Saturday, August 14, 2010

A Professional Left? Really???

You would have thought Robert Gibbs was referring to card-carrying communists - or at least socialists - when he lashed out at the political class he owes his and his boss’s job to.

How far can knee-jerk professions of innocence go? (“Change? Who said anything about change? Change to what? Canadian health care??”)

How ruthlessly can our president - who showed he could be ruthless in Chicago, thereby reassuring us before we elected him, that he would put those indispensable political skills to good use Washington - throw us off the train instead?

With Gibb’s fatal words, the President metamorphosed into a clone of one of those right-wing homophobes who turn out to be gay. Trans-lation: Obama knows that the forces arrayed against him are invincible, to the extent that his life is on the line if he makes one false move (Fidel Castro is not the only one who fears for his survival). He cannot follow in FDR’s footsteps and submit legislation to Congress while wielding a big stick; he can only survive if he pretends that he wouldn’t consider imple-menting his progressive promises to those who elected him.

The worst of it all is that this is a forty-year-old story. Read Andrew Bacevich’s new book: Washington Rules and you’ll find this, page 32:

“What Americans mistook for politics - the putative rivalry that pitted Democrats against Republicans, the wrangling between Congress and the White House - actually amounted to little more than theater, he implied. Behind the curtain, a consensus forged of ambition, access, money, fevered imagination, and narrow institutional interests determined the nation’s actual priorities. Although Eisenhower was about to surrender his office to a handsome young successor who promised dramatic change - neither the first nor last president to make such a commitment - he knew that John Kennedy’s personal qualities, however attractive, counted for little given the forces arrayed against him. “The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist,” the outgoing president warned. “We should take nothing for granted.”

Kennedy’s election marked the fatal moment when the left gave in to Washington’s consensus that America should maintain its superpower status through war. Kennedy got sucked in first to the Bay of Pigs, then to the Cuban missile Crisis, and finally to Vietnam. The same forces that manipulated “the most powerful man in the world”, saw to it that the left survived only as a convenient tool of ‘fevered’ imaginings of (always) ‘clear and present dangers’. Now it is probably too late for Americans bereft of their homes and jobs to organize to obtain the rights that were grandiloquently included in the Constitution, a hundred years before the word socialism was invented. The populist but not for the people Tea Party is beating them to it.

There is no “professional left” but there is a professional class of writers and pundits who, in exchange for upper class salaries, occupy a niche reserved for those who do not wish to be called conservatives - or even liberals. most of them do not even wish to be called progressives! Oh, there is a progressive caucus in the congress, and Raul Grijalva does it proud. But without Wellstone, it doesn’t amount to the hill of beans that Robert Redford immortalized in The Milagro Beanfield War.

While European Marxism has renewed itself into an green, decentralized, no-growth movement, our “professional leftists” have been left behind.

1 comment:

  1. I was most amused by the FDL piece on just why Gibbs is so angry with the left. The thesis is essentially that he can't get angry at people who are always or even frequently wrong, but when they're right...Oooh!!!
    Made lots and lots of sense.