Actually, “The Left” Hasn’t Been Getting Anything It Wants

As a progressive, I’ve been fairly annoyed with the lack of, er, progress being made in terms of legislation and what-not. Actually, it’s probably the same sort of frustration many conservatives felt back when they controlled all three branches of government in the early-ish years of the George W. Bush presidency. If the Supreme Court, Congress and White House were all controlled by Republicans, why couldn’t they get Roe v. Wade overturned or even bigger (and permanent) tax breaks and other cornerstones of conservatism passed? Probably for the same reason that “the left” hasn’t managed to truly implement any of its agenda points, even though it controls two branches of government:

Because things in Washington are run to maintain the status quo.
No matter who’s “in charge.”

Anyway, I’ve been too busy and overwhelmed to actually write about my thoughts on this subject, so it’s a good thing Glenn Greenwald did in Salon:

In what universe must someone be living to believe that the Democratic Party is controlled by “the Left,” let alone “the furthest left elements” of the Party? As Ezra Klein says, the Left “ha[s] gotten exactly nothing they wanted in recent months.” The Left wanted a single-payer system, then settled for a public option, then an opt-out public option, then Medicare expansion — only to get none of it, instead being handed a bill that forces every American to buy health insurance from the private insurance industry. Nor was it “the Left” — but rather corporatist Democrats like Evan Bayh and Lanny Davis — who cheered for the hated Wall Street bailout; blocked drug re-importation; are stopping genuine reform of the financial industry; prevented a larger stimulus package to lower unemployment; refuse to allow programs to help Americans with foreclosures; supported escalation in Afghanistan (twice); and favor the same Bush/Cheney terrorism policies of indefinite detention, military commissions, and state secrets.

The very idea that an administration run by Barack Obama and Rahm Emanuel and staffed with centrists, Wall Street mavens, and former Bush officials — and a Congress beholden to Blue Dogs and Lieberdems — has been captive “to the Left” is so patently false that everyone should be too embarrassed to utter it. For better or worse, the Democratic strategy has long been and still is to steer clear of their leftist base and instead govern as “pragmatists” and centrists — which means keeping the permanent Washington factions pleased.

Thanks to Dissenting in Part for bringing it to my attention.

1 thought on “Actually, “The Left” Hasn’t Been Getting Anything It Wants”

  1. I have wondered the same thing. What is funny is conservatives and Republicans are still acting like Obama and the Democrat’s current health care reform bill is so out there and controlling but it isn’t even what many wanted in the Democratic party. It is my opinion that, Democrat or Republican, politicans talk big to get elected and once they are “in” they play it safe to the center to ensure re-election. Liberals are mad at Obama and many conservatives were disappointed in Bush.

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