The last two political conferences I went to were the Americans for Prosperity national conference in Pittsburgh––and then the Americans for Prosperity conference in New Jersey last March. As a fat, old, bearded guy––I think I fit in very well with the right wing folks––and that enables me to walk amongst them, eat with them, and ask them questions about their politics. In a way, I feel inspired by Dian Fossey and her experience with the gorillas of Rwanda. She ate with them, walked amongst them, and watch them mate —for more than a year to get a sense of what they were like. You probably saw the movie Gorillas in the Mist. Well, I tried to do everything she did––except watch the right wing mate. But now, I feel more at home.
I drove down from New Jersey this morning to Washington DC to attend the Take Back America conference, which is a gathering of 800 or so progressives––and there is quite a difference from when this group gathered in 2008. Back then, we had a president who strongly favored offshore oil drilling, we were entrenched in a quagmire both in Iraq and Afghanistan, and Americans were very upset about the bailing of the financial industry.. But today, things are different: we have a president who favors offshore oil drilling, we are entrenched in a quagmire both in Iraq and Afghanistan and more Americans are more upset about bailing out of the financial industry. So, for progressives the more things change the more they remain the same.
At this conference, the “Take Back America” was subtitled “The America’s Future Now! Conference.”
Now, with a president who was selected on a progressive platform, the issue for most of the people here was: How do you hold the Democrats and Pres. Obama accountable for the platform that helped him get elected? Especially in an environment with a bad economy and Tea Party people ready to vote all incumbents out of office?
That seems to be the big question that everyone here will be trying to answer over the next 2 1/2 days.