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Narcissism and Electoral Politics: An Unappealing Combination

[ 74 ] June 20, 2012 |

I heartily endorse Garry Wills’s response to Roberto Unger. And the point about party leadership extends to both candidates. As I’ve said before, the even bigger error being made by the “Obamney” crowd is to assume that his relatively moderate record as governor of Massachusetts is somehow indicative of an underlying moderation that will surface as president. It says nothing about how he’ll act as the head of a very different political coalition in a different political context. Expecting major brokerage parties to lead radical social change is ridiculous, and I can’t believe that Unger really believes the central thrust of what he’s saying.  And if he believes that Obama losing will transform the Democrats into a social democratic party 2008 must be the first time he’s paid attention to a presidential election.

I would actually push the point further and say that it’s also critical to consider institutional factors. One rejoined to Wills’s point is that it’s not just Obama, but the Democratic party itself that is no great shakes. Which is true, but it’s not just a straightforward question of making Democrats more liberal; a progressive party that can’t put together a majority coalition in both houses of Congress isn’t worth anything. The structure of Congress, particularly strong bicameralism compounded by the malapportionment of the Senate, give the minority of conservative Democrats disproportionate power, and in most of theses states they can’t be replaced by liberal Democrats. Republicans have more leeway to be ideologically homogenous. This is a fundamental problem that can’t be easily solved by wishing for a politically purer president or other party leader or another third party suicide bombing like 2000.

Of course, this kind of narcissism is hardly confined to leftier-than-thous. I give you verbatim Mr. Tommy Friedman:

Obama loyalists often say: “Those Republicans are so bad. They’ve tried to block us at every turn.” Yes, the G.O.P. has tried to stymie Obama; it’s been highly destructive. But the people who keep pointing that out don’t have an answer for the simplest next question: Why have they gotten away with it?

My view: It’s because too many Americans in the center-left/center-right do not feel in their guts that Obama is leading — is offering an economic plan at the scale of the problem that has a chance for bipartisan support and that makes them want to get up out of their chairs and do battle. Our situation is different from four years ago; people want to know the president has a plan for getting out of this mess.

Shorter Tom Friedman: memememememememememe! I demand that the president cater exclusively to my interests and values, and if he does David Broder will bring us all bipartsian ponies from the afterlife, by marshaling the massive power that Warren Buffet has over congressional Republicans! Needless to say, Freidman also goes the full Kaus, complaining that Obama is running a “campaign that amounts to a series of discrete appeals to each of the Democratic Party constituencies.” Look, you women and African-Americans and labor unions just get out of the way and let plutocrats decide how best to inflict pain on middle class people, OK?

Needless to say, this kind of puerility is much worse coming from the onanistic “radical” center than it is from the left. Many of the issues Unger discusses are, at least, largely excluded from serious consideration in American politics, however odd it is to blame Obama for this. Friedman’s ideas, conversely, are represented in American politics far out of proportion with their political support, and Obama already reflects them all too well. But if political choices can’t actually come custom-made like a $4,000 suit Friedman finds the whole thing boring.

…Mr. Bogg: “A far left purity “progressive” is just a Tea Bagger with an over-sized street puppet instead of a Hoveround.”

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  1. Erik Loomis says:

    You’d better trademark “the onanistic center.”

  2. David Hunt says:

    My impression of Friedman’s obsession with getting a “centrist” when Obama represents virtually everything he wants in a candidate is that he simply finds the idea of voting for the party associated with the Dirty Fucking Hippies distasteful. They’re so partisan, so he wants a “centrist” candidate. If he supported actual democrats, he lose too much of his cred at cocktail parties.

    • Manta1976 says:

      Well, can you blame him? Would YOU vote for a party associated with Torm Friedman?

    • david mizner says:

      Yeah, on substance, there’s not much not to like, if you T-Free.

      Addressing the Council on Foreign Relations Wednesday afternoon, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said that the debate about the path to fiscal responsibility “really began with Bowles-Simpson and that’s where it’s going to end.”

      He added that while the president’s Fiscal Year 2013 budget “differs in slight–in small respects from that basic framework, [it] is very close to that basic design. That’s the neighborhood in which we’ve planned to govern.”

      http://www.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/robert-schlesinger/2012/06/14/yah-yah-yah

    • joe from Lowell says:

      For a lot of people, politics is about establishing one’s “cred” within a particular faction, and the best way to do that is by demonstrating one’s willingness to launch that group’s preferred attacks on that group’s preferred enemies – regardless of whether they actually deserve it. In fact, the willingness to launch that attack when it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense is better, because it shows more of a commitment to the group identity.

      The most important thing to serious centrist people is their self-image as serious centrist people.

      • This. A billion gazillion bajillion times this. Maybe not *the* biggest problem with our contemporary politics, but definitely up there near the top of the list, and probably the single biggest reason why the media refuses to reflect the actual reality of American politics.

      • Pseudonym says:

        And of course the most important thing to us intelligent well-informed progressives is hating on Very Serious centrist people like the Moustache of Understanding!

        • mpowell says:

          I guess. I don’t get anything professionally from the performance though. I just think he’s a despicable person who is doing great work at further undermining the quality of our national discourse and playing a not insignificant role in making the lives of everyone in the US and around the world just a little bit worse.

      • Furious Jorge says:

        The most important thing to serious centrist people is their self-image as serious centrist people.

        Yep.

    • Njorl says:

      I think Friedman might come around to supporting Obama if he used drones to kill the guy who pied him.

  3. Richard says:

    So I watched the Unger video. Pompous and grandiose blather. Short version – only by defeating Obama can there be a battle for control of the Democratic Party which the progressives can win. (Still waiting for any argument or explanation why that would be so). And the only downside of a Republican victory is a few judical and administrative appointments with no difference in foreign policy.

    I’ve heard this nonsense my entire life. All we need is a Democratic defeat and a Republican victory and the disenfranchised or disaffected working class will rise, take over the Democratic party and lead it to a “real” victory next time around based on truly progressive policies When you point out that the same arguments were made on the left in 1968, 1980, 1984 and 1988 with less than great results, the response is that this time the conditions are ripe for real change. The closest we actually came to that was in 1968 where the defeat did lead to somewhat of a transformation and the take-over of the Democrats by the McGovernites. And that really workd out well.

  4. Bob says:

    The Democrats aren’t even a political party in the same way the Republicans are. The GOP has had a core financial constituency of big business and the rich since the late 19C. Since the 1932 realignment, its electoral constituency has been more rural and small town, more Protestant, more white, and more business-managerial than the population generally. So the GOP is a minority party but one whose homogeneous electoral base and loyal financial base give it an organizational and ideological stability the Democrats have never been able to match.

    The Democrats have organized labor as their core financial constituency, but they have always received several times more money from business than from labor. The diversity of their electoral base means that they are less a liberal or progressive party than a catchall for everyone who isn’t a Republican. They are a party more by default than design. Which is why Democrats behave as though they aren’t in power even when they’re in office while Republicans seem not to be out of power even when they’re out of office. And why Republicans can run an effective propaganda operation while the Democrats cannot. And why it is nonsense to think that a Romney victory in November would finally force this shambles of a party to act like progressives. Voting Democratic is like exercising after age 50: it doesn’t improve anything, it just slows the rate of decline.

    • DocAmazing says:

      Voting Democratic is like exercising after age 50: it doesn’t improve anything, it just slows the rate of decline.

      That being the case, we’d better file our Do Not Resuscitate orders as a nation.

    • Richard says:

      I dont understand. I understand the “voting for Democrats won’t help, it only slows the decline, we’re fucked” statement. But what follows from that? Are you saying there is an alternative to voting for the Democrats or that we’re fucked in any case so nothing to do except watch the building burn?

      • Bob says:

        Don’t watch it burn — use the garden hose to keep the flames down in the hope that the fire department will eventually show up to save the house. I’d like to think that will happen someday.

      • Holden Pattern says:

        I think the better way to think about it, given the hard environmental and resource limits we’re facing, is that the Dems offer a morphine drip, while the Republicans offer bamboo under the fingernails. You’ll be equally dead at the end of the day, but at least one party is trying to slow the pace of the suffering (not stop or reverse it, mind you, just slow the pace).

      • Christopher says:

        Another alternative would be to try to look for solutions that don’t involve electoral politics.

        • Incontinentia Buttocks says:

          Absolutely…but it’s still worth taking the 10 minutes to an hour one Tuesday in November to vote for the lesser evil. Political progress involves playing defense as well as offense.

          • rea says:

            The last time a handful of the pure decided to withhold their votes from the Democrratic nominee in order to move the party to the left, the deaath toll was in the hundreds of thousands.

            • Barry says:

              Probably the direct death toll (Iraq) pushed a million. In Afghanistan, the thrashing around with no clue part of the war has cost hundreds of thousands of lives.

              The knock-on effects to the rest of the world? Probably tens of millions, and ongoing.

              • Christopher says:

                What’s the current death toll in Libya? Mali? Yemen? Still Afghanistan?

                I’m sorry, I have less patience for this argument post-Obama. Yes, the hypothetical democrats we could have elected would probably have been super-awesome anti-war buddies.

                I can’t help but notice, though, that the actual real life guy we elected is totally into illegal wars and drones blowing up children.

    • Hogan says:

      The Democrats have organized labor as their core financial constituency, but they have always received several times more money from business than from labor.

      Yeah, see, if one of those things is true, the other one can’t be.

      • Bob says:

        If “core” meant “major” you would be right. The GOP doesn’t get the majority of its money from big business and the rich, either, but those donors are what distinguishes the Republicans’ financial base from the Democrats’.

        • Hogan says:

          The GOP doesn’t get the majority of its money from big business and the rich, either

          Really? Cites?

          Democrats are the party of the tech, entertainment, government and financial service sectors, along with labor; Republicans are the party of agriculture (including tobacco), resource extraction and financial services sectors, along with the white and Christian supremacists. In monetary terms labor will always, barring the revolution, be a junior partner in the Democratic coalition, especially compared to financial services. Sucks to be us; we need to be smart, pick our fights and think long-term. Sometimes very long-term.

    • Vertov says:

      Voting Democratic is like exercising after age 50: it doesn’t improve anything, it just slows the rate of decline.

      This is basically the sentiment behind the oh-so-witty LGM bully pulpit posts. It’s not that the purists are right so much that the ultimate reasoning leads to such a dreary, soul-killing conclusion: weak, triangulating Democrats are the best we can hope for, and we should expect confident, strong Republicans who have more power in the minority then the Party of Roosevelt has in the majority.

      With this in mind, who can really expect the average person who reads this to get excited for Obama ’12? If you want some extra clotheslines for Election Day, I have a whole bunch in my laundry room…

      • Malaclypse says:

        With this in mind, who can really expect the average person who reads this to get excited for Obama ’12?

        Dunno. Don’t tend to ever get excited for the lesser evil. But I always vote for one.

      • rea says:

        weak, triangulating Democrats are the best we can hope for, and we should expect confident, strong Republicans who have more power in the minority then the Party of Roosevelt has in the majority.

        In other words, the best lack all conviction while the worst are filled with passionate intensity.

        What rough beast, its hour come round at last, slouches toward Tampa Bay to be born?

        • Furious Jorge says:

          What rough beast, its hour come round at last, slouches toward Tampa Bay to be born?

          If it’s actually born in the bay, then we have a good chance to drown it before it even takes a breath.

          (A pet peeve of mine is the notion that there is a city called Tampa Bay. There isn’t – there is Tampa, there is St. Petersburg, and a bunch of smaller cities, none of which have the word “Bay” anywhere in their names. I blame Hugh Culverhouse, and expansive readings of the commerce clause.)

      • Prodigal says:

        “With this in mind, who can really expect the average person who reads this to get excited for Obama ’12?”

        People who maintain a desperate hope that enough people will remember how well Nader’s sabotage of Gore turned out for the country?

        • Holden Pattern says:

          Yeah, that’s not excitement — that’s resignation. And can we all stop refighting the Nader wars? Nader *may* have been a necessary cause of Gore’s loss, but Nader was not the sufficient cause. Gore ran a piss-poor campaign, failed to understand the obvious changes in the political landscape that the Republicans had been telegraphing through the enire Clinton Administration, and the Dems didn’t actually put up a fight on their own behalf when it came down to nut-cutting time.

          “The Dems didn’t put up a fight on their own behalf and failed to understand the obvious changes in the political landscape that the Republicans had been telegraphing through the enire Clinton Administration” is pretty much the story of the last couple decades of Dem leadership.

          • Prodigal says:

            The razor-thin margin between Gore and Bush in Florida means that it would have taken less than one percent of the Nader voters in Florida choosing to instead vote for Gore to prevent Bush from being given the Presidency.

            Which, since Florida was the state that decided the whole matter, is what makes Nader the sufficient cause.

  5. Eli Rabett says:

    Friedman et al., best described as a circle of jerks

  6. Christopher says:

    I heartily endorse the idea that Unger is too deadly boring to listen to for 8 damn minutes and Gary Wills is too much of a hack to read all the way through.

    Can we have one damn conversation about this that doesn’t start with the lesser-evilists bumping chests with their opponents, throwing their hands in the air and shouting “What!? You think you’re better than me!? Huh?!”

    I ask this because all of them, including both Scott Lemieux and Gary Wills, is that, okay, yes, Obama and the Democrats actually kind of do suck in pretty much the ways the “purists” say. But…!

    Let me use myself as an example: I’m not voting for Obama or Romney because both of them believe that the President can order the death of an American citizen based on secret laws and evidence, and I can’t imagine a more tyrannical and nasty subversion of the constitution.

    Tell me with a straight face voting for Obama is going to make future Presidents less likely to pull another Al-Awlaki.

    Most people won’t, so they have two choices: Either that problem’s never going to be solved through Presidential politics, or it will be, but we have to make it mildly worse before we can make it better (Wills argument, that I’m naive for thinking the President should follow the constitution, is a dickhead argument for dickheads).

    I’m going to throw something out there: Maybe I don’t think I’m better than you, maybe I don’t think Romney’s a totally okay dude, but maybe, just maybe, we have a serious and difficult disagreement about whether certain constituencies should vote against their own interests in the short term in the hopes that it will advance their interests in the long term.

    • Ya know, maybe the messaging-is-everything group is on to something: Obama should have “targeted” one of the non-American al Qaeda operatives who was in the room with al-Awlaki, and when it came out that the latter died in the attack too we could have acted all surprised at the collateral damage. Then we’d have no problems, right?

    • Incontinentia Buttocks says:

      Tell me with a straight face voting for Obama is going to make future Presidents less likely to pull another Al-Awlaki.

      It won’t. Either one will commit war crimes.

      The difference, however, is that fewer people suffer if Obama wins than Romney wins. More people have access to healthcare. Corporations are a little more regulated. The tax system will be just a little more fair. Social Security will be marginally more likely to survive. Our civil liberties will deteriorate at a slightly slower rate.

      I can’t make the case that a second Obama presidency will be inspiring or even that it will improve things. But it will clearly be less bad–and in some ways dramatically less bad–than a Romney Presidency.

      And this…

      Either that problem’s never going to be solved through Presidential politics, or it will be, but we have to make it mildly worse before we can make it better

      …simply makes no logical sense.

      Let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that this problem can be solved through presidential politics. How does it follow that making things “mildly worse” (though in fact the difference is likely not mild) will make things better faster?

      We have a good deal of empirical evidence that our political system works like a ratchet, that Republican victories, far from making the Democratic Party more progressive, in many ways make the Democratic Party more “centrist.” At any rate, it’s far from obvious that making things worse in the short run makes them better in the long run.

      • Even in the realm of deploying the military, Romney is likely to cause far more deaths than Obama through war with Iran or more aggressive Do Something interventions in places like Syria.

        • FlipYrWhig says:

          Which is why it’s so important for critics to keep harping on “drones” per se rather than “civilian casualties.” Yes, Obama has given orders to kill people with drones, and people other than those targeted have died, which is horrible. Has Obama performed worse than other presidents when it comes to making decisions to use ANY kind of weaponry to kill people, resulting in the deaths of innocents? I haven’t see anything to suggest that.

          • Alternatively, there’s a somewhat strong subtext in the critique of “drones” that the U.S. isn’t “playing fair” or something like that by carrying out raids that don’t at least present the possibility of incurring casualties on our side by having a manned bomber shot down or something.

            • FlipYrWhig says:

              And that’s a critique that’s been being made since the invention of gunpowder, i.e., that when you can’t look your foe in the eye, it’s too easy to pull the trigger to annihilate him. Maybe since the invention of the bow and arrow, or slingshot.

      • Barry says:

        “Let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that this problem can be solved through presidential politics. How does it follow that making things “mildly worse” (though in fact the difference is likely not mild) will make things better faster?”

        Because the people who said that making it a lot worse would help were proven 100% wrong, so they need a new lie.

    • Scott Lemieux says:

      have a serious and difficult disagreement about whether certain constituencies should vote against their own interests in the short term in the hopes that it will advance their interests in the long term.

      The problem is that the idea that electing Mitt Romney will “advance their interests in the long run” is inherently unserious. Some version of the Ryan budget and a Supreme Court median vote to the right of Antonin Sclalia isn’t good for progressive values short-term, medium-term, long-term, or any term. It’s just the purest irrational Underpants Gnomes thinking. I’ll also note that there’s never been a presidential election in history in which you can vote. FDR and LBJ both did far less morally and legally defensible things than that.

      Really, you’re going to have to make better arguments if you’re going to call the author of Nixon Agonistes a “hack.”

      • Richard says:

        Seconded. Gary Wills is no hack. One of the best historians/political writers ever. Christopher, have you ever read any of Wills books or are you making this claim based on one short article you disagree with?

      • Christopher says:

        Mr. Lemieux, at no time have I argued that electing Mitt Romney to anything would improve anything.

        I am very concerned about the fact that the President believes he has the authority to unilaterally suspend the constitution. Frankly, I believe that, contra Wills (Who may be totally amazing when he’s not writing hack articles; it doesn’t change the fact that this particular article is dumb) expecting the President to follow the constitution is an entirely reasonable thing.

        Electing Romney will not improve things on this front. Electing Obama will not improve things on this front. Electing either of them will, in fact, make things worse on this front.

        Basically, to vote in this election is to vote for a candidate who will actively work against my interests. I do not want to vote for a candidate who will work against interests I believe are terribly important.

        As for the last point, your argument of “If you refused to vote for a Presidential candidate just because he killed a lot of innocent people you’d never be able to vote” just… for the love of God, think about what you just said.

        • Malaclypse says:

          Basically, to vote in this election is to vote for a candidate who will actively work against my interests. I do not want to vote for a candidate who will work against interests I believe are terribly important.

          Do you want to help with the election of someone who will shut off health care to millions, or vote for his opponent?

          As for the last point, your argument of “If you refused to vote for a Presidential candidate just because he killed a lot of innocent people you’d never be able to vote” just… for the love of God, think about what you just said.

          Okay, name three presidents that did not kill a lot of innocent civilians. I’ll wait while you google.

          • Christopher says:

            Do you want to help with the election of someone who will shut off health care to millions, or vote for his opponent?

            That’s one response; essentially, I should vote against one of my primary interests because doing so will advance one of your primary interests. Which, fair enough. You could say that to the staunchest Republican, too.

            Okay, name three presidents that did not kill a lot of innocent civilians. I’ll wait while you google.

            O_O

            The premise, then, is that every President will kill at least hundreds of innocent people. I am to take this as an argument that therefore, killing innocent people is no big deal.

            The ways in which that is nonsensical are legion.

            Among them:

            1. Why, if the President killing innocent folks is irrelevant, should I care what Mitt Romney’s health care plan is? The worst it can do is kill a bunch of innocent people, and I want you to name a President that hasn’t done that. Go ahead, use Google, I’ll wait.

            2. The president, not being God, does not make things acceptable simply because he does them. If every President jumped off a bridge, would you?

            • Malaclypse says:

              That’s one response; essentially, I should vote against one of my primary interests because doing so will advance one of your primary interests. Which, fair enough. You could say that to the staunchest Republican, too.

              Unless you are wealthy, voting against a Republican hurts exactly none of your interests. And I live in MA, so repeal of Obamacare doesn’t impact me. “My interest” is a country where millions of people don’t go without health care. “My interest” is seeing a party that openly panders to bigots not take power. “My interest” is seeing women have a reasonable chance at maintaining reproductive control over their lives. “My interest” is seeing conservativism, which has not been right about anything ever, not fuck things up further. Perhaps your interests differ.

              The premise, then, is that every President will kill at least hundreds of innocent people.

              Yes, yes they will.

              I am to take this as an argument that therefore, killing innocent people is no big deal.

              Only is you wish to be obtuse. I’ll use small words:

              1) Killing innocents is bad.
              2) Some presidents will kill hundreds, some will kill hundreds of thousands.
              3) Always vote for the guy who will “only” kill hundreds.
              4) If you decide your purity precludes voting for the lesser evil, and the greater evil wins, you are complicit.
              5) This is important, because killing people is a big fucking deal.

              Hope that helped!

    • Njorl says:

      Tell me with a straight face voting for Obama is going to make future Presidents less likely to pull another Al-Awlaki.

      Voting for Obama is going to make future Presidents less likely to pull another Al-Awlaki.

      Democrats will create fewer Al-Awlakis.

      Democrats will be less likely to create circumstances where the existance of an Al Awlaki matters.

      Democrats will not create the same intense atmosphere of fear which is used (sometimes by Democrats) to justify extreme national security measures.

      Domestic economic insecurity, religious bigotry, dependence on fossil fuels, lavish defense spending – these all contributed to the circumstances which put Al-Awlaki in the sights of a drone.

      All future presidents in the forseeable future would react the same way to the Al Awlaki situation. Some are less likely to bring about that situation.

      • Christopher says:

        So, all Presidents in the forseeable future believe they have the right to kill American citizens without trial, but Democratic Presidents will be more popular, and so they won’t have as many malcontents to murder.

        There’s a kind of sense to that argument, but it’s also awfully 1984, don’t you think?

    • Socraticsilence says:

      How about this- Mitt Romney will likely go to war with a nation 3 times the size of Iraq and vastly more prepared militarily, which unlike Iraq already has a highly religious contingent ready to accept matyrdom if necessary to defend their homeland.

    • FlipYrWhig says:

      I’m sorry, but that is one weird litmus test. How many Awlaki situations do you think there are ever going to be? Do you seriously think that tax policy, spending priorities, and the treatment of minority rights, just to name a few areas where Generic Democrat stomps all over Generic Republican… none of those matter, because when it comes to terrorist suspects born in America holed up in hard-to-reach places, Obama favors shooting a missile instead of sending a SWAT team? That has you so outraged you can’t conscience a vote for him? I can see being opposed to the policy, but I can’t for the life of me see it as a crucial determinant in casting a vote for president.

      • “I can see being opposed to the policy, but I can’t for the life of me see it as a crucial determinant in casting a vote for president.”

        Especially since:

        A) As a legal matter, the point of citizenship is irrelevant (although there’s a large number of leftists here who just refuse to acknowledge this, obviously)and

        B) Whether right or wrong as a matter of policy, “hunt down and kill members of al Qaeda” is so overwhelmingly popular that no actually viable Presidential candidate is going to overtly disagree with it, and certainly not from a moralistic standpoint.

        • FlipYrWhig says:

          Which is also why, as I said above, the word “drone” is itself so important. I don’t think many people would be particularly worked up about the idea of shooting Awlaki with a rifle, even on direct orders from the president and without the involvement of any judge. “Drone” adds just the right sinister touch.

          IMHO the record would show that Obama cares _more_ about taking steps to avoid civilian casualties than any of his recent predecessors. It doesn’t always work, and we shouldn’t ever downplay the wrongness of any such casualties, but to make Obama out to be callous and bloodthirsty takes a huge amount of selectiveness and bad faith.

          • Christopher says:

            I’d sure be mad if a SWAT team busted down an American citizen’s door and shot him on the orders of the President! That would be incredibly illegal and morally wrong.

            So, since I’m not familiar with your argument, why does Al-Awlaki’s citizenship not matter in this case? Doesn’t he still have constitutional rights even if he moves to Yemen and says bad things?

            • Malaclypse says:

              So you are saying the Constitution does not protect the rights of non-citizens? So if an immigrant jaywalks, there is nothing in the Constitution that would prohibit a cop from shooting them on sight without trial or detention?

  7. Alan in SF says:

    “A far left purity “progressive” is just a Tea Bagger with an over-sized street puppet instead of a Hoveround.”

    Mr. Bogg puts it very well, as always. But the problem with putting someone down by comparing him/her to a tea bagger is that the tea baggers have been incredibly successful.

  8. jon says:

    Three separate ideas that are foolishly collapsed:
    1. Obama isn’t leading sufficiently
    2. Obama hasn’t presented big enough economic plan
    3. Obama hasn’t been bipartisan enough

    I couldn’t agree more with the first two, nor disagree more with the third.

    Couple that with the media’s willful ignorance of Republican’s doing everything possible to both stymie Obama and prevent economic recovery.

    Obama’s range of action is amazingly limited now. He’s to blame for some of that, but the lions share goes to the Republicans.

  9. bradp says:

    a progressive party that can’t put together a majority coalition in both houses of Congress isn’t worth anything.

    I get that you want government to actively fix things, and a progressive party in a minority position isn’t gonna be able to overcome opposition to that.

    But…

    Wouldn’t it at least have some real utility in being a base of opposition for conservative attempts to get the government to be actively evil?

  10. [...] As with virtually all such arguments, Prasch spends very little time on this question, and rather devotes most of his attention to a litany of things Obama has done that were not sufficiently progressive, and linking to other such litanies. But in and of itself, withholding support from leaders of parties in two-party systems don’t agree with you on ever issues is puerile. Positing a President who agrees with you about everything (and, implicitly, can win a majority coalition and will have the powers of a Westminster Prime Minister to enact this agenda) as a solution to political problems no less narcissistic wankery coming from a leftier-than-thou Obama critic than from Tom Friedman. [...]

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