Further to our occasional series about the civil war on the left (part 8 here), it is worth taking note of a new article by Paul Waldman in The American Prospect (one of the more smartly written lefty journals) entitled “Can Liberalism Survive Obama? Yes, It Can.” I’ll skip over the obvious ironic mocking of the title, and proceed to some relevant excerpts:
It isn’t hard to find discontent with Barack Obama on the left, so long as you know where to look. . .
Adolph Reed Jr. wrote a cover story for Harper’s earlier this year excoriating the president and the milquetoasts who still support him, arguing that Obama’s election was “fundamentally an expression of the limits of the left in the United States—its decline, demoralization, and collapse.”
Given the political roller coaster of the last decade and a half, liberals would be forgiven for feeling worn-out, even cynical. . . This period in the history of American liberalism—covering the Bush and Obama presidencies—looks like one of extended misery, followed by an explosion of hope, followed by disappointment and dismay. . . “There’s a realization,” says Adam Green of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, an organization that works to promote and assist progressive candidates, “that this is not a bold, progressive president. He’s ultimately not going to be a game-changer when it comes to taking on the powers that be.”
“Some traditional Democrats, low-information people, are willing to give him a pass and say, ‘Oh, the Tea Party got in the way,’” he says. “But those who are more of the progressive movement and look at this through a more sophisticated lens see that there was a fundamental lack of willingness to fight in the beginning of his presidency that had ripple effects throughout.” The White House has from time to time made it clear that it dislikes liberal activists as much as the activists dislike it. As former press secretary Robert Gibbs put it, the “professional left … wouldn’t be satisfied if Dennis Kucinich was president.”
There’s more—lot’s more—in the piece; more than anyone (even a liberal) needs to read to get the point. I’ve got news for Waldman: Obama’s a far-left liberal, and this is as good as it gets. Trust me on this—years from now, you and other lefties will look back on the Obama Administration as the golden age of progressive liberalism, as it slowly crumbles under the deadweight of its own bad ideas.
Waldman ends thus:
Liberal intellectuals, for whom slights are long remembered and compromises loom large, will continue to debate the ideological character of Barack Obama’s presidency for years to come. That debate is worth having for any number of reasons.
Oh please, please do have this debate. It will provide endless entertainment for the rest of us.