Last week a group of liberal activists and academics, led by consumer advocate Ralph Nader and scholar Cornel West, announced they were looking for six “recognizable, articulate” liberal candidates to launch primary challenges against President Barack Obama. The point of the six challengers would be to keep President Obama “honest” on issues like civil rights, consumer protections, labor and foreign policy.
In response to the call by Nader and West for primary challengers to President Obama, former United States Senator Russ Feingold made it clear he thinks a primary challenge to President Obama is a bad idea.
“I strongly disagree with Ralph Nader. As I’ve said many times before, I believe that re-electing President Obama is an absolute imperative for our economy, our judicial system, for progressives and for our country,”
Feingold went on to note the difficult circumstances our nation faced when President Obama took office, as well as the accomplishments of President Obama during his first term in office.
President Obama took office in a time of historic challenge for the country. He passed the Recovery Act to bring our economy back from the brink, implemented historic health insurance reform to make health care more affordable and accessible, repealed the discriminatory Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy, and rejected the conventional wisdom in Washington to offer a life-saving loan to the auto industry, saving 1.4 million jobs.
Now, facing Republican candidates that are bought-and-sold by corporate money, and who want to give more tax breaks to the wealthiest and attack the rights of working Americans, the President is fighting to create jobs and provide economic security for middle class families. 2012 will be a close and competitive election, and in an environment after the lawless Citizens United decision, where corporate special interests will be out there fighting for Mitt Romney and Rick Perry, progressives must unite to ensure that the President is reelected.
It goes without saying (at least for most anyone who’s left of center) that despite his shortcomings as a leader, re-electing President Obama is far more palatable than seeing one of the current crop of extremist Republican presidential candidates elected in 2012.