on Joe and supporters of Joe (like me) all they want.

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