Looks like Greenwald agrees with me, instead of vice versa! No, not really. But what he writes here is what I (and other people of course) have been writing since Year One of Obama. There is nowhere for the loyal progressive to go. Obama will not only not listen to them, he will actively work against them in order to gain credibility as a moderate.
I've already listed the consequences for the upcoming Presidential election. There is now nothing that progressives in the U.S. can do, at the national level, that will not hurt them in the near term. Oppose Obama, and they get blamed if he loses, derided as of no account if he wins. Support him, and get less than nothing if he loses, and he returns to hippie punching nonstop if he wins. "Hippie punching" is a good descriptive phrase, but in more serious terms this means starting wars, killing and torturing people, and generally shredding civil liberties, as well as completely failing to do anything about global warming.
A lot of Greenwald's article is well-worn themes (to me, anyways) about how the GOP didn't force Obama into this, and how Congress didn't force Obama into this. When he e.g. refuses to close Guantanimo, it's because he doesn't want to, not because he can't. He's a failure as a President both on the principled and pragmatic levels. Where I disagree with Greenwald is where Greenwald writes that a rational politician would of course kick his base when it brings a benefit and no cost. I know that Greenwald is writing rhetorically, but that is "rational" in the same way as a lot of short-term economic thinking is rational. Politicians don't obtain long-term success for their policies by alienating their base.
What can progressives do at this point? Well, the two readers of my blog know what I did -- I became some kind of anarchist. (I'll write more about that sometime, after delicate spousal negotiations about what we can do with our joint resources towards what is essentially a side interest of mine.) This does as much nothing as continuing to be a progressive does, but it at least does not involve being a sucker.
I've seen some progressives come up with various Rube Goldberg plans -- support Obama later, but not now, or do electoral politics only at the state and local level. I know of precisely one jurisdiction, Wisconsin, where state politics seems worthwhile at the moment because of its ability to send a general message. Otherwise? Well, maybe.
A lot of the discussions that progressives and the left generally are having strike me as the same "failure is not an option" nonsense that (digby, was it?) criticized so trenchantly around the Iraq War. Failure is certainly an option. "Failure is not an option" is one thing that people who suffer from terminal diseases say on their way to acceptance. The U.S. in particular is well on its way to failure on a variety of levels, a failure that Obama has only exacerbated by failing to provide a real choice.
If failure looks likely, then really all you can do is hope for a lucky break. If that break comes, do you want it to be wasted by absorbing whatever energy there is right back into the support of some other Democratic pol, who will use it to maintain the same failed system? Or, if we're reduced to hoping for a break, why not hope for a larger one?
The title of this post is from one of my poems, written during the Bush era, but even more relevant now. Don't blame Obama, enablers. Of course people look up to a successful con. Just decide to not be a sucker next time.
No use to blame the con men
We're heard it all before
Everybody loves a con
But suckers are a bore