Friday, March 14, 2008

A tip of the tam to Rick Perlstein for his "dust up"

I've had my eye on Before the Storm: Barry Goldwater and the Unmaking of the American Consensus by Rick Perlstein for some time yet I'm finally adding it to my Amazon Wish List. His new book Nixonland: The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America is going there as well. Rick Perlstein is a regular blogger for The Campaign for America's Future. Additionally, this Chicago Reader piece by Harold Henderson supplies another view of Rick's work.

I'd missed his part in a LA Times Dust-Up where he and Jasmyne Cannick examined various themes relating to today's Democratic Party. There are several days of opinion pieces here and they are worth exploring. Still, what I really liked was how Rick handled the "Shades of Blue" questions with Is The Times kidding? The LA Times had asked
Is the American left now a movement of economic issues and nationalism, of identity politics and social justice, or something else? How do the New Democrats fit into the contemporary left?
Rick's response was brutally honest. WTF? He closed with
Is there anyone to the left side of center for whom this question even makes sense? If so, let me know in the comments. I'm honestly baffled. The thought that no one responsible for this feature was able to stop short and notice the question makes no sense is a little disconcerting -- and suggests perhaps that The Times has no one to the left of center on its opinion staff, which is more disconcerting still.
Amen! However, despite the dreadful question, Ms. Cannick's response was hardly weak. She opened with
I think that most, if not all, Democrats would agree that priority No. 1 is ridding the county of this catastrophic administration and ensuring that we don't endure another four years of conservative policymaking under right-wing power.

With that said, the modern American left, in my opinion, often serves as the conscience of the Democratic Party. Today's left is very much a movement of economic and social justice.
I'll agree with some reservations, as I do believe the Democratic Party often ignores its "conscience"in favor of the consultants seeking to reach "the center". I'm not sure what or who the New Democrats" might be yet if they are the DLC "centrist weenies" then I'll pass. (Alabama's Artur Davis and perhaps even Hillary are excused from the labels, as I'm sure I would with others. I do, however, wish they'd be more assertive in calling BS when the GOP gets to cranking out their foolishness.)

You simply can't meet in the middle with "movement conservatives" that hold so much of the power in the modern GOP. And just refusing to play ball with the media, whether they be merely LA Times writers having an incoherent moment or reactionary talk radio host with evil in the hearts, when they get all stupid is another foundational strategy that will help advance the Progressive agenda. It's like what Rick wrote today, "Give progressives a fair fight on an even playing field, and this progressive movement will last a very long time indeed." Thanks for showing us how it's done Sir! John Gunn

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