It’s no secret that sometimes those affiliated with a political party sometimes go wayward and betray the ideals of that party. This is been becoming more and more of an occurrence in the Democratic Party, and the Obama Administration has been contributing to this waywardness. These are the New Democrats, and they are gaining steam.
While the New Democrats support socially liberal issues like gay rights, they also support Wall Street, Big Pharma, and the North American Free Trade Agreement, which helps companies and manufacturers, but squats all over workers.
The same party that instituted Dodd-Frank in 2010 is now giving Wall Street a hand in dismantling it. In fact, there a couple of Democrats that are sponsoring pro-Wall Street bills that would let banks conduct more of the “very kind of derivatives trading that got [Wall] Street in trouble.” Nearly all of the Democrats on the House Financial Services Committee support the derivatives bill (drafted by Citigroup), including Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY) and Rep. Jim Himes (D-CT), who is a former Goldman-Sachs banker.
Democrats have also been increasingly friendly with Big Pharma. This is especially true of President Obama. During his 2008 presidential campaign, Obama took more donations from Big Pharma than his opponent John McCain and even “the rest of the Republican field combined.” For every dollar that McCain received that year from the drug companies, Obama got $3.58, comparatively. Pfizer gave four times as much money to Obama as they gave to McCain, and the health insurance industry donated more money to House Democrats than House Republicans.
President Obama also reneged on his opposition to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) during the peak of his 2008 campaign. At one point, he maintained a populist viewpoint on free trade and was a staunch opponent of NAFTA; however, that changed in June of 2008 when he said that NAFTA “has a mild, positive effect on the U.S. economy.” Before Obama was even elected, he was making the shift from progressive-Democrat to centrist-New Democrat, until he claimed himself as a New Democrat in 2009.
In a Salon article, Michael Lind astutely claims that Obama will be the last New Democrat to sit in the White House, and with very good cause too. The Democrats in leadership now lack gumption, they lack conviction in their traditionally populist views, and are ever-increasingly lying in bed with Wall Street, Big Pharma, and support free trade agreements that cripple workers.
The mishaps of these lukewarm liberals shouldn’t let one squander his or her own Democratic stance. They should be a call for a truly progressive leader to step forward, and offer some solid leadership and actual change, unlike what Obama “promised.”