Blog Credo

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H.L. Mencken

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Ezra Klein On Clinton

Ezra Klein writes a good piece summarizing the differences between Clinton and Sanders and how Obama fits into that dynamic.

The one issue I have with it, is that Klein is fairly sloppy with his use of "liberal" and "progressive" treating them as essentially interchangeable with each other and with Sanders supporters.  The use of "liberal" and "progressive" by the more leftward reaches of the Democratic party is an interesting and complex one.  "Liberal" had been made toxic by the politics of the '80s and '90s, so many liberals adopted progressive as a label that was both accurate and fresh.  Liberals wanted progress.

Sanders supporters don't want progress, they want a revolution.  They are sick of the institutional limits that bind and degrade progressive change.  Liberals - like Clinton and her defenders, including Jon Chait and Paul Krugman - believe in the slow and steady grind of generational change.  Obama, for the most part, has come to believe this, too.  He certainly believed this after 2011.

But there are those on the Left - cosseted in their insular groups in much the same way the Far Right is - who believe that with just a little more bully pulpit the nation will reveal its radical roots.  That way of thinking strikes me as being historically and politically illiterate.  Klein perhaps doesn't stress that point, but it needs to be stressed.

The Left - as opposed to liberals - imagines they live in a country that does not, in fact, exist.

No comments: