Thursday, September 03, 2009

Real progressivism

Just in the last 48 hours, it seems that progressives have broken ranks and are now in full revolt against the White House's milquetoast health care strategy. I think David Axelrod's "spirit" comment yesterday to ABC News was really the straw that broke the camel's back:

"The spirit that led him to support a public option is still very much at play here and so you know he wants competition. "

But honestly, it's hard having a conservative Democrat as President. On the one hand, he's a Democrat, he seems like a decent guy, he has real power, and he's the one keeping the Republican theocrats from turning the U.S. into their Old Testament fantasy land. On the other hand, he's not really a progressive, never has been, but because he's a Dem., progressives usually bite their tongues instead of speaking out against him (because the alternative is far far worse, and because, Reagan's dictum, "thou shalt not speak ill of fellow party members," is a winning political strategy.)

But with Obama and Axelrod and Rahm selling us out on the public option -- the signature Democratic Party goal for the last 50 years -- I've gone back to looking for real progressive voices who can illuminate our present moment.

First, I went looking for Ian Welsh. He's absolutely brilliant and he used to write a lot for Firedoglake -- but I haven't seen any posts from him in a while. To my delight I discovered that he now has his own solo site and once again he is hitting it out of the park. Please read his post from yesterday:

"Some Inconvenient Truths"

It's really one of the best pieces that has been written in a while about the health care debate.

Then Ian links to all sorts of other great posts. These two posts below should be required reading in any political theory course:

The Overton Window, Illustrated

Obama Stump Speech Strategy of Conciliation Considered Harmful

One of the truisms of politics for me is that if something doesn't make sense, it's usually because there is something else going on -- and so then one just has to go figure out what that something else really is. I'm not talking conspiracy theories -- but rather, the informal rules of the game that are where the real action is at. And these three posts above do the best job I've seen of explaining what's really happening in the health care debate (and in the political debate in the U.S. in general).

Ian Welsh has also been added to my blog roll over on the right so that you can click over to his site whenever you're jonesing to understand what's really going on.

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