‘Tis the time to dust off “progressive” values.

Who will remember language like this (soon to be published in “The Nation”) in 3 years:

“Looking out over Washington, DC, from his plush office, Al From is once again foaming at the mouth. The CEO of the corporate-sponsored Democratic Leadership Council and his wealthy cronies are in their regular postelection attack mode. Despite wins by economic populists in red states like Colorado and Montana this year, the DLC is claiming like a broken record that progressive policies are hurting the Democratic Party.

From’s group is funded by huge contributions from multinationals like Philip Morris, Texaco, Enron and Merck, which have all, at one point or another, slathered the DLC with cash. Those resources have been used to push a nakedly corporate agenda under the guise of “centrism” while allowing the DLC to parrot GOP criticism of populist Democrats as far-left extremists. Worse, the mainstream media follow suit, characterizing progressive positions on everything from trade to healthcare to taxes as ultra-liberal. As the AP recently claimed, “party liberals argue that the party must energize its base by moving to the left” while “the DLC and other centrist groups argue that the party must court moderates and find a way to compete in the Midwest and South.”

Probably nobody at The Nation. Yes, this is the same Al From who said that Nader didn’t cause Al Gore to lose in 2000 (“The assertion that Nader’s marginal vote hurt Gore is not borne out by polling data. When exit pollers asked voters how they would have voted in a two-way race, Bush actually won by a point. That was better than he did with Nader in the race.”), but that is quickly pushed aside by true Democratic Party loyalists to favor blaming Nader for Gore’s not taking office. After all, we’re supposed to forget the tens of thousands of Democrats in Florida who voted for Bush in 2000 and had their votes counted (unlike the disenfranchised Florida voters who still can’t vote there). And we’re also supposed to forget that it wasn’t Nader’s job to help elect Gore. Gore and Nader were opponents, not running mates.

In January 2005, you’ll be able to read “Debunking Centrism”, an article which represents a serious turn of affairs for The Nation, which now finds it comfortable to challenge the Democratic Party on taking corporate cash and not providing universal single-payer healthcare.

It wasn’t that long ago that this same magazine criticized Nader (who was stumping for the things progressives allegedly want) and encouraged him to not run in 2004. Nader, correctly, stayed in the race in part because the Democrats did not have the courage to seriously challenge the Republicans on important issues of the day (including the invasion and occupation of Iraq, not supporting universal single-payer health care, standing up to corporate crime, fraud, and abuse).

Don’t let articles like “Debunking Centrism” fool you—when push comes to shove, and there’s an election to talk about, these progressives will stand behind the Democrats no matter where the Democrats want to take them.

Right now you’ll be able to find lots of left-leaning people criticizing Kerry and the Democrats. There is no election in front of them (even these self-styled progressives don’t care about midterm elections where voters have more power and often get to weigh issues of local importance—”think globally, act locally” and “all politics is local” be damned).

It’s not in vogue anymore to champion “catastrophic coverage” health care that doesn’t reach everyone, only reaches those it covers in emergency situations, and only covers part of the cost even then (like Kerry did). It’s not okay to echo “can’t cut and run” (like Kerry did), now one is expected to soundly and totally become anti-war and “support the troops by bringing them home” (good luck to the anti-war movement, which stunted themselves to be ABB for a year, by passing this one off. We all know roughly 3/4ths of you stood behind pro-war Kerry, even in gerrymandered districts where voters had the freedom to vote their conscience).

Don’t get used to those values, if you’re like a lot of so-called progressives in the US, you’ll be dropping them again in three years.