What are the signs that there isn't the American Left we've think there is? Obviously, the Emanuel White House shunning movement progressives from its team was a good signal - as was its reflexive firing of the few movement progressives it hired in low level positions (see Van Jones and now Yosi Sergant). The Professional Beltway Left's willingness to be corralled into the veal pen, as Jane Hamsher aptly calls it, is also a big sign that often times "progressive" organizations are all too happy to subvert movement goals for access to the perks and privileges of the D.C. cocktail party circuit. As the Wall Street Journal reported this weekend, the Professional Beltway Left is now being given orders every Tuesday by White House Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina - the same Jim Messina who was chief of staff to Max Baucus when Baucus helped President Bush ram through almost every one of the Republican's signature initiatives (with the exception of Social Security privatization).
But we can't just blame President Emanuel for - rather predictably - being President Emanuel. It goes much deeper than that.
What has prevented an American Left from existing is a deeper "trust" ideology among activists. Maybe it's because we are more optimistic, maybe because we want to see the good in everyone, or maybe it's because we're as innately wimpy as the Right says - but it's clear that progressives are far more willing to "trust" celebrity politicians and others perceived to have Establishment power than pressure or even question those icons. You hear this all the time - in the demands by self-proclaimed liberals for progressives to STFU and "trust" the president; in the inevitable claims that when Democrats betray their progressive promises, they are actually implementing a Super Secret Pony Plan to fulfill those promises; and most prominently, in the silences.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
David Sirota doesn't think so: