A Damning Assessment of the American Left
October 29th, 2013

From Ian Welsh, a progressive writer, in the course of explaining why the liberal blog movement failed:

Unlike the Tea Party, most left wingers don’t really believe their own ideology.  They put partisanship first, or they put the color of a candidate’s skin or the shape of their genitals over the candidate’s policy.  Identity is more important to them than how many brown children that politician is killing.

So progressives have no power, because they have no principles: they cannot be expected to actually vote for the most progressive candidate, to successfully primary candidates, to care about policy first and identity second, to not take scraps from the table and sell out other progressive’s interests.

Yowza. You could make lots of counter-arguments–starting with the fact that the Dean movement eventually elected the most liberal American president in modern history. Obama might not be as liberal as the progressive base would like–and certainly on issue such as Guantanamo, the NSA, and foreign policy in general, he duped them entirely. But even so; he brought gifts, too.

But what’s really interesting here is that this sounds like the kind of revisionist dissatisfaction which conservatives eventually settled on in regards to George W. Bush. (And you could make nearly all the same arguments about the conservative blogosphere too, I think.)

I’ve long suspected that the aftermath of Obama’s tenure will be a deep sense of ennui in American politics–and especially in the American left. I wonder if the Obamacare debacle isn’t the beginning of that.

(Jerome Armstrong responds with similar thoughts.)

  1. Jason O. October 29, 2013 at 12:34 pm

    Was the Dean movement the logical next step from the widespread lefty (that’s right I said lefty, be glad I didn’t say pinko) sentiment that Gore was Montreal screw-jobbed in 2000? (Notwithstanding of course the media consortium that concluded that had the FL ballots been counted by the Gore campaign’s standards, Bush still would have won. )

  2. REPLY
  3. David October 29, 2013 at 5:23 pm

    On the last part about ennui — I, too, have had that suspicion, but it is still an inchoate one. If you get the chance, I’d love to hear you expound upon your thoughts.

  4. REPLY
  5. Judith October 30, 2013 at 12:15 am

    There may be a hiccup on the left. Quite a few otherwise intelligent people invested quite a lot in Obama’s shiny image and if they haven’t been disillusioned yet, it’s going to get harder and harder not to be. But, I don’t know that any ennui on the left will be capitalized on by conservatives – judging by the recent shutdown theater, probably not. I fear a vacuum in which we drift further into the maw of the state, not enthusiastically, but no single coherent vision to change course.

  6. REPLY
  7. troy garrett October 30, 2013 at 10:57 am

    First “ennui ” is a great word I will start using it in casual conversation. That is pure SAT prep gold.

    Second, I think most democrats on the street are closer to Obama than the average tea party member is close to Mitt Romney. We do not want Communism.Yea we look at the rest of the word and say gee they can live longer and healthier and spend 5% of GNP on health care die younger and are sicker and we spend 18% of health care lets do what the rest of the world does on health care. If you don’t believe me compare the US life expectancy to any other industrialized country with socialized medicine. we are 78 Canada Japan UK Germany France they are at 80-82.
    Use Google explore

    I find it madding that when I point that out conservatives.
    A: Don’t hear me
    B: Don’t believe me
    C: Don’t care
    Our health care system is so screwed up that any thing even Obama care would be an improvement. If the we page never gets fixed Obama care would be an improvement because people can still get insurance over the phone or by snail mail.

  8. REPLY
  9. Laser October 31, 2013 at 9:44 am

    Yeah but what do doctors earn in those countries. I think a big part of conservative opposition to helath care reform is that even if they aren’t a doctor, the idea that doctors go from making 200k or more to 60k under a socialism model is anathema. After all, if highly educated specialized professions are going to get their knees cut out from under them, what about me and my less prestigous white collar job?

  10. REPLY
  11. jon October 31, 2013 at 12:44 pm

    Any demographic/ethnic/racial differences between U.S. and those countries? Any at all?

  12. REPLY
  13. troy garrett October 31, 2013 at 9:37 pm

    I will answer Jon’s point naturally our demographic and racial difference is different from every other country in the first world. But Life expectancy is easy to look up and easy to understand and weather it is Japan the UK or Italy. They live longer than we do. Also wile it is nice to say that we are all first world countries. On a per capital GDP biases the US 150%the wealth and yet we do not live as long. The basic fact that we are 50% richer than most of these other countries and still live 3-4 years less is enough to say, ok Sign me up for what ever heath care they have.

    To Laser’s point My brother is a doctor and he makes 650,000 a year. Yes if the us moved to an socialized model then he might just have to make 240,000 that is what doctors at the VA make. But, he says it would not necessarily lower his quality of life. For several reasons. If socialize medicine the law suites go away have you ever tried suing city hall. Getting sued sucks and it costs money paying medical malpractice insurance sucks.

  14. REPLY
  15. jon November 1, 2013 at 1:42 pm

    You didn’t answer my point–you elided it. Compare Caucasian populations to Caucasian populations and life expetancies are basically the same. Any remaining differences would likely be explained by work habits (we work harder) and dietary factors. Those are cultural choices that have nothing to do with the health care system as currently constructed.

    The minority population in this country is overwhelmingly obese, much more likely to smoke, and much more likely to engage in/or be the victim of violent crime. Again, all serious problems, but none of them have much to do with whether or not the health care system is socialized or not.

  16. REPLY
  17. Nedward November 1, 2013 at 6:46 pm

    Anybody spot the huge non-barking mutt lounging behind Armstrong’s (otherwise interesting) post? You may remember NBC-Comcast/TimeWarner/the Wash Post Co. declaring it the people-power story of the year & overall rockin’est par-tay since NASCAR-Soccer-Year-of-the-Angry-White-Women. Its stakeholders assured Buzzfeed’s top men that this was certainly not some astro-turf rent-a-mob funded-by-Valerie-Jarrett/Jamie-Dimon freak media fad like the macarena or Wikipedia. I am speaking of course, of Occupy Woodstock