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  • Lance Mannion
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I'm feeling the same way - It took fear of a bolshevik revolution to create the new deal and riots to create the great society. FDR said that people had to "make me do it". The tea-partiers get out and march - but they're just glorified klansmen. It is sad that we need rioting to get real change, but there it is.


I think we are doomed, to a combination of frustrated anger without clear targets and increasing apathy. We're not unified enough to direct those energies and frustrations into useful directions, except on the small, local level. I see increased splintering, as people hunker in and try to protect their immediate interests, and withdrawal from the various larger systems - political, economic - to the degree that they can.


One of the few heroes I ever had said that proper politics should be practiced on the "left wing of the possible." Before the Reagan-Bush Descendancy (including the Clinton-Gore Interregnum) that was possible. No more. We have only two right wings in Washington and both are peopled by time-serving puddknockers of the worst sort, President Obama included. Pity.

Chris Clarke
Or tell me what Republican would have signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act?

What Republican would have saved the auto industry?

What Republican would be trying to get through even the woefully inadequate health care bill we still may not get even thought it’s so weak?


Great post despite the quibbling.

Formerly Apostate

Welcome, brother. I think I became a leftist some time last year - I'm now an actual communist, much to my astonishment.

I still retain an affection for the term "liberal." I don't apply it to Obama - and see him as a conservative - because he really isn't a liberal. He is not a *present-day* Republican but that is only because the Republicans have taken all leave of their senses - now we have sane Republicans (Dems) and insane Republicans (GOP). The GOP is radical, not conservative - they don't want to keep things the way they are, they want to make them worse. The Dems want to keep things as they are - that makes them conservative. They are no longer concerned with making things better - they've come to the end of history and are incapable of seeing everything that has gone wrong. The Right's propaganda as to free markets and the virtues of war took in too many liberals to leave them much right to that label.

The truth of the matter is that Obama is to the right of Richard Nixon. That's not a liberal in my book. Paul Krugman is a liberal. Compare his positions to those of Obama and you'll see why I refuse to call Obama a liberal.

You are right about the hope (delusion) that the system can be fixed and made to work for the ordinary person. That's exactly what some well-meaning "moderates" think can happen (Obama is at best a "moderate" - he admires Reagan, remember, not FDR).


Yes, I've been feeling equal parts sad and nauseous about this state of affairs. There have been so many books these past eight years saying the system is broken. Teddy Kennedy even wrote one. If these long and largely ineffectual wars plus the financial meltdown were not enough to warrant radical changes, then what will it take? It's gotten to the point where I can hardly watch the madness.


Damnit. Lance, I hope to God you're wrong. You're very, very smart. And I hope, and pray, that you're wrong.
And that God exists.

Sawyer, T.

That's not you moving left, Lance.
That's the system moving right.


T, either way, I'm not a happy camper.

Greg, thanks, and I'm wrong a lot, so maybe there's hope.


You're right about Nixon, who actually proposed a health care bill a lot like what we're going to get. So I should have added "So is Richard Nixon" after "Teddy Roosevelt is dead."

Formerly, as Chris points out, Nixon had some liberal tendencies, but he was NOT a liberal any more than FDR was a conservative because he had some conservative tendencies. Nixon also had to deal with a Congress and Senate that were overwhelmingly Democratic and that forced him to move left, the same way Republican majorities forced Clinton to move right, just to get some things done they wanted and put the brakes on other things they were against. Obama has to deal with a conservative majority in the Senate---all the Republicans and the Blue Dogs.

Liberalism is an approach to governing, anyway, not a set of specific policies or ideological positions.

Shawn McDonald

When you look to the middle and only see extremism...

...And when you look to your Left (or your Right) and see no one...

...then YOU are the Fringe.

If you don't understand that the CONSERVE in "conservatism" means "to resist changes in values" and the PROGRESS in "progressivism" means "to force changes in values (ostensibly in the name of progress)," then we're no longer even speaking the same language, much less living in the same reality.


Just wow.

In this country we're all entitled to define ourselves, even when we are delusional. But Lance... really man... What's stopping you from just self-identifying as a Socialist? Just the stigma? The old world waft of pejorative?

Let your freak flag fly, Brother.


Great observations, Lance. I confess to some confusion over the idea that Liberals are to the right of Lefties. It requires a slightly different set of definitions to grok that concept. No question that Obama, his (relatively newer) staff, and his Clintonite Cabinet and staff are solidly in the center and to the right of many of us. I think they lean right, enough to pal around with moderate Repubs (a species which unfortunately died out in 2007 from the lack of oxygen in their Party).

But perhaps you clarified the issue in your comment there - liberalism being a form of governing rather than a position. Good stuff, sir.


Shawn, what's stopping me from calling myself a socialist is that I'm not one---not yet, anyway---except in the eyes of someone looking from way over on the Right's fringe. Which is where most Republicans are standing these days.

And I know what a conservative is supposed to stand for, which is why I call Liberals conservatives.

The people who call themselves conservatives aren't. They don't want to conserve, they want to undo and go backwards, to a more authoritarian, fare less libertarian (except on the matter of guns), more intolerant time that they imagine was a golden age. Going backward is not an American value. And it's not conservative, it's reactionary.

J., Thanks. I'm working on a response. Please, stay tuned.


Offered as rebuttal

Ian Welsh

FDR was that definition of liberal, Obama isn't, because he isn't doing what is necessary to save the system. Liberalism also had a number of policy planks, and he doesn't understand them.

FDR tried to convince those who disagreed with him. If they remained instrangient (bankers) he just said "ok then, we'll do this the hard way". When Obama shows some ability to do things the hard way, he'll be fit to shine FDR's shoes. And no, FDR did not always wait for lefties to "make him do it". He did sometimes, but far, far from always.


FDR also had the cover of a popular and necessary war to work a lot of his more liberal tricks. He could rightly claim he was doing things like the WPA for national defense.

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