HOME



Digby's Hullabaloo
2801 Ocean Park Blvd.
Box 157
Santa Monica, Ca 90405



Facebook: Digby Parton

Twitter:
@digby56
@Gaius_Publius
@BloggersRUs (Tom Sullivan)
@spockosbrain



emails:
Digby:
thedigbyblog at gmail
Dennis:
satniteflix at gmail
Gaius:
publius.gaius at gmail
Tom:
tpostsully at gmail
Spocko:
Spockosbrain at gmail
tristero:
Richardein at me.com








Infomania

Salon
Buzzflash
Mother Jones
Raw Story
Huffington Post
Slate
Crooks and Liars
American Prospect
New Republic
Common Dreams
AmericanPoliticsJournal
Smirking Chimp
CJR Daily
consortium news

Blog-o-rama

Eschaton
BagNewsNotes
Daily Kos
Political Animal
Driftglass
Firedoglake
Taylor Marsh
Spocko's Brain
Talk Left
Suburban Guerrilla
Scoobie Davis
Echidne
Electrolite
Americablog
Tom Tomorrow
Left Coaster
Angry Bear
oilprice.com
Seeing the Forest
Cathie From Canada
Frontier River Guides
Brad DeLong
The Sideshow
Liberal Oasis
BartCop
Juan Cole
Rising Hegemon
alicublog
Unqualified Offerings
Alas, A Blog
RogerAiles
Lean Left
Oliver Willis
skippy the bush kangaroo
uggabugga
Crooked Timber
discourse.net
Amygdala
the talking dog
David E's Fablog
The Agonist


Denofcinema.com: Saturday Night at the Movies by Dennis Hartley review archive

01/01/2003 - 02/01/2003 02/01/2003 - 03/01/2003 03/01/2003 - 04/01/2003 04/01/2003 - 05/01/2003 05/01/2003 - 06/01/2003 06/01/2003 - 07/01/2003 07/01/2003 - 08/01/2003 08/01/2003 - 09/01/2003 09/01/2003 - 10/01/2003 10/01/2003 - 11/01/2003 11/01/2003 - 12/01/2003 12/01/2003 - 01/01/2004 01/01/2004 - 02/01/2004 02/01/2004 - 03/01/2004 03/01/2004 - 04/01/2004 04/01/2004 - 05/01/2004 05/01/2004 - 06/01/2004 06/01/2004 - 07/01/2004 07/01/2004 - 08/01/2004 08/01/2004 - 09/01/2004 09/01/2004 - 10/01/2004 10/01/2004 - 11/01/2004 11/01/2004 - 12/01/2004 12/01/2004 - 01/01/2005 01/01/2005 - 02/01/2005 02/01/2005 - 03/01/2005 03/01/2005 - 04/01/2005 04/01/2005 - 05/01/2005 05/01/2005 - 06/01/2005 06/01/2005 - 07/01/2005 07/01/2005 - 08/01/2005 08/01/2005 - 09/01/2005 09/01/2005 - 10/01/2005 10/01/2005 - 11/01/2005 11/01/2005 - 12/01/2005 12/01/2005 - 01/01/2006 01/01/2006 - 02/01/2006 02/01/2006 - 03/01/2006 03/01/2006 - 04/01/2006 04/01/2006 - 05/01/2006 05/01/2006 - 06/01/2006 06/01/2006 - 07/01/2006 07/01/2006 - 08/01/2006 08/01/2006 - 09/01/2006 09/01/2006 - 10/01/2006 10/01/2006 - 11/01/2006 11/01/2006 - 12/01/2006 12/01/2006 - 01/01/2007 01/01/2007 - 02/01/2007 02/01/2007 - 03/01/2007 03/01/2007 - 04/01/2007 04/01/2007 - 05/01/2007 05/01/2007 - 06/01/2007 06/01/2007 - 07/01/2007 07/01/2007 - 08/01/2007 08/01/2007 - 09/01/2007 09/01/2007 - 10/01/2007 10/01/2007 - 11/01/2007 11/01/2007 - 12/01/2007 12/01/2007 - 01/01/2008 01/01/2008 - 02/01/2008 02/01/2008 - 03/01/2008 03/01/2008 - 04/01/2008 04/01/2008 - 05/01/2008 05/01/2008 - 06/01/2008 06/01/2008 - 07/01/2008 07/01/2008 - 08/01/2008 08/01/2008 - 09/01/2008 09/01/2008 - 10/01/2008 10/01/2008 - 11/01/2008 11/01/2008 - 12/01/2008 12/01/2008 - 01/01/2009 01/01/2009 - 02/01/2009 02/01/2009 - 03/01/2009 03/01/2009 - 04/01/2009 04/01/2009 - 05/01/2009 05/01/2009 - 06/01/2009 06/01/2009 - 07/01/2009 07/01/2009 - 08/01/2009 08/01/2009 - 09/01/2009 09/01/2009 - 10/01/2009 10/01/2009 - 11/01/2009 11/01/2009 - 12/01/2009 12/01/2009 - 01/01/2010 01/01/2010 - 02/01/2010 02/01/2010 - 03/01/2010 03/01/2010 - 04/01/2010 04/01/2010 - 05/01/2010 05/01/2010 - 06/01/2010 06/01/2010 - 07/01/2010 07/01/2010 - 08/01/2010 08/01/2010 - 09/01/2010 09/01/2010 - 10/01/2010 10/01/2010 - 11/01/2010 11/01/2010 - 12/01/2010 12/01/2010 - 01/01/2011 01/01/2011 - 02/01/2011 02/01/2011 - 03/01/2011 03/01/2011 - 04/01/2011 04/01/2011 - 05/01/2011 05/01/2011 - 06/01/2011 06/01/2011 - 07/01/2011 07/01/2011 - 08/01/2011 08/01/2011 - 09/01/2011 09/01/2011 - 10/01/2011 10/01/2011 - 11/01/2011 11/01/2011 - 12/01/2011 12/01/2011 - 01/01/2012 01/01/2012 - 02/01/2012 02/01/2012 - 03/01/2012 03/01/2012 - 04/01/2012 04/01/2012 - 05/01/2012 05/01/2012 - 06/01/2012 06/01/2012 - 07/01/2012 07/01/2012 - 08/01/2012 08/01/2012 - 09/01/2012 09/01/2012 - 10/01/2012 10/01/2012 - 11/01/2012 11/01/2012 - 12/01/2012 12/01/2012 - 01/01/2013 01/01/2013 - 02/01/2013 02/01/2013 - 03/01/2013 03/01/2013 - 04/01/2013 04/01/2013 - 05/01/2013 05/01/2013 - 06/01/2013 06/01/2013 - 07/01/2013 07/01/2013 - 08/01/2013 08/01/2013 - 09/01/2013 09/01/2013 - 10/01/2013 10/01/2013 - 11/01/2013 11/01/2013 - 12/01/2013 12/01/2013 - 01/01/2014 01/01/2014 - 02/01/2014 02/01/2014 - 03/01/2014 03/01/2014 - 04/01/2014 04/01/2014 - 05/01/2014 05/01/2014 - 06/01/2014 06/01/2014 - 07/01/2014 07/01/2014 - 08/01/2014 08/01/2014 - 09/01/2014 09/01/2014 - 10/01/2014 10/01/2014 - 11/01/2014 11/01/2014 - 12/01/2014 12/01/2014 - 01/01/2015 01/01/2015 - 02/01/2015 02/01/2015 - 03/01/2015 03/01/2015 - 04/01/2015 04/01/2015 - 05/01/2015 05/01/2015 - 06/01/2015 06/01/2015 - 07/01/2015 07/01/2015 - 08/01/2015 08/01/2015 - 09/01/2015 09/01/2015 - 10/01/2015 10/01/2015 - 11/01/2015 11/01/2015 - 12/01/2015 12/01/2015 - 01/01/2016 01/01/2016 - 02/01/2016 02/01/2016 - 03/01/2016 03/01/2016 - 04/01/2016 04/01/2016 - 05/01/2016 05/01/2016 - 06/01/2016 06/01/2016 - 07/01/2016 07/01/2016 - 08/01/2016 08/01/2016 - 09/01/2016 09/01/2016 - 10/01/2016 10/01/2016 - 11/01/2016 11/01/2016 - 12/01/2016 12/01/2016 - 01/01/2017


 

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Hullabaloo


Sunday, January 03, 2016

 
Turning that big ship around

by digby

















This is an excerpt of Peter Beinert's new essay in the Atlantic in which he argues that the country is moving left --- and that while there is a rightwing backlash forming, this time it's smaller and weaker than it was in the 1970s and cannot stop the leftward tide:
I came of age in the ’80s and ’90s, when the backlash against ’60s liberalism still struck terror into Democratic hearts. I watched as Ronald Reagan moved the country hard to the right, and as Bill Clinton made his peace with this new political reality by assuring white America that his party would fight crime mercilessly. Seeing this year’s Democratic candidates crumple before Black Lives Matter and shed Clinton’s ideological caution as they stampeded to the left, I imagined the country must be preparing for a vast conservative reaction.

But I was wrong. The more I examined the evidence, the more I realized that the current moment looks like a mirror image of the late ’60s and early ’70s. The resemblances are clear, but their political significance has been turned upside down. There is a backlash against the liberalism of the Obama era. But it is louder than it is strong. Instead of turning right, the country as a whole is still moving to the left.

[...]

If the lesson of the Reagan era had been that Democrats should give a Republican president his due, the lesson of the Bush era was that doing so brought disaster. In the Senate, Bush’s 2001 tax cut passed with 12 Democratic votes; the Iraq War was authorized with 29. As the calamitous consequences of these votes became clear, the revolt against them destroyed the Democratic Party’s centrist wing. “What I want to know,” declared an obscure Vermont governor named Howard Dean in February 2003, “is why in the world the Democratic Party leadership is supporting the president’s unilateral attack on Iraq. What I want to know is, why are Democratic Party leaders supporting tax cuts?” By year’s end, Dean—running for president against a host of Washington Democrats who had supported the war—was the clear front-runner for his party’s nomination.

With the Dean campaign came an intellectual revolution inside the Democratic Party. His insurgency helped propel Daily Kos, a group blog dedicated to stiffening the liberal spine. It energized the progressive activist group MoveOn. It also coincided with Paul Krugman’s emergence as America’s most influential liberal columnist and Jon Stewart’s emergence as America’s most influential liberal television personality. In 2003, MSNBC hired Keith Olbermann and soon became a passionately liberal network. In 2004, The New Republic apologized for having supported the Iraq War. In 2005, The Huffington Post was born as a liberal alternative to the Drudge Report. In 2006, Joe Lieberman, the Democratic Party’s most outspoken hawk, lost his Democratic Senate primary and became an Independent. In 2011, the Democratic Leadership Council—having lost its influence years earlier—closed its doors.

By the time Barack Obama defeated Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008, in part because of her support for the Iraq War, the mood inside the party had fundamentally changed. Whereas the party’s most respected thinkers had once urged Democrats to critique liberal orthodoxy, they now criticized Democrats for not defending that orthodoxy fiercely enough. The presidency of George W. Bush had made Democrats unapologetically liberal, and the presidency of Barack Obama was the most tangible result.
He goes on to talk about Occupy, Warren and Sanders as reactions against Obama (or perhaps more aptly, the reality that electing a president isn't enough.)
Arguably more significant than the Sanders campaign itself is the way Democratic elites have responded to it. In the late 1980s and the ’90s, they would have savaged him. For the Democratic Leadership Council, which sought to make the party more business-friendly, an avowed Socialist would have been the perfect foil. Today, in a Democratic Party whose guiding ethos is “no enemies to the left,” Sanders has met with little ideological resistance. That’s true not only among intellectuals and activists but among many donors. Journalists often assume that Democrats who write big checks oppose a progressive agenda, at least when it comes to economics. And some do. But as John Judis has reported in National Journal, the Democracy Alliance, the party’s most influential donor club, which includes mega-funders such as George Soros and Tom Steyer, has itself shifted leftward during the Obama years. In 2014, it gave Warren a rapturous welcome when she spoke at the group’s annual winter meeting. Last spring it announced that it was making economic inequality its top priority.

He points out the various ways in which the Clinton campaign is further to the left than it was in 2008 and how it continues to be pressed by Sanders' agenda. Read the whole thing.  It's very thought provoking.

The problem with the piece is that it doesn't discuss foreign policy where everything is all mixed up at the moment. (Odd that Beinert of all people wouldn't go there.) You've got interventionist and non-interventionists of all kinds in both parties, which is odd considering how polarized we are about everything else  This could shake the whole thing up. We are, after all, in an era of terrorism and instability in a very hot part of the world and it's likely to get worse.

It's a mistake to believe it's all going in one single leftward trajectory. Politics rarely works as cleanly as all that, at least in the moment. And outside events can shake up the dynamic overnight so nobody should rest on their laurels. But as it stands I think he is correct. We are moving leftward, for a lot of reasons, and the Democratic Party is reluctantly moving with it.

The Republicans, on the other hand, are having a political seizure worse than the Democrats had in 1972. People like Bill Kristol are openly talking about having to form a third party. The establishment is finding they have very little power anymore having ceded it to its crazy media and conservative institutions. Even Big Money, with all the arrogance it assumed after Citizens United is flummoxed in the face of a clownish celebrity billionaire. The conservative movement is at war with itself over the tactical efficacy of repeatedly shutting the government and defaulting on the debt out of a belief they can enact their agenda by sheer force. They are, quite simply, a mess, and Democrats have more room to move than they've had in decades.

Beinert says that the next Republican president will be more liberal than George Bush and if that's true, it looks like we aren't going to see another Republican president for quite some time. I know the standard CW is that once they lose some elections they'll get right, but there are structural impediments to that happening very soon.  The base of the GOP has been indoctrinated in radicalism for decades and the institutions they have built, if they sober up, have a lot of work to do to change how the base thinks about this. (They can always cheat, and have no problem rationalizing it, in which case it doesn't really matter what the majority of the country wants.)

Still, if a Democrat wins with a leftward mandate, whether it be Clinton or Sanders, it is certain they will disappoint. Our system pretty much bakes that into the cake. Even if you go back and look at the most successful presidencies like Roosevelt's or Reagan's you see that they were always fighting their flanks. But that's because it's the flank's job to fight the fight against the other team --- and the center --- while the president has to contend with a system that gives the opposing minority vast power to obstruct. It sucks, but it is what it is until Americans decide to change it.

In my lifetime, Carter, Clinton and Obama all made the left feel frustrated and disenchanted. But the truth is that presidencies are just one of the instruments we use to turn the ship of state to port and it takes a lot of momentum to get that done. In my view, that's happening and it's picking up steam. The best sign of it is the shrieking of the right wing as it watches its great movement lose its moorings.

But they accomplished a lot. Perhaps as much as the New Deal in their own way. And they aren't finished yet. This will go back and forth, it always does. But right now, I do believe we're heading back in the right direction, too slowly of course and, as always, in fits and starts.  Unless something happens. And something can always happen.


.