The progressive locomotive that has energized the Democratic Party holds the potential to pull the whole train off the rails, former President Barack Obama indicated Saturday in remarks that stressed the need for political compromise.
Obama addressed a town hall event in Berlin that was sponsored by the Obama Foundation.
“One of the things I do worry about sometimes among progressives in the United States — maybe it’s true here as well — is a certain kind of rigidity where we say, ‘Uh, I’m sorry, this is how it’s going to be,’ and then we start sometimes creating what’s called a ‘circular firing squad,’ where you start shooting at your allies because one of them has strayed from purity on the issues. And when that happens, typically the overall effort and movement weakens,” he said, according to The Hill.
Progressives aren’t progressive enough for progressives pic.twitter.com/Z2DwzM8svL
— The Daily Wire (@realDailyWire) April 5, 2019
Obama touted the Affordable Care Act as a successful compromise, saying that while it did not achieve everything he wanted, it improved health care in America.
“So I think whether you are speaking as a citizen or as a political leader or as an organizer … you have to recognize that the way we structure democracy requires you to take into account people who don’t agree with you, and that by definition means you’re not going to get 100 percent of what you want,” he added.
Obama noted that there are limits to compromise.
“You should take some time to think in your own mind and continually refine and reflect, ‘What are my core principles?’ Because the danger is if you don’t know what your principles are, that’s when you compromise your principles away,” he said.
Balance is essential, Obama said.
“You can’t set up a system in which you don’t compromise on anything, but you also can’t operate in a system where you compromise on everything,” he said.
Obama’s comments stirred many on Twitter to respond.
The failed policies of “Hope & Change” are why we have Trump. I voted for & respect Pres Obama & was generally disappointed. Time 4A true progressive
— Jeffrey Ventre (@jeffrey_ventre) April 5, 2019
What a joke. Obama said moments ago he was concerned about# #Progressives in his party. Of course you can’t get more Progressive than #Obama and Hillary. Iv’e been concerned about Progressives in the DemocratParty since #WoodrowWilson. Before I was born. This is not new.
— Chuck Woolery (@chuckwoolery) April 6, 2019
Obama also took a slap at the right, Newsweek reported.
“Nationalism, particularly from the far-right, has re-emerged; a politics that divides us into us and them. And we know where that leads. Europe knows better than anyone where that leads,” Obama said.
Obama then told his audience that while times might seem good, the dangers that threaten society are real.
“We have to recognize that this moment is full of contradictions. Europe in 2019, in some ways, has achieved the pinnacle of human well-being. Collectively in Europe right now, on average, you probably see the highest standards of living of any group of people in the history of the planet,” he said.
Then came his concern for what comes next.
“(P)owerful forces are threatening to reverse many of these trends. The democratic institutions that helped to bring these about, often times, have been taken for granted. The planet that we live on is in danger,” he said.
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