Ordinary World


Andrew Donaldson

Born and raised in West Virginia, Andrew has since lived and traveled around the world several times over. Though frequently writing about politics out of a sense of duty and love of country, most of the time he would prefer discussions on history, culture, occasionally nerding on aviation, and his amateur foodie tendencies. He can usually be found misspelling/misusing words on Twitter @four4thefire and his writing website Yonderandhome.com

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15 Responses

  1. Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

    OW6: I remain a firm believer that payroll taxes are a terrible idea, right up there with not taxing employer provided health care benefits.Report

  2. Avatar Mike Dwyer says:

    OW2 ““This is a story around which a broader political consensus can form without smothering disagreement or masking dark chapters of our history. It conveys to Americans the dramatic fragility of progress and the ever-present tendency to relapse into tribalism, cynicism, and selfishness. It creates a never-finished project that each generation hands to the next. Most importantly, it gives liberals a reason to embrace something they usually eschew: patriotic pride in a nation devoted not to a territory, a deity, or a tribe, but to a set of ideas.”

    This was a central thesis in Mark Lilla’s Once and Future Liberal which really made a lot of sense to me. He said where Democrats/liberals really started failing was when they stopped talking about grand ideas and started focusing so much on everyone’s personal cause. I don’t see any chance of that changing any time soon, but I would loved to be proved wrong.Report

    • Avatar Philip H says:

      And once again semantic turns get used to mask reality. Liberals do talk about grand ideas. Take Equality – pretty grand idea, which has yet to truly and fully express itself in the US. We can debate what equality is all day, but that matters not one wit to a woman of color denied a promotion because of gender or race. It matters not one wit to a gay Latino man who can’t be by his husband’s side as the latter lays dying due to cancer because their union of 30 plus years is not legally recognized. It matters no one wit to a poor child in rural Appalachia who stumbles onto the wider world via the Internet in her school, but will never be equipped by her underfunded public education to overcome the inertia of remaining with her kin, even though that will consign her to more poverty.

      You may not like how liberals approach dealing with grand ideas, but we are devoted to them nonetheless.Report

      • Avatar Mike Dwyer says:

        The problem is that liberals say they believe in equality, but most of them believe in their cause de jour more. You’re a white guy with a good job. You have the luxury of caring about everyone else’s cause. The gay latino doesn’t really care that much about the kid in Appalachia or the black women denied the promotion.

        Lilla’s thesis (and one I would echo) is that when everyone is pursuing their own self-interests it’s hard to worry about the greater good. Can you imagine Kennedy asking the left what they can do for their country today? He would be laughed out of the room.Report

        • Avatar greginak says:

          Umm Obama and the D’s spent an immense amout of time and political capital to try to move towards Universal Health Care. That is for, you know, everybody. While i don’t agree with some of the rhetoric or ideas, climate change is something that affects everybody and only the left side of the aisle is trying to do anything.. “Free college”, universal pre-K

          So no not really.Report

        • Avatar Philip H says:

          @ Mike,
          The problem with your analogies is that you divorce the cause dejour from the grand ideas and then elevate the cause to the level of grand idea instead of seeing it as the practical action to give life to the grand idea.

          It’s also a bit insulting to say I care because i can afford to. I cared when I was highschool student. I cared when I was in college and eating Ramen. I cared when I was going through my divorce and having to spend tens of thousands of dollars a year just to parent my kids. I care because my parents and my church raised me to care, not because I’m a well off white guy. I’d also say you probably need to interact with more of the folks I and other liberals care about because some of the strongest, most hard working advocates I know for solving our nations problems – including the problems of others – are the disadvantaged themselves.

          And yeah I can imagine Kennedy asking that question because Bernie asked that question, as did Obama, and Clinton, and Carter.Report

          • Avatar Mike Dwyer says:


            I’ll just quote Mark Lilla here:

            “The forces at work in healthy party politics are centripetal; they encourage factions and interests to come together to work out common goals and strategies. They oblige everyone to think, or at least speak, about the common good. In movement politics, the forces are all centrifugal, encouraging splits into smaller and smaller factions obsessed with single issues and practicing rituals of ideological one-upmanship…What the New Left did not do was contribute to the unification of the Democratic Party and the development of a liberal vision of Americans’ shared future. And as interest slowly shifted from issue-based movements to identity-based ones, the focus of American liberalism also shifted from commonality to difference.”

            I will also note that the Hidden Tribes study says that Progressive Activists are, “Almost three times more likely to be “ashamed to be an American”. Meanwhile, Traditional Liberals (my group) are, “Twelve percent more likely to say, “The people I agree with politically need to be willing to listen to others and compromise” and seventeen percent more likely to say, “We need to heal as a nation”Report

            • Avatar Philip H says:

              @ Mike Dwyer,

              “I will also note that the Hidden Tribes study says that Progressive Activists are, “Almost three times more likely to be “ashamed to be an American”. Meanwhile, Traditional Liberals (my group) are, “Twelve percent more likely to say, “The people I agree with politically need to be willing to listen to others and compromise” and seventeen percent more likely to say, “We need to heal as a nation””

              Both you and the author make the heinous mistake that all three definitions are mutually exclusive. “We need to heal as a nation” is directly correlated to how much or little shame one feels as an American, and listening and compromising has been part and parcel of the Progressive approach for decades. Sadly, your true conservative “friends” no longer believe in such listening and compromise. As but one example – Conservative pundits, Republican politicians, and on the street conservatives (whom I am surrounded by daily in Southern Mississippi) continue to spout the outright lie that Democrats refused to fund border security, even though House Democrats under Ms. Pelosi agreed to the full President’s Budget Request for border security for this fiscal year, and then threw billions more on the table to end the federal furlough. Likewise those same folks have been saying for years their number one priority was killing the ACA, even though the vast majority of concepts in the ACA are Republican in origin having been written by the Heritage Foundation a decade or so earlier. Thus the reason Progressives appear unwilling to listen to the conservative block in American politics is that when we have listened and compromised, we’ve been accused of doing nothing anyway, and/or then had to witness our compromise being tanked legislatively simple to consolidate and hold political power. Bluntly, Progressives have no reason to listen more or compromise further when the representatives of the other side of the aisle behave thusly.Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer says:


                At this point I’m not talking about Progressives talking to Republicans. I keep saying this, and maybe I need to publish some kind of manifesto somewhere to get this point across, but for me the conversation needs to happen between Progressives and traditional liberals. I see a huge disconnect right now, which is why the Center is growing so large. That is the group you all are pushing away.

                And yeah, many of them (maybe even me) will pull the lever for the Democrats next year because Trump is awful, but that would not be a confirmation of liberal unity.Report

          • Avatar Mike Dwyer says:


            It’s also great that you were engaged on all of those things, but the tricky part of being a Progressive is that while it is a VERY white group, you lose points for white privilege (unless of course, appropriate confessions of sin are regularly made, which buys a certain period of grace).Report

        • W is the one who started two wars and asked for zero sacrifices to win them, and followed up with the best way to defeat international terrorism was to shop.Report

          • Avatar Mike Dwyer says:

            Far be it from me to endorse the Iraq War (I’m on record as being opposed to it from the start) but approval ratings prior to were as high as 60%. It turns out, Americans love a war when they think it’s a good idea.Report

  3. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    OW3: The states mentioned are New Hampshire, New Mexico, Nevada, and Colorado. The only one I plausibly buy here is New Hampshire because they are idiosyncratic. The other three are ground zeroes for growing Hispanic/Latino populations and backlashes to Trump. Colorado’s Tom Tancredo was proto-Trump and he is no more.

    With anything Trump, you can’t tell how much bluster is here or not.Report

    • Avatar Philip H says:

      The growing Latino populations in those states may not like Mr. Turmp’s immigration policies, but they often support socially conservative causes like anti-abortion legislation and anti-gay marriage activities. Trump and his folks are not wrong to thusly think they can flip those states, especially of current immigration policies keep a sizable block of those folks out of voting booths.Report

  4. Avatar CJColucci says:

    OW6: I used to think that we’d get a Value-Added Tax once Democrats understood that it was a money machine and Republicans understood that it was regressive. Instead, it seems that we won’t get it because Democrats understand that it’s regressive and Republicans understand that it’s a money machine.Report