Just a year after its founding, PDA ( Progressive Democrats of America) claimed thousands of members and chapters in thirty-six states. In fact, PDA (Progressive Democrats of America) was just one tree in a forest of new progressive Democrat-type formations that sprung up after the 2004 debacle. Democracy for America became prominent in this period, especially with the accession of Howard Dean to chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) in 2005. The Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) reorganized itself, hiring a full-time staffer for the first time and producing a programmatic document, the “Progressive Promise.” The activities of the progressive Democrats were (and still are) heavily promoted in the left-liberal press, such as the Nation. These were heady times for Progressives. They had Dick Cheney to focus against, they had Dean for leadership.

Then came success:

“The elections of 2006 and 2008 gave the Democratic Party dominion over the most important sectors of the federal government: an enormous House majority, a Senate super-majority, and the all-important White House. What’s more, after 2008 the Democrats had a clear mandate for major reforms: Obama’s presidency was pre-emptively declared “transformational,” and the president was even awarded the Nobel Peace Price, in the same way you might give a child a too-big jacket, hoping he’ll grow into it. … “

“In 2005, there were a little over 50 members of the CPC (Congressional Progressive Caucus). After the 2006 election, it was 63. This past summer (211th Congress), there were 83 members; it is actually the largest single caucus in the Democratic Party. The Blue Dogs, by way of contrast, have 54 members. Of the 20 standing committees of the House in the 111th Congress, 10 were chaired by members of the CPC(Congressional Progressive Caucus). It’s a similar story with the Congressional Out of Iraq Caucus: in 2005 there were 41 members; today there are 73. The back-to-back electoral success also vindicated Howard Dean’s “50-state strategy” as DNC chief; Obama’s primary and then general election triumph was cheered by progressive Dems, who vastly favored Obama over Hillary Clinton”

However, the gains of the Democrats after November 2006 failed to translate into actual reforms–which was supposed to be, you know, the point.

In 2007, 140 House Democrats voted against the war supplemental. In 2008–remember, Bush was still in office–151 House Democrats voted against. The situation was completely changed after Obama became president. In June 2009, only 32 House Democrats voted against the war funding!

The 2010 war supplemental was passed with only 25 House Democrats voting no–about a third of the size of the alleged Out of Iraq Caucus! Thus in the second year of the Obama administration, the House Democratic vote against war funding has declined by a factor of six.

In a kind of half-assed substitute for the collapse of the vote against war funding, the progressive Dems voted for Afghanistan “exit strategy” legislation devised by Rep. Jim McGovern. Instead of forcing the administration’s hand by turning off the money spigot, as they would a Republican president, the McGovern bill makes a rather retarded request for Obama Mission Control to come up with an “exit strategy”.

Finally, as a kind of tragicomic coda, we should note that Gen. David Petraeus, the literal author of the Iraq surge strategy that the Democrats mostly opposed in 2007, was confirmed by the Senate 99-0 to lead the war on Afghanistan–after the McChrystal affair exposed that the Afghanistan “surge” was in total crisis….

How can we explain this seeming inconsistency?

In the first period, the main task of the progressive Democrats was to direct all progressives toward the Democratic Party so that the Democrats could take power.

In the second (current) period, on the other hand, the main task of the progressive Democrats is to keep the Democratic Party in power; they are now the left wing of the party in charge of American imperialist capitalism.

Because the progressive Democrats’ whole theory of social change revolves around “working through the system”, they need to stay “in the system”; but for them to stay “in the system”, the Democratic Party has to “stay in power”; but for the Democrats to “stay in power”, they have to “stay within the bounds” set by the capitalist elite that really runs the country.

And hence the Tea Party steps in… America is frustrated with this elite. The Democrats, once the harbingers of change, have now been seen to have acquiesced; they capitulated to the corporations, leaving millions of frustrated Americans to turn to the Tea Party as their next best hope… Now, they are again starting the process of slowly understanding that the Tea Party, founded on principals of libertarianism, has now got sucked in as well….

The people are really removed from their government. The goal now seems to be which party of corporate elitism can best fool the people into casting their votes. It has become a sham game, which the fourth estate, the media, seems complacently to be a part.

A line needs to be drawn in the sand. Who is our government really working for: the top 1%? or the other 99% ?

Democrats, Republicans, Tea Partiers, Progressives, Greens, Reformers, Libertarians, and all other labels…. don’t mean anything anymore… And that is the frustration with which America is seething. Who does mean something? The top 1%?…Are they’re the only ones who mean anything to those in charge of our government….?

This frustration could be easily abated…. by simply removing the Bush Tax cuts if only for only the top 1%….

Based on the numbers of our population, 99-1, that should sail through Congress as easily as Petreaus’s nomination….