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Dept. of Wishful Thinking

By Michael J. Smith on Thursday November 9, 2006 12:39 PM

Here's a good one, from the happy pen of Nathan Newman, at Alternet:
A Victory for Progressive Values

Dems' victories are progressives' victories, and though there's still much to be done, the election was a great first step.

Let's be clear -- it wasn't just a good night for Democrats. It was a good night for progressives, and no media spin that these new elected officials are "conservatives" changes who they are. The media is always marvelling that "new" Democrats are so much more conservative than "traditional" liberal Democrats of the past -- which would surprise all the folks firehosed in the streets of the South by many Democrats of a generation ago.

There are no doubt some conservatives among the new Democrats elected but as Rick Perlstein, Ezra Klein and Chris Bowers note, many were progressive and Netroots supported and almost all were tough on core economic justice issues.

Let's remember -- those massive Democratic majorities of a generation ago were fake. In 1981, Ronald Reagan was able to control the agenda in Congress because 67 Boll Weevil Democrats essentially caucused with the GOP.... I actually am more confident in the present 228-230 Dem majority we are getting this round to support progressive initiatives than those fake-larger majorities of the past.

Might as well knock down straw men, I guess, if they're all you can land a punch on. Nathan's argument seems to be that yeah, there are a lot of reactionary Dems who got into office this week, but what the hell, the party has never been any damn good, so this is not a step back. It's a sound argument, as far as it goes, but it doesn't explain why Nathan is so happy. And it certainly doesn't explain his "confidence" that the current mule team will "support progressive initiatives." That's quite an assertion -- based, as far as I can tell, on nothing more or less than a Kierkegaardian leap of faith.

Now when it comes to leaps of faith, I can respect ones that have a worthy object to leap at: the Lord God Jehovah, or the communist millennium, or pick your own. But the Democratic Party?

Well, chacun a son gout.

Comments (7)

Yeah! Shack-a-son-goat for me too!


pray tell
is a progressive value
is it a value like say a family value
or like
a walmart value
a "this week only" value

J. Alva Scruggs:

A progressive value is the blue plate special at Joseph "Ptomaine Joe" Lieberman's diner.

I thought the "progressive value" was the quantity which is the sum of all democratic party intgrity divided by the square of Howard Dean's hat size. (The "progressive value" is usually a negative integer.)


I thought the "progressive value" was the quantity which is the sum of all democratic party intgrity divided by the square of Howard Dean's hat size. (The "progressive value" is usually a negative integer.)

Posted by AlanSmithee | November 9, 2006 10:20 PM

Given that Howard Dean's hat size is a positive number, that would give us a negative number for the sum of all Democratic Party integrity!

It's amusing to what someone try to wring coherence from phenomena that, no matter how approached or analyzed, will properly yield none. Business-friendly centrism has no necessary implications for social policy (the economies of single-payer health care aside, and our business elites still haven't realized that it will save them money, so it's still off the table) and so the risible sight of N2 trying to find "progressive" values in a hash of reactionary moves and countervailing saves of humane values.

However, it does show that the faithful need to be told it was an unequivocal victory for all their positions, such positions being outside of what the Dems will actually deliver. Dem insiders, from candidates to pundits, now have the spotlight because of this victory, and it's really the last place they want to be. Watch closely to see the flop-sweat on the performers, and note the members of the audience heading for the exits.

js paine:

here's a gem line :

"tough on core economic justice issues"

do dis make
visions of profit bustin
wage liftin
federal klass rangers
float thru yer head gang ??

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