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View Diary: The Desensitization Continues - Updated (53 comments)

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  •  As far as desensitization goes (8+ / 0-)

    Obama's alliance with Summers, Geithner, and their ilk has been clear to me, not since he first named them to important positions (back then I harbored hopes that he was a)keeping his enemies closer, and b)making them clean up the mess they made in the 90s) but certainly since the early part of 2011. And really, even earlier than that, between his passion for Paygo and his conservative economic rhetoric in the fall of 2010.

    So as far as resignation is concerned--I agree with you about the technique, and that he's using it, but for a lot of us, the getting jerked around has stopped because we simply have consigned him to the category of an ideological opponent long since, regardless of his party affiliation.  

    Those who have done that generally were either less partisan to begin with, or were partisan but recognize that the party is an entity that moves through history and can change, either for good or ill (rather than being an essential identity that remains unchanging and is always good).  Those partisans who understand the party as a historical entity recognize that it has made several unannounced and largely unacknowledged moves to the right, transforming itself in several fundamental ways, over the past 3 years.

    Of course, the typical response is "it's always been this way" or "this has been going on since __". But the first response is ahistorical and unhelpful to an activist, however satisfying it might be to express one's bitterness in such a manner, and the second, while useful in calling attention to the long game of the right wing, does not rule out the fact that within a long game plan there are several important moves--and the one that has happened between, roughly, 2010 and now, is quite significant.

    The party of Kennedy is also the party of Eastland. The party of Javits is also the party of Goldwater. Where is our party? Where is the political party that will make it unnecessary to march on Washington?

    by SouthernLiberalinMD on Fri Sep 13, 2013 at 07:25:37 AM PDT

    •  Amen. (6+ / 0-)

      Just to add ... What's happened is that many think it's ok to grade/judge the Party and the Dems individually on a curve.  There are no absolutes.  So the old liberal Democratic Party and Dems just don't count anymore because it's all relative.  This is either just a rationalization or some are so ingrained with these relativistic philosophy.  However, there must be some absolutes when it comes to values.  Otherwise, there are no values, just current opinions and consensus, which I find frightening since then anything can be justified.

      The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. Bertrand Russell

      by accumbens on Fri Sep 13, 2013 at 07:36:21 AM PDT

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      •  This is a *tactic* and always has been since (7+ / 0-)

        the Clintons started pushing "pragmatism" in the early 90s. Or late 80s, I guess, to party insiders.

        I fell for it in the 90s, to some extent. I didn't agree with it, but I was willing to compromise. But what I was compromising with was a set of moving goalposts that only ever moved to the right, which essentially destroys both the idea of compromise and the idea of negotiation itself. In order to have a real negotiation, both parties need to establish positions at the beginning and move slowly together until they find a place in the middle that they can both accept (a "compromise.")

        In a Third-Way "negotiation," the conservative's real position is hidden because the goal is not to achieve a particular policy end, but to move the people on the other side of the table perpetually rightward. Each fight, whether over labor, the environment, regulation of the financial sector, or whatever, is much less important in itself than it is as fuel to move the left-wing rightward and eliminate opposition to a constant rightward movement of the country. So the real issue (for the conservative) is not labor, the environment, or regulation of the financial sector, but the transformation of the American political system.

        Thus, there is no stable position occupied by the Third Way, or "centrists," or whatever they want to call themselves except a hidden position or goal, which is to move left wing people and their concerns out of the public sphere and public influence as decisively as possible.

        I'm kind of embarrassed that I fell for it in the 90s, and more embarrassed that I fell for it in a different way with Obama (by then I had sussed out the overall tactic, but I trusted the center-left, and the center-left was backing Obama; also, Obama was able to convince me through some very effective speechmaking and other extremely skilled uses of language, that he wasn't like those other centrists, but was an actual, real centrist acting in good faith.)  Yeah, stupid, I know.

        The party of Kennedy is also the party of Eastland. The party of Javits is also the party of Goldwater. Where is our party? Where is the political party that will make it unnecessary to march on Washington?

        by SouthernLiberalinMD on Fri Sep 13, 2013 at 08:01:18 AM PDT

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      •  I should add one caveat: (5+ / 0-)

        There is one real position that the Third Way and other goalpost-moving conservatives actually do have, other than their desire to move left-wing people perpetually rightward: support for low taxes on the wealthy, which should always remain at Clinton-era levels or lower.

        The government-starving idea is real. The rest of the issue positions are perhaps real in the sense that right-wingers like to deprive labor of rights and money, like unregulated financial markets, and like allowing the private sector to despoil the environment, but the conservative policy goals are mostly gravy. The real goal is political.

        The party of Kennedy is also the party of Eastland. The party of Javits is also the party of Goldwater. Where is our party? Where is the political party that will make it unnecessary to march on Washington?

        by SouthernLiberalinMD on Fri Sep 13, 2013 at 08:06:01 AM PDT

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      •  "Grading on a curve" is awesome language (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        poligirl, PhilJD, accumbens, gooderservice

        and framing for this issue, and should be used liberally (heh).

        The party of Kennedy is also the party of Eastland. The party of Javits is also the party of Goldwater. Where is our party? Where is the political party that will make it unnecessary to march on Washington?

        by SouthernLiberalinMD on Fri Sep 13, 2013 at 08:08:29 AM PDT

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