Freddie DeBoer writes:

[T]he nominal left of the blogosphere is almost exclusively neoliberal. Ask for a prominent left-wing blogger and people are likely to respond with the names of Matt Yglesias, Jon Chait, Kevin Drum...

Yglesias and Drum respond. My personal view, expressed previously, is that the Establishment Bloggers in many (probably most) respects tout views I hold, but they clearly are not Left. They are, like I am, largely Centrists. And in some respects, they embrace the orthodoxy of the DC Dem Party. My objections to them are how they have allowed themselves, and in some cases (Ezra Klein! cough!), encouraged, the labelling of themselves as "the Left." More . . .

Part of DeBoer's complaint is what feeds this problem in my opinion:

The second axis of neoliberalism, constitutional neoliberalism, is the reflexive antileftism within the ideology. This is the tendency of the neoliberal to assume the superior seriousness of the man to his right and the utter moral and intellectual bankruptcy of the man to his left. This is the sneering, superior neoliberalism, [. . .] The neoliberal economic platform is enforced by the attitude that anyone embracing a left-wing critique of that platform is a Stalinist or a misbehaving adolescent. This is the critique of the Very Serious Person: there is a very narrow slice of opinion that is worthy of being considered reasonable or mature, and that anyone who argues outside of it should not be given a seat at the table of serious discussion. Genuinely left-wing opinion is not to be debated but to be dismissed out of hand.

Not only is this not an honest intellectual approach, it is also counterproductive to those who favor "Centrist" policies, as I do. Consider the debate about The Deal. The DC Establishment, pundits and bloggers, predictably rejected out of hand the idea of merely letting the Bush tax cuts expire (and indeed, Ezra Klein led the charge of trumpeting The Deal as a great stimulative policy victory.)

This approach is manna for those who favor The Norquist Strategy of starving the government of revenue in order to demolish the social safety net.

Now, if you are a Third Way/DLC type, then marginalizing arguments to the Left of you makes sense. But Yglesias, Drum, and even Klein and Chait, are not Third Wayers. But their approach is beneficial to the Third Way agenda in my view.

How much of this is due to a reflexive defend Obama and the Beltway Dems mentality? I think more than these folks would care to admit. In any event, if DeBoer's article leads to some self reflection on these points, some good could come from this exchange.

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    "The Left" is now ... (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by Robot Porter on Mon Jan 17, 2011 at 03:35:51 PM EST
    usually described as "the Far Left" or "the loony left".  And the "the Left" and "liberals" are usually used interchangeably when it suits someone to do so.

    However, I attest that most of the so-called a-list liberal bloggers are better classified as Internet entrepreneurs.

    Because most of them place the SEO value of a post above anything else.

    I ain't neo- nothin. (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by jeffinalabama on Mon Jan 17, 2011 at 03:40:32 PM EST
    More inside the beltway mental masturbation by deBoer, Yglesias and Drum does NOT represent the liberal view.

    Bad logic, like bad cases, leads to bad law.

    All of these useful idiots need a six-month writing freeze.

    That's (5.00 / 4) (#4)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Jan 17, 2011 at 03:48:06 PM EST
    why there needs to be a candidate who really represents liberal views not one that espouses conservative economic solutions--the same ones that have been failing the country--like Obama.

    That would be (5.00 / 2) (#16)
    by Zorba on Mon Jan 17, 2011 at 06:00:49 PM EST
    me, too, jeff.  I'm an old-fashioned liberal (which is not Yglesias, or any of the other Versailles so-called "left-of-centrists").  You can call me a DFH, socialist, commie, whatever.  Just don't call me a "progressive," because it means absolutely nothing now.

    I think deBoer's point is (5.00 / 1) (#58)
    by inclusiveheart on Tue Jan 18, 2011 at 11:02:43 AM EST
    valid, overall - and I don't think it is all that different than BTD's - except that BTD is more succinct.  The reality is that the "acceptable left" isn't really all that left at all and that the rest of us who are further to the left have been essentially pushed off of a cliff - nowhere men and women...  The thing that really stuns me is that I'm really not all that left when one really considers the full spectrum of political thought and yet it is as if I do not exist except in exaggerated caricature of "loons" and "moon beams" or whatever.  All I really want is a balance of power.  I don't want to destroy corporate America, I want to coexist peacefully with them - I would like to re-establish a mutually beneficial relationship with them - and I believe that our government as our collective representative has a responsibility to take the interests of the people to heart over the needs, desires and insatiable appetite of monied interests domestic and foreign...  

    I simply bought into this whole government for, by and of the people notion that was set forth at inception of this nation and somehow that makes me a freakin' communist these days.  That's crazy - and the worst of it is that lately the most aggressive critique of anything left of center right are coming from some of the leading voices in the Democratic camp.  But it's not my first time on this merry-go-round.  It is the Clinton era revisited - although I think that as much of an outsider as I felt like I was then, the vilification of the left is worse in this era.


    I think (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Jan 17, 2011 at 03:46:20 PM EST
    you are right on the reflexive defending of Obama. It's why I abhor the word "progressive". It stands for nothing policy wise. It only means whatever Obama does. Now tax cuts as a solution to all our ecnomic ills is "progressive". Policies that the right used to espouse have now become known as "progressive". It's a win/win for conservatives. They get to implement their sorry policies and "progressives" get the blame for said sorry policies. Never have I seen a bigger bunch of schmucks in my life.

    Matt's response (5.00 / 2) (#5)
    by lilburro on Mon Jan 17, 2011 at 03:49:56 PM EST
    -- More redistribution of money from the top to the bottom.
    -- A less paternalistic welfare state that puts more money directly in the hands of the recipients of social services.
    -- Macroeconomic stabilization policy that seriously aims for full employment.
    -- Curb the regulatory privileges of incumbent landowners.
    -- Roll back subsidies implicit in our current automobile/housing-oriented industrial policy.
    -- Break the licensing cartels that deny opportunity to the unskilled.
    -- Much greater equalization of opportunities in K-12 education.
    -- Reduction of the rents assembled by privileged intellectual property owners.
    -- Throughout the public sector, concerted reform aimed at ensuring public services are public services and not jobs programs.
    -- Taxation of polluters (and resource-extractors more generally) rather than current de facto subsidization of resource extraction.

    That's what he believes in.  Which is fine; but those views are not specified and they are not agitated for in the context of the actual political debate in which he participates.  Let's recall the lovely piece "Who Needs A Public Option?" that he came up with.  Of course he thinks there's no-one to the left of him - he refuses to acknowledge that there are single-payer advocates, or that the public option is and was something to the left of what he was willing to accept.  MY's response is like him saying "I'm anti-war" and then supporting the invasion of Iraq.  You may want to be defined by your beliefs, but your positions at a given moment in time are just as if not more important.

    So, Matt's breaking with Obama when? (5.00 / 6) (#9)
    by lambert on Mon Jan 17, 2011 at 04:14:50 PM EST
    Because our Beloved Leader either openly opposed every item on the list, or isn't doing anything about them.

    Full employment, specifically, on Matt's list. Both legacy parties and Versailles generally are busily normalizing 10% nominal (20% real) DISemployment at a time when they're also encouraging older workers to work longer by gutting Social Security.

    If you think that politics as practiced right now has anything to do with "the public interest" (see the Constitution, Preamble, "provide for the general welfare"), this may be confusing to you.


    You are who I thought of (none / 0) (#30)
    by lilburro on Mon Jan 17, 2011 at 09:47:46 PM EST
    when I thought of a critic on the left.  There are many, many, many people who I would describe as to the left of Matt Yglesias, but I think it would be hard to read your blog and not come away with that plainly and instantly.

    Where is "selling out" on (5.00 / 2) (#13)
    by observed on Mon Jan 17, 2011 at 04:54:04 PM EST
    his list?

    Forget the list :) (5.00 / 0) (#14)
    by sj on Mon Jan 17, 2011 at 05:12:07 PM EST
    Before he even gets there he says this:

    But one point that I agree with here, is that while I'll cop to being a "neoliberal" I don't acknowledge that I have critics to the "left" of me.


    But I simply deny that there are positions that are more genuinely egalitarian than my own.

    Isn't that exactly the problem limned by Freddie DeBoer (who I hadn't read before, so thank you BTD)?  I've read that more than a dozen times, and I'm shocked every time.  And really disgusted.


    List are meaningless (none / 0) (#6)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Jan 17, 2011 at 03:54:39 PM EST

    The Deal is a tangible moment where "the Left" should have vehemently opposed. Ezra Klein said it was a great progressive victory.

    That list reminds me of Atrios' "If I Was Benevolent Dictator" posts.

    Interesting but as Atrios recognizes, meaningless.  


    Agreed (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by lilburro on Mon Jan 17, 2011 at 04:04:24 PM EST
    I liked this line, about Ezra

    where being correct on policy is supposed to flow directly from his moral rectitude.

    I mean, remember all the time he spent on Ron frickin Wyden's healthcare plan?  Like that was EVER going to happen?  And how was the result of that not just jamming down our throats the idea that "market-based solutions" were as good as any other kind (neoliberalism precisely)?  For some reason Klein, Drum, and Yglesias just won't accept that they are in fact neoliberal.  I don't know why they find that so hard to accept, but they do.


    Ezra's a careerist ... (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by Robot Porter on Mon Jan 17, 2011 at 04:17:56 PM EST
    supporting "the deal" was the right thing for a careerist to do.  And he undoubtedly got many pats on the back for "getting with the program" on his crony listserv.

    It's foolish to view Ezra as anything other than a blinkered careerist.  That is the sum total of who he is and always has been.


    "Always has been? Aren't we talking (none / 0) (#15)
    by oculus on Mon Jan 17, 2011 at 05:41:26 PM EST
    about "young Ezra"?

    If people consistently praise (5.00 / 2) (#11)
    by MO Blue on Mon Jan 17, 2011 at 04:35:10 PM EST
    and support 3rd Way policies and adopt the same tactics, how are they different?

    Now, if you are a Third Way/DLC type, then marginalizing arguments to the Left of you makes sense. But Yglesias, Drum, and even Klein and Chait, are not Third Wayers. But their approach is beneficial to the Third Way agenda in my view.

    Just call them the "Susan Estrich" (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by observed on Mon Jan 17, 2011 at 04:10:41 PM EST

    Better yet, the "Henhouse Dems": (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by observed on Mon Jan 17, 2011 at 04:52:40 PM EST
    Working with the FOX Dems to fully represent the left.

    I think most of their instincts (5.00 / 2) (#18)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Jan 17, 2011 at 07:35:03 PM EST
    and their reasoning centers around defend Obama.  If Obama had chose to be the next FDR I don't see them fighting him about it.  Too bad huh?  He could have done some really terrific things and they would have had his back and so would the rest of us who mostly are ticked at him and without enthusiasm for him.  Wasted days and wasted nights

    The most powerful politician in the country (5.00 / 3) (#20)
    by Dadler on Mon Jan 17, 2011 at 07:56:06 PM EST
    And he hates politics. Not figuratively, LITERALLY. Would you want an accountant who hated numbers?  A chef who hated cooking?  A power forward who hated to rebound? Obama is the biggest "What's the phuckin' point?" in the history of American politics.

    On what basis do you assert this? (5.00 / 2) (#22)
    by ek hornbeck on Mon Jan 17, 2011 at 08:14:29 PM EST
    Yglesias, Drum, and even Klein and Chait, are not Third Wayers.

    By their words and actions shall you know them Armando.

    Where are they different?

    Sad and telling times (5.00 / 3) (#40)
    by cal1942 on Tue Jan 18, 2011 at 05:56:14 AM EST
    when economic justice is considered far left.

    As far as I'm concerned neo-liberals are nothing more than Republicans and unfortunately neo-liberals are the face of Democrats to the majority of the people.

    Our politics have become right and farther right.

    Ezra and Kevin et al (5.00 / 1) (#41)
    by Maryb2004 on Tue Jan 18, 2011 at 07:39:30 AM EST
    might be seen as the center/left commenters they are if we on the left had been more tolerant of the true leftists back in the day.   But most of the time they ended up banned.   Because they couldn't get along with anyone, as often happens with true believers.  And because blogs like dKos were interested in being "taken seriously",  and the far left is never taken seriously.

    In the end only the moderate left was left to be read by "serious people".

    I remember that guy Armando was blamed for a lot of those bannings.  Centrist that he was ...  

    I was involved in one banning (none / 0) (#43)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jan 18, 2011 at 08:07:29 AM EST
    in all my time at daily kos - at that was because the guy kept accusing us of taking money for opinions. I did not think we had to stand for that.

    One thread of discussion was banned, partly at my instigation - conspiracy theories. Specifically 9/11-type conspiracy theories.

    I really reject the idea you are forwarding here - my theory of daily kos was to largely let anyone say what they want, but that people get to respond like they want, subject to community moderation.

    The main complaint about me was not that I censored people but rather that I did not ignore them. When something idiotic was written (imo of course), I said so.

    I think it is rather insulting to real substantive Left policy ideas to lump them in with insane conspiracy theories.


    heh (none / 0) (#47)
    by Maryb2004 on Tue Jan 18, 2011 at 09:36:02 AM EST
    I guess my tongue-in-cheek attitude in writing that last line didn't come through.

    But in general, besides all the conspiracy theorists, there were groups of people who believed all of society would be better if capitalism was eliminated etc. - true leftists.  And pretty far leftist who would like a truly socialized society.  

    Leaving aside what happened at dKos, they never have a platform where they get a lot of attention.  So people like Ezra etc. are seen as The Left.

    I agree with you that he shouldn't go along with that.


    I dunno (none / 0) (#48)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jan 18, 2011 at 09:47:55 AM EST
    I debated Communism a fair amount at Daily Kos.

    In any event, I spent a lot of time pointing out that in fact none of us at daily kos (FPers I mean) were really the Left.


    C'mon (none / 0) (#17)
    by me only on Mon Jan 17, 2011 at 07:32:36 PM EST
    This guy compares Mark Levin and Tim Carney (who?) to Markos and then writes:

    I hardly even need to explain the example of Markos Moulitsas. Moulitsas is a blogging pioneer and one with a large audience. But within the establishmentarian blogosphere, the professional blogosphere of magazines, think tanks, and the DC media establishment, he amounts to an exiled figure. See how many times supposedly leftist bloggers within this establishment approvingly quote Moulitsas, compared to those who approvingly quote, say, Will Wilkinson, Ross Douthat, or John Cole.

    Markos writes about his new (and improved) polling numbers and his silly book (no provocative rhetoric there!!!!!!), and little else.  Markos lost me when he let Armando go and then decided to sabbatical his way to blogging.

    Feddie should meet some real neoliberals instead of simply labeling everyone to his right as a neoliberal.

    Armando does much better here (5.00 / 2) (#19)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Jan 17, 2011 at 07:38:35 PM EST
    He doesn't have to spend an inordinate amount of time telling people covered in cheetoh dust off either.  I enjoy him much more over here and he gets to post on a wide variety of topics throughout the day and creates and attracts excellent discussions.

    That's true. (5.00 / 2) (#21)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Jan 17, 2011 at 08:00:46 PM EST
    There's probably no way that he could write what he writes here and get any sort of discussion over there.

    I remember all the name calling etc. he endured over there. It was silly.

    Of course, name calling has become par for the course for everybody now. Since November it seems to really have gotten ugly.


    Still welcome at DD... (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by ek hornbeck on Mon Jan 17, 2011 at 08:18:52 PM EST
    What happened (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Jan 17, 2011 at 08:44:40 PM EST
    to DD? Jerome went rogue or something?

    Ah... MyDD. (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by ek hornbeck on Mon Jan 17, 2011 at 09:11:18 PM EST

    I don't know what Armstrong is doing, I was referring to DocuDharma where Armando wrote his seminal "They All Disappoint".


    What became of Buhdy? (none / 0) (#32)
    by oculus on Mon Jan 17, 2011 at 09:52:49 PM EST
    Last I heard... (none / 0) (#70)
    by ek hornbeck on Tue Jan 18, 2011 at 01:59:47 PM EST
    he was starting up a blogspot site with NPK and OTB.

    Armando does not blog here (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by me only on Mon Jan 17, 2011 at 08:22:16 PM EST
    BTD can't hold Armando's left butt cheek.  When Armando was on it was Lance Armstrong in Le Tour.  BTD is like Lance Armstrong 2009-2010 version.

    I've argued that in the past. (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by ek hornbeck on Mon Jan 17, 2011 at 09:19:02 PM EST
    I think your handle makes a HUGE difference in your on line personality, but I also respect an author's choice in choosing a name to publish under.

    I use Armando because I'm too lazy to remember changes.


    I had never thought about it quite that way (none / 0) (#28)
    by me only on Mon Jan 17, 2011 at 09:29:21 PM EST
    probably does make a difference.

    I think the comeback at dKos had an effect.  All the pathetic name-calling.

    I guess at one time Armando was Superman.  After we found out he was Clark Kent, too many people didn't understand that behind the mask was a man.  One with a family and a job.  Part of the community just couldn't accept what they perceived to be flaws.  Armando never pulled punches, but he never sucker punched.  BTD pulls punches or just doesn't engage.  

    It's been 5+ years since the Alito fight.


    BTD abides by Talk Left's (none / 0) (#29)
    by MO Blue on Mon Jan 17, 2011 at 09:35:33 PM EST
    Rules of Engagement which prohibits the type of "engagement" that is allowed at Dkos.

    I have to ask myself after (none / 0) (#42)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Jan 18, 2011 at 07:43:50 AM EST
    reading all this, do you monitor your perceptions of your own daily actions this closely and do you make such demands upon yourself?  Am I missing your compelling writings and discussion creation someplace?

    Talk about 180 degree miss (none / 0) (#69)
    by me only on Tue Jan 18, 2011 at 01:41:58 PM EST
    on your part.

    I actually agree with (none / 0) (#45)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jan 18, 2011 at 08:12:26 AM EST
    the idea that I am not half the blogger I once was.

    I don't care very much anymore.

    I am much more detached from it all now.

    It's not just Talk Left site policy, it is me.


    I think it has made you better (none / 0) (#59)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Jan 18, 2011 at 11:16:39 AM EST
    Not wasting time caring when people will only show up trying to piss on your caring head.  I know you are widely read.

    The Liberal Monolith (none / 0) (#31)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Mon Jan 17, 2011 at 09:52:34 PM EST
    [This is not to BTD (who indicates that he's not necessary a guy on the far left) but is a general comment.

    Is a monolith what we are?

    That's really the question behind this debate, right?  The reality is that liberalism, like conservatism, is really a grouping of dozens of ideologies.

    What's frustrating for someone like me is the maddening attempts to set up a checklist requiring 100% satisfaction to be deemed a liberal.  That's conservative thinking.  Here is my short personal ideology score card:

    Pro wealth redistribution/tax on the wealthy (including estate tax)
    Anti-interventionist wars
    Pro free speech
    Pro gun restriction
    Pro full LGBT rights
    Pro Choice
    Pro environmental legislation
    Pro defense budget reduction
    Strong separation of church and state

    I look at that list and think it seems pretty liberal, but at the same time, I do believe that the free market generally works and that we shouldn't overdo regulation.  I am against the absolute demonization of Wall Street (and believe we need former Wall Street execs in the room to help to guide the fiscal policy). I don't think hate crime laws really work. I understand that if you see life as beginning at conception, you believe that mothers who abort are murderers. I disagree but I see the point and believe it will be increasingly complicated for the pro-choice side given technological advances. Etc. I believe that we have to be willing to make deals and find compromises for the long term good, even though we hate many of the concessions we are making.

    I believe that healthcare reform was an incredibly positive development.


    The problem, IMHO, isn't that Yglesias or Drum are not liberals. The problem is the focus we have on making sure that a commentator or politician satisfies 100% of the liberal checklist (or does it to an absolute degree).

    Think about it. Why does a person who believes in the separation of the church and state also have to believe that we should retain the estate tax? The only thing binding those two world views are the label "liberal" and the fact that we've internalized a nexus between the two using that word.  If a person is strongly pro-union and favors heavy Wall Street regulation but are anti-choice on abortion or pro-Iraq war, are they liberal or a conservative?  Based on much of what I read on our side of the blogosphere, that person is a conservative because they don't have all the boxes checked.

    That's a problem.  The ones specializing in the ideology checklists are the Hannity/Palin/Beck conservatives.  That means something to me when it is put in that light.  As with many issues, copying the conservative way of doing things (and requiring absolute fealty to ideology) may have it's benefits, but I have a real fear of the consequences.

    I think the angry "circle firing squad" of the Left these days is one of those consequences.  It's just not good.  We are better than that.  We are smarter.

    Yglesias and Drum are smart guys who I disagree with on some issues and agree with on others.  I read their work not to hear every liberal position regurgitated. I enjoy them because I know that they have a "liberal" disposition but are open enough to fairly evaluate the positions of the conservatives.  

    Although I know that Atrios, for example, is pretty hard left and I think that guy is super smart, I just don't learn as much from him as I do Yglesias for example. Nothing against him.  I just don't think he adds as much value.

    Instead of blasting folks like Yglesias, we should be supporting them, despite the fact that they often disagree with what we believe.  That's the whole point.  

    I just want to hear voices with a liberal disposition evaluate the issues of the day.  Sometimes that will mean that they come to a conservative conclusion.

    If they didn't, they wouldn't be accomplishing what I want them to accomplish.

    Lists are meaningless (5.00 / 3) (#44)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jan 18, 2011 at 08:10:18 AM EST
    Tell me what you do and I will tell you what you are for.

    Obama did The Deal. Whatever he thinks about tax policy, he enacted the Bush tax policy.


    Because (none / 0) (#49)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Tue Jan 18, 2011 at 10:07:35 AM EST
    he felt that he had to to avoid a greater evil.

    You don't believe that but imagine for a minute that you did.  If you believe he was facing a greater evil, then you can easily believe that he he strongly supports the policy you prefer but still did what he had to do.

    My only gripe with you in your focus on The Deal is that we aren't all starting with the same fundamental assumption and you argue as if that assumption is a fact.

    If you look at what was accomplished during the lame duck (and take my assumptions as fact) Obama did what he had to do and still extracted a lot of good from it.

    Just looking at what he's done, without looking at why, seems silly.


    The greater evil being? (5.00 / 1) (#50)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jan 18, 2011 at 10:14:26 AM EST
    I am not questioning Obama's motives - my point is precisely that, his motives are irrelevant.

    Obama is for the legislation he signed.


    Of course he (none / 0) (#52)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Tue Jan 18, 2011 at 10:18:15 AM EST
    is for the legislation he signed. He had to make concessions and he did that.  Every politician who votes in favor of complex legislation is favoring that legislation, even if it is not optimal.

    Obama has said clearly that he doesn't agree with the tax cuts for the rich but had no choice.  You completely ignore that and dismiss his statements without even considering that they may reflect what the man really thought.

    He did what he felt he had to do (according to him).  That's much different than whether he supported every piece of the law.


    He says a lot of things (5.00 / 1) (#56)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jan 18, 2011 at 10:56:56 AM EST
    Pols are for what they do is my measuring stick.

    YM obviously varies.


    No one cares (none / 0) (#57)
    by lilburro on Tue Jan 18, 2011 at 10:58:50 AM EST
    what Obama believes.  Obama obviously does not care one way or another how economic recovery or healthcare reform is accomplished.  Recovery by tax cuts or government spending; healthcare by the state or private sector.  These are the two huge issues he's tackled in the first two years.

    If you don't care how things are accomplished, that's fine.  That's a position.  But it's not a position that's on the far left of the scale.  If you don't care how it's done, and liberals don't have a voice for what they care about (say, state run healthcare), then guess what, the private sector wins the healthcare battle.  Because they do care.  If they're the only ones that make how things are done the priority, then things are indeed done their way.


    Yglasius, despite attending Harvard (none / 0) (#34)
    by Harry Saxon on Mon Jan 17, 2011 at 10:28:08 PM EST
    demonstrates impenetrable stupidity on an almost daily basis, why anyone pays attention to his pronouncements is beyond me.

    I would write a ton of stupid (none / 0) (#35)
    by andgarden on Mon Jan 17, 2011 at 10:48:33 PM EST
    stuff too if my job involved writing pages upon pages of fresh material every week.

    But I don't read MY, so I don't know how bad he is.


    But your job probably will involve this! (none / 0) (#36)
    by oculus on Mon Jan 17, 2011 at 10:55:15 PM EST
    Well, I could have said (none / 0) (#38)
    by andgarden on Mon Jan 17, 2011 at 11:13:55 PM EST
    "topical commentary."

     In any case, no such job is yet forthcoming. . .


    Any federal judge should snap you up! (none / 0) (#62)
    by oculus on Tue Jan 18, 2011 at 12:25:35 PM EST
    Know any? ;-) (none / 0) (#63)
    by andgarden on Tue Jan 18, 2011 at 12:26:58 PM EST
    One aspirant. I'll check it out. (5.00 / 1) (#64)
    by oculus on Tue Jan 18, 2011 at 12:35:59 PM EST
    Liberal Monolith? (none / 0) (#39)
    by sj on Mon Jan 17, 2011 at 11:15:39 PM EST
    I've said it before, but I'll say it again:

    I am, in a nutshell, a pro-choice, pro-union, pro-civil liberties, pro-Great Society, pro-corporate regulation, pro-equal rights for all, pro-voting rights for all regardless of criminal history, pro-Social Security, pro-Medicare, pro-regulation, anti-death penalty, pro-safety net which makes me pro-taxes (for me AND thee [if you're above the poverty line] and especially for corporations)  anti-corporate-personhood, pro-single payer medicine, pro-regulation, pro-environment, pro-open borders, dyed in the wool, bleeding heart libeerraalll!  I believe if an individual OR a society CAN do something to help another, they SHOULD to that thing.  And yes, I know that I have pro-regulation in there more than once.  And yes, I know I missed some.

    So no.  I have no expectation of having a politician that truly represents (although moving to Vermont for Senator Sanders might be worth it) all of my issues, but pick some.  The more the merrier.  I have decided that my vote is only going to someone who has a demonstrated record of supporting some of them.  That means pretty speech and white papers aren't good enough.  The right words and the wrong vote definitely isn't good enough.

    I've always believed in incrementalism.  But half a step forward, three steps back is the wrong sort of increment, and I won't reward it. All I have is my voice, my vote and my effort on behalf of a candidate or party.  Well, my efforts have ceased until I find a candidate that has that demonstrated record.  My ballot is going to have a lot of empty spots for the foreseeable future.

    I've seen enough to know that collegial behavior in Legislative chambers has benefit.  And I can agree to disagree on any number of issues.  But I'm not going to stop talking about what I care about just so we can all get along.  I'm not going to stop calling bullsh!t when I hear it or see it.  Or that bullsh!t becomes the new truth.

    The problem isn't one of agreeing to disagree.  The problem is that neoliberalism is just progressivism.  And Matt says it himself.  Twice.  Right there in his comments.  He believes that no one has standing to criticize him from the left.  He said right there that he simply denies that there are positions that are more genuinely egalitarian than his own. So we're just back to being DFHs.

    I don't need to read him anymore.  I can hear that stuff on MSNBC.  Which has a corporate line that has to be straddled.

    As for this:

    Based on much of what I read on our side of the blogosphere, that person is a conservative because they don't have all the boxes checked.

    I think you need to meditate on what you are reading.  The best way I can describe it is that there's a continuum, not checkboxes.  

    Conceptually there's merit to what you say here:

    Instead of blasting folks like Yglesias, we should be supporting them, despite the fact that they often disagree with what we believe.  That's the whole point.

    But that only has value if the support is mutual.  Instead -- to repeat his own words -- he simply denies that there are positions that are more genuinely egalitarian than his own.


    Name one issue (none / 0) (#46)
    by lilburro on Tue Jan 18, 2011 at 08:28:52 AM EST
    where the "circular firing squad" has actually resulted in any substantial problem for Dems over the past two years.

    Atrios is to the left of Yglesias, but characterizing him as hard left isn't really accurate IMO.  The hard left we are missing are most likely people who vote for Nader, who is now "non-existent" on the political field.

    I would say that your list isn't in fact all that liberal at some points.  For example, "Pro environmental legislation" - most people would agree with this.  But how do you think climate control legislation should be achieved?  Do you think healthcare should be state run?  If you do, that's a left position, and so you're probably not happy with the health care bill that passed.  

    Klein, Yglesias, etc. attacked the public option with their platform.  For them, state-run healthcare was a concession they were willing to make, and they didn't/do not care how "healthcare" is achieved.  The belief in health care exchanges is not an idea from the "left."

    The idea of a "circular firing squad" rises from different people trying to fit under one label.  It would be better to see the Democratic Party as made up of liberals, neo-liberals, and Centrists.


    Circular Firing Squad (5.00 / 1) (#51)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Tue Jan 18, 2011 at 10:14:47 AM EST
    1. Healthcare reform
    2. Finance Reform

    There are plenty of others but let's just take No.1.  Many on the left hate HCR but given the opposition and arguments we're going to hear from the right in the coming month, every liberal blogger worth his/her salt should be blasting away with guns blazing.  If this HCR were a conservative initiative that faced internal opposition, the right would still rally around it hugely because of the bigger principles at stake (see the Iraq War).

    And I disagree with your characterization of what makes HCR "left".  My lefty fundamental principle is far more basic: extend coverage to as many people as you possibly can regardless of the method of achieving that.  If there was a system that covered 100% of the population and coverage was provided 100% through private enterprise, i wouldn't love it, but that would be a more lefty world than we live in today.  One of the core principles I value would be achieved.

    Instead we have people still devoting post after post to telling us that HCR helps no one and aids only the insurance companies. It is not nearly liberal enough they say and deserves to be attacked on all fronts.  I think that's a very direct and very on point response to your challenge.


    Both of those bills (none / 0) (#53)
    by lilburro on Tue Jan 18, 2011 at 10:30:02 AM EST
    passed.  How were they in substance and in passage in any way damaged by left critiques?  What lefty blogger is calling for the repeal of HCR?

    As far as I can tell healthcare and financial reform were not negatively impacted by the ambitions of the Left.  It seems to me that the best way to defend HCR would be to advocate the reintroduction of the public option so that the Right can have a fit again and be distracted from the actual legislation.

    You don't care if a healthcare system is state-run or left to the private sector.  That's not a leftist belief by any stretch of the imagination.  Your core values could not be described as "leftist."


    I don't think that's true (none / 0) (#54)
    by CST on Tue Jan 18, 2011 at 10:37:20 AM EST
    "You don't care if a healthcare system is state-run or left to the private sector.  That's not a leftist belief by any stretch of the imagination."

    I agree that what matters the most is that people get healthcare.  Regardless who provides it.  Personally, I think the state would do a better job of providing it.  But I don't care if the private sector provides it so long as they do a good job.  They haven't been, but if they did, than I would be fine to continue letting them do it.

    There are countries that have made that system work.  I am not convinced this country can make that system work.  But that doesn't mean it's not an acceptable system when it does work.


    How is not caring (none / 0) (#55)
    by lilburro on Tue Jan 18, 2011 at 10:46:53 AM EST
    whether a healthcare system is run by the state or the private sector "just as left" a view as demanding that the healthcare system be run by the state?  It's not.

    that's not what I said (none / 0) (#60)
    by CST on Tue Jan 18, 2011 at 11:40:13 AM EST
    I'm not responding to the assertion that it's "just as left", I'm responding to the assertian that "that's not a leftist belief by any stretch of the imagination".

    what I mean by that (none / 0) (#61)
    by lilburro on Tue Jan 18, 2011 at 11:53:59 AM EST
    is that not caring about the process is not what I would describe as leftist.  In the sense that leftists believe that the government should have the major role in providing healthcare.  I think of the poles of the political spectrum as defined not solely by ends but by means as well.  I don't think a leftist is going to say "oh, I don't care how we get there."  

    I disagree (none / 0) (#65)
    by CST on Tue Jan 18, 2011 at 12:36:37 PM EST
    I think the ends absolutely justify the means.  So long as you include ALL possible ends - including what happens "in the middle" to get there.

    For example, eliminating the right to privacy in order to provide safety is not an example of the ends justifying the means, since one of the "ends" is an elimination of the right to privacy.

    But so long as there are no nasty side affects, who cares?


    Believing (none / 0) (#68)
    by lilburro on Tue Jan 18, 2011 at 01:11:22 PM EST
    that the ends justify the means is fine, but I think in part that belief prevents it from being a truly leftist viewpoint.  For example, libertarians may believe we should be safer, but the only way they accept that world is if we all have guns.  As you become more polarized, the unwilligness to decouple ends and means grows.  So I think on the leftist end of the scale, you can't accept an end if it isn't accomplished the way you want it to be (single-payer advocates, for ex.).

    The health bill may be an improvement over the current system, but it certainly has nasty side effects, including its abortion language, its inability to properly bring down costs, its dependence on subsidies, its guarantee of insurance and not care, etc.  I can see why a single-payer advocate would not support the bill.  


    I think to an extent (none / 0) (#71)
    by CST on Tue Jan 18, 2011 at 02:58:17 PM EST
    hypothetical situations are being confused/combined with real world situations in this post.

    In your libertarian scenario, there is an assumption that if we all have guns we will all be safer.  If that's not the case (which I highly doubt), than you don't have that as an "end".

    However, in ABM "hypothetical" situation, the end that is desired is reached.  But I don't hear him arguing that that end is what was reached.

    As to the specifics of this particular plan, I agree that it is not single payer.  I disagree that you can't possibly support it and still hold leftist ideals.  If you accept incrementalism, and this moves the current system incrementally to the left, than you can accept this bill.  I haven't seen anything to convince me that this bill isn't a step to the left.  It may not be a big step, but IMO, it's still a step.

    Re. abortion - I also haven't seen anything to convince me that anything in this bill is substantively different from the Hyde amendment which was already in place.

    As for your other critiques, these are things that the existing system either does the same or does worse, so I have a hard time seeing those as "nasty side effects", rather than things that "haven't been fixed yet".  But it's not as if this bill causes those problems.

    The difference to me between HCR and "the deal" is that "the deal" actually does significant harm by cutting off critical funding to the feds - in exchange for u-benefits.  I don't see where HCR does significant harm in exchange for the positive provisions in the bill.


    There is really in my mind (none / 0) (#72)
    by lilburro on Tue Jan 18, 2011 at 03:29:24 PM EST
    no reason for a single payer advocate to clap for this bill.  There should be a left that is mounting critiques against the market-based solutions chosen in this bill.  I think that is what DeBoer is talking about.

    The lack of a strident left was evident along the way in the healthcare debate at a number of points:

    1.  Single payer was never on the table.

    2.  The disintegration of the public option into various public option types (Medicare rates, level playing field, etc.).

    3.  The refusal on the part of people like Ygelsias and Klein to see the symbolic value of the public option.

    You can favor incrementalism but if you think the government should be running healthcare then this bill is not going to make you happy.  For example, here is a single-payer supporter, Dr. Flowers:

    And third, we must be uncompromising in our demands. We are too often willing to accept partial or non-solutions to our problems because we are told that what we want is politically infeasible. When we look at health care, we are constantly told that single payer is not politically feasible. We have heard this for decades. However, the legislation that passes which is politically feasible fails to be feasible from a practical standpoint. It simply doesn't work. The number of un-insured continues to grow and soaring health care costs are destroying our families and businesses. At some point, we have to realize that we determine what is politically feasible because we hold the power of the vote. We must learn to use that power.

    From the POV of a single-payer advocate, you have as your options HR 676, single payer state by state, or a robust public option eventually driving private insurance out of the market (hypothetically).  Obama's bill doesn't make any of these easier for you, since it "settles" the healthcare debate until the system gets f*cked up and needs a fix again (and it will).

    Healthcare Now are not supportive of the Affordable Care Act.  They have their own bill (676).  They don't believe in incrementalism, or market based solutions.  I think that makes them more leftist than people who do support ACA.  YMMV.


    interesting point (none / 0) (#33)
    by ruffian on Mon Jan 17, 2011 at 10:02:28 PM EST
    DeBoer says that Jane Hamsher is considered by some to be far left mainly because she uses more fiery language than most of the major bloggers, even though her positions would have been considered pretty mainstream Dem a few years ago.  

    Maybe a 'fighting Dem' attitude is in itself more liberal these days.

    So Armando at DK was more liberal (none / 0) (#37)
    by oculus on Mon Jan 17, 2011 at 10:56:35 PM EST
    than BTD at Talk Left (under this theory)?  Interesting.  

    LOL! (none / 0) (#66)
    by Zorba on Tue Jan 18, 2011 at 01:02:01 PM EST
    I was thinking the same thing.......     ;-)

    Perhaps today's "What is a Latino" (none / 0) (#67)
    by oculus on Tue Jan 18, 2011 at 01:10:58 PM EST
    post will sort this out.