More leftist internecine warfare!
Just to supplement a bit the central argument of this great post from Shawn, I’d like to point your attention towards the following from The Monkey Cage. In the post, Eric Schickler, “a political scientist at UC-Berkeley who has done research (forthcoming) on public opinion, FDR, and the New Deal,” offers some informed push-back against that much talked about Westen piece, and in the process reveals how important it is for those of us who don’t reside in the comfy center to remain perpetually unsatisfied:
While FDR’s inaugural did include salvos against the “unscrupulous money changers,” his actual policies in his first term relied heavily on cooperation with the business community. The NRA —which FDR hailed as the most important recovery measure—essentially allowed businesses to form cartels, under the friendly supervision of the pro-business Hugh Johnson. Many of the signal liberal accomplishments of the New Deal were not initiated by FDR; in several cases, the president came to reluctantly embrace policies that social movements on the left and liberal advocates in Congress forced onto the agenda.
Indeed, during FDR’s first three years in office, his version of the New Deal faced more serious challenges from populists and insurgents on the left than from Republicans. Far from the bold, unyielding advocate fighting off conservative resistance, the FDR of the first New Deal was navigating between competing ideological camps, attempting to build a broad, all-class alliance. Indeed, FDR was always surrounded by teams of advisers with widely divergent views of the government’s role and he kept them—and the public—guessing about which side he was really on.
For the life of me, I don’t know what fantasy world Democratic party apologists and Obama defenders are living in when they tell unhappy leftists that the best way to forward their agenda is to clap louder for the President. Somehow the griping, kvetching, moaning, and teeth-gnashing* hurts Obama. Like shell-shocked veterans forever reliving some horrific, doomed battle, they intone that we must always remember Nader; never forget.
And the fact that, most of the time, the very same people who are ranting on the myriad evils of “Firebaggers” and the like are the selfsame folks who derisively mock Glenn Greenwald’s (or whomever) pretensions towards wielding influence…?
Well, I suppose reason is always the first casualty of love.
(*Just so no one gets the mistaken impression that I think a bunch of whining on the internet somehow makes things better: I don’t and it doesn’t. What makes things better is doing the kind of stuff people have been doing for weeks now in Wisconsin, the fruition of which we won’t know until possibly the wee hours of the morning. But just as writing very impassioned and downright perturbed comments on a message board doesn’t aid the coming worker’s revolution of gay marriage and mandated maternity leave for both men and women, it doesn’t hurt Obama’s striving towards forcing Bankers to ask nicely — twice, even! — before they lay down enormous bets that will quite likely nuke the American economy.)
(x-posted at Flower & Thistle)