"a failure of the Democratic Party as well"

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In an excerpt from his 2016 book Listen, Liberal, Thomas Frank's look at how the Democratic elite undermined the system expresses no small dismay at Obama's lost opportunities in 2009:

To say "the centre held", as one of his biographers, Jonathan Alter, does, is an optimistic way to describe Barack Obama's accomplishment. Another would be to say he saved a bankrupt system that by all rights should have met its end. America came through an economic debacle, an earthquake that shook people's faith to the ground. Yet out of it, the system emerged largely unchanged. The predators resumed operations. Everything pretty much stayed the same.

"It is the Republicans, certainly, who bear primary responsibility for our modern plutocracy in the United States," he observes:

They are the party that launched us on our modern era of tax-cutting and wage-suppressing. They are the ones who made a religion of the market and who fought so ferociously to open our politics to the influence of money at every level.

Democrats deserve plenty of blame for being enablers, he points out, noting that "our current situation represents a failure of the Democratic Party as well:"

Protecting the middle-class society was the Democrats' assigned historical task, and once upon a time they would have taken to the job with relish. Shared prosperity was once the party's highest aim; defending the middle-class world was a kind of sacred mission for them, as they never used to tire of reminding us. And to this day, Democrats are still the ones who [in the election campaign of 2016] pledge to raise the minimum wage and the taxes of the rich.

When it comes to tackling the "defining challenge of our time" however, many of our modern Democratic leaders falter. They acknowledge that inequality is rampant and awful, but they cannot find the conviction or imagination to do what is necessary to reverse it. Instead they offer the same high-minded demurrals and policy platitudes they've been offering since the 1980s. They remind us that there's nothing anyone can do about globalisation or technology. They promise charter schools, and job training, and student loans, but other than that - well, they've got nothing.

It's difficult to fight something--however awful that something is--with nothing, but The Resistance is shaping up to be, perhaps, just the sort of something that is needed. At TPM, Josh Marshall reminds us that the Resistance harkens back to the 2005 efforts to protect Social Security from Bush's privatization schemes:

We are hearing again now that the repeated protests and aggressive questioning at Republican townhalls is Democrats taking a page from the Tea Party playbook of 2009 and 2010. People have short memories. The real reference is to 2005 when Democrats turned out at Republican townhalls to protest President Bush's plan to partially phaseout Social Security. Those protests (or in many cases simply turnout) helped kill the plan by scaring off congressional Republicans. They also presaged the Democratic blowout in the 2006 midterms. It was 2005 that Tea Partiers (and the GOP pressure groups organizing them) explicitly referenced in 2009.

We certainly shouldn't give conservatives credit for liberal achievements, which is something that The Federalist's Robert Tracinski strives mightily to do in asserting that The Resistance won't be the new Tea Party. Tracinski purports to provide "the context for the Tea Party movement," but immediately stoops to condescension by proclaiming that "Democrats never really understood the Tea Party:"

In fact, they avoided understanding it because they preferred their own narrative to the facts. [...] It's the closest thing I've ever experienced to the Norman Rockwell vision of old-fashioned town hall politics."

He then mocks Democrats as "the revolutionary vanguard trying to herd the proletariat into following them."

That's why there won't be a Tea Party movement for the Left. [...] They're trying to throw their own party even farther out of balance with the rest of the country.

What was that about preferring one's own narrative over the facts? Coming from someone who espouses a distinctly minority ideology, that sounds like projection to me...

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This page contains a single entry by cognitivedissident published on February 10, 2017 2:32 PM.

French intellectuals was the previous entry in this blog.

NRx (Neoreaction) and the Dark Enlightenment is the next entry in this blog.

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