Brownstein on the Netroots and Matt Bai
In The American Prospect, Ron Brownstein reviews Matt Bai's book on the Democratic Party and the battles ongoing within it - battles on policies and political strategy. Brownstein is a very good reporter and observer, but it seems to me he accepts some conclusions that are faulty. In particular, he often mixes what was (at least I thought it WAS) a good understanding in the Democratic base and the Netroots that policy is beholden to politics. You can't enact a progressive agenda unless you can elect progressive representatives. Brownstein reserves that understanding to the "savvy" like himself:
Bai's plea for a more ambitious, transformative Democratic agenda, also seems disconnected in another key respect. Visionary ideas detached from a strategy to move them into law are like balloons without strings. (As John F. Kennedy once put it when an aide urged him to promote a policy he knew he could not pass through Congress, "That's vanity … not politics.")
I can't imagine there are many thinking persons who care about politics that do not understand this. The Argument, as it were, in the Democratic Party, has been two fold - whether a substantively progressive agenda can be enacted in the United States; and how to get such an agenda enacted. Most in the Netroots (me included) believe that it can but that it must occur through the Democratic Party. That means transforming the Democratic Party - most particularly in its political strategy and style. More.
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