September 03, 2010
What Isn’t Black and White and Red All Over?

More good stuff with which I agree, this time from Professor Wolff at The Philosopher’s Stone, who is almost as old as I am and even wiser:

I never imagined Obama was a left liberal, and I didn’t campaign for him under that illusion. I thought he was a centrist, a left-centrist, in the framework of American politics, with the ability to mobilize the center and the left to defend against the horrors promised by the right. I was right about that. Had the depression not hit, he would in fact be doing quite well now, by his own lights, but quite well means successfully pursuing centrist-left policies. In point of fact, he has been astonishingly successful in that regard. The health reform bill … is the best that we could get, given the realities of American politics, and he is the first president in ninety years to get it.

You are mad at the wrong person. The real villain in this piece is the enormous number of Americans — not, I think and hope a majority, but enormous none the less — who are either conservative or hysterically insane with religious fantasies and political paranoia.

Do you want a genuinely leftist president? Fine, so do I. How do we get one? Answer, we change eighty or a hundred million Americans. Let me remind you — and I was there, so I know — that Roosevelt, Kennedy, Johnson, and Carter were all Left Centrists at best. My grandfather gave his life to the Socialist Party, and its high point was electing him and six others to the NYC Board of Aldermen. This has NEVER been a country that was hospitable to genuinely leftist politics.

What we are now facing is a threat from the right unlike any I have seen in forty years. We are in danger of losing such tattered remains as we still have of a social safety net, and of seeing maniacal religious fanatics running our country. I am hoping that Obama will tap into his considerable political skills to stop that from happening, but even if he does, we will nonetheless be stuck with a politics that is markedly to the right of where it is now. These are godawful times, made all the more perilous by the fact that the very large number of genuine progressives in this country are dispirited.



Posted by Jerome Doolittle at September 03, 2010 05:35 PM
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Immigration policy in the last century bears a lot of the blame for those 80 to 100 million. Every would-be immigrant from a Communist country was declared a refugee, and anyone fleeing an anti-Communist totalitarian regime was denied immigration. Think of how many anti-Castro Cubans live and vote here now, versus how many anti-Pinochet Chileans we have as fellow citizens.

Posted by: Joyful on September 4, 2010 12:01 AM

Joyful is right for the area of the country she lives in. But most areas don't have so many eastern European immigrants who are ardent anti-communists. My new Chilean relative did get in through marriage and is now working in the northeast making a fine salary and doing well.

I think the problem is related to think tanks and television and radio shows owned by the right wing. They have been relentless in their spending. We need more people like George Soros and the Sandler family (which partially sponsors and we need to get liberals to buy media outlets. Ted Turner's interest in CNN was stolen from him in my opinion and that was a travesty. But liberal and progressive money needs to go in the direction of the media or there is very little hope things will change. Unfortunately the citizens are not readers, we know from going to yard sales where it is rare to find any family who sells their books. They get all their information from the vapid media and unless that changes, thee will be no change in America's lean to the right. Even those who read online are inundated with right wing propaganda although the left has done a fine job of countering that in the last few years. But if the internet is not free and open, the last door will close and there will be no hope at all.

Posted by: Buck on September 4, 2010 9:38 AM

Buck, how many parts of the country haven't had an influx of Cubans, Eastern Europeans, South Vietnamese, or Soviet Jewry? Probably just those parts that already had a toxic level of "anti-Communism" in the populace.

(Why would families who love their books sell them at a yard sale?)

Posted by: Joyful on September 5, 2010 10:42 PM

Obama hasn't mobilized anything. He's done just the opposite. He's a right wing president pursuing right wing policies.

The Democratic Party put more effort in punishing ACORN than they put into their RomneyCare bill. Prior to that massive gift to the economically untenable health insurance industry, there was enormous support for a publicly financed health care plan. Obama and the Democrats deliberately marginalized its proponents.

Make it the Baucus 13.

Five more people were arrested at the Senate Finance Committee this morning.

They are advocates of a single payer health care system.

And they were protesting the fact that Committee chairman Senator Max Baucus (D-Montana) continues to exclude single payer advocates from a series of hearings on health care reform.

Last week, eight doctors, lawyers and activists were arrested as they sought to put a single payer advocate at a table of 15 witnesses.

Today, 13 witnesses testified – not one a single payer advocate.

A clear majority of Americans -- 72 percent -- support a government-sponsored health care plan to compete with private insurers, a new CBS News/New York Times poll finds. Most also think the government would do a better job than private industry at keeping down costs and believe that the government should guarantee health care for all Americans.

Apologetics and finger pointing at lunatic fringe right wingers are worse than useless. The public will was there and the Democrats fought against it. The problem is not the people. It's their "leadership".

Posted by: Jim on September 6, 2010 6:00 AM
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