Monday, January 25, 2010

The Failure Of The Left

The disaster in Massachusetts whereby a Republican, Scott Brown, won Ted Kennedy's former Senate seat is a story entirely about both the failure of congressional Democrats to understand how to govern with the majority and a weakness of activists on the Left.

First, congressional Democrats should have heeded Barack Obama's campaign slogan to change the way Washington works. Even though the American public gave congressional Democrats commanding majorities in successive elections does not mean people do not want comity in the legislative process. In fact, they were quite sick of Bush, Rove and Cheney's bullying ways and by taking Republicans down a peg were actually sending a message that they wanted both different polices and a different way of achieving public policy: honest and transparent negotiating between both sides. Americans want and have always wanted consensus but Democratic leaders seem not to know this.

Read the rest at The Loop.

1 comment:

redante said...

Sorry Dr. King I think I would have to respectfully disagree with your analysis on this one. You attribute Scott Brown's victory in Massachussets and hangs it on the shoulders of "The Left" -- liberals and Progressives -- I don't think you are right and are being fair.

First of all, The Left is pretty much marginalized in the Obama administration, not the all-powerful influnce that you seem to think it is. For example, Progressives have been marginalized from the discussion and capitulating pretty much from the very beginning on the healthcare debate. From single payer being off the table for discussion, to the public option being slowly gutted each iteration of the healthcare reform bills in COngress, Progressives have gotten nothing out of the Obama administration in its first year. Blue Dog Democrats who are more conservative, have pretty much shaped the agenda to their liking.

Secondly, Republicans and conservatives have pretty much drawn a line in the sand, held together, and obstructed every move the Obama Administration made, especially on healthcare. Obama has done what he can to reach out to them time and time again -- even to the point of alienating his liberal and Progressive base just so he can have some sort of appearance of "bipartisanship."

I got from your article that failure happened because that Obama and the Democrats listened to the Left too much in crafting and putting forth their reform efforts. That is the exact opposite of how I see it. I see the failure because Obama and the Democrats tried to do an awkward balancing act of trying to **appear** Progressive and using Progressive language and symbolism to put forward a fundamentally conservative and corporate-friendly reform bill.

It doesn't work that way. Either go all-out Progressive or call the reform efforts for what it is -- a very modest, conservative, and corporate friendly bill largely shaped by the Blue Dogs.