Crook’s thesis rests on the shaky assumption that the public has soured on policies that were “less than perfect but vastly better than nothing” because of the way the policies were pitched. Never mind that it is progressives and Democratic activists who feel neglected, slighted, insulted and used over the last two years. According to Crook, they needed to be dismissed and marginalized completely for the sake of maintaining Obama’s centrist reputation, despite the fact that it is his centrist policies and reputation that have discouraged and dispirited so many of the people who got Obama elected. Perhaps many Obama voters had unreasonable expectations, as activists and ideological voters often do, and perhaps they don’t appreciate how good they have had it. Regardless, Obama’s political problem is clearly the problem of having a Democratic base that is disaffected, and that problem would have only been made worse had he prostrated himself before the Washington establishment consensus even more quickly than he did.The discontent of the professional left with Obama is rapidly becoming one of my least favorite subjects to discuss. The media, of course, loves conflict stories and they are picking up on all this stuff and exaggerating it, as is their wont. But the truth is that some of the thing is the product of people not being able to get over themselves, others being willfully stupid and petulant, and still others who have entirely legitimate gripes. People who read this blog probably know who I consider to be in each category. It's all more pronounced in the political environment because this sort of thing only ever happens to Democrats--in spite of everything, Republicans never turned against Bush because all that really matters to them is holding power, not what they do with it. That the GOP has been so mushy on policy specifics for this election cycle merely confirms the hypothesis.
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
The disaffected left
Larison lays into one of The Atlantic's less impressive bloggers, who makes the typical establishment critique of Obama:
The Man, The Myth, The Bio
- East Bay, California, United States
- Problem: I have lots of opinions on politics and culture that I need to vent. If I do not do this I will wind up muttering to myself, and that's only like one or two steps away from being a hobo. Solution: I write two blogs. A political blog that has some evident sympathies (pro-Obama, mostly liberal though I dissent on some issues, like guns and trade) and a culture blog that does, well, cultural essays in a more long-form manner. My particular thing is taking overrated things (movies, mostly, but other things too) down a peg and putting underrated things up a peg. I'm sort of the court of last resort, and I tend to focus on more obscure cultural phenomena.