Election 2012

The Progressive Firewall

Douglas Brinkley in his brilliant interview with the president in Rolling Stone:

Viewed through the lens of history, Obama represents a new type of 21st-century politician: the Progressive Firewall. Obama, simply put, is the curator-in-chief of the New Deal, the Fair Deal, the New Frontier and the Great Society. When he talks about continued subsidies for Big Bird or contraceptives for Sandra Fluke, he is the inheritor of the Progressive movement's agenda, the last line of defense that prevents America's hard-won social contract from being defunded into oblivion. [...]

Ever since Reagan, both the New Deal and the Great Society have been under continuous siege by the American right. Bill Clinton survived two terms only by co-opting traditional GOP issues like welfare reform and balanced budgets. Unlike Clinton, Obama must hold tighter to the Progressive movement's reins. There are no more moderate Republicans left in Congress to do business with; today's GOP conservatives want to roll back, not reform. Having brought Obamacare this far, the president must find a way to close the deal in his second term.

Paul Nitze, the foreign-policy guru of the Truman administration, once told me that the problem with historians like myself is that we're always hunting for a cache of documents to analyze. What our ilk tends to forget, he chided, is that inaction is also policy. Under this criterion, Obama must also be judged by the things he won't allow to happen on his watch: Wall Street thieving, Bush-style fiscal irresponsibility, a new war in the Middle East, the reversal of Roe v. Wade, the dismantling of Medicare into a voucher program – the list is long. The offense-driven, Yes-We-Can candidate of 2008 has become the No-You-Won't defensive champion of 2012. Obama has less a grand plan to get America working than a NO TRESPASSING sign to prevent 100 years of progressive accomplishments from being swept away, courtesy of Team Romney, in a Katrina-like deluge of anti-regulatory measures.

This is a must-read article. The stakes in the election couldn't be higher.

  • KanaW

    You ready to cry? Or scream and throw things against the wall? Read this:


    I can usually come up with something snarky to say, but on this one I’m speechless.

    • http://www.politicalruminations.com/ nicole

      Does that really need to be more circulated than it is already? We know that it’s tripe, but not everyone will.

      • KanaW

        My deepest apologies.

        • http://www.politicalruminations.com/ nicole

          Kana, no need for that. I’m just sayin’ that we don’t need to give these people links. My opinion. Nothing more.

  • D_C_Wilson

    Progressives have spent the last 4o years on defense, trying to mitigate the damage done by conservative ideas. It’s going to be that way for a while yet until we can start nudging that Overton Window back toward the center.

    The reason why republicans won’t negotiate any more is because they no longer believe in governing, just waging war and handing gobs of taxpayer’s money over to Wall Street. The democrats, however, still do want to govern, so that will be more than willing to make concessions to conservatives if only to get a few crumbs handed back to the middle class.

  • missliberties


    That is the story isn’t it.

  • http://www.politicalruminations.com/ nicole

    “inaction is also policy. Under this criterion, Obama must also be judged by the things he won’t allow to happen on his watch: ”

    I think that some of us have known this for quite a long while. It is the crux of my own anger at the emoprogs who can’t or won’t understand this concept.

    They also have trouble understanding that not to vote is a vote for the opposition. It is every bit as much of a vote as those cast by you and I. Same thing goes for those who vote for sillyass third party candidates as a protest vote.

    • mrbrink

      They act like politics is a fucking house party, and if they don’t like the vibe, man, they can just pull up and take their vibe to the taco hut because they’ve got that really good green sauce. What do they call it? Salsa verde? yeah. I think that’s the stuff. Good stuff.

  • Brutlyhonest

    Did you catch Nancy Pelosi on with stewart the other night? She was making the point that these elections are about much more than the each individual contest, especially for women and their rights. Jon, despite having run stories all week supporting her position, condescendingly laughed at the thought and said there are people on the other side who would disagree. Really? The people wanting to take women’s rights away would disagree with that? SHOCKER!

    Jon, chris wallace will NEVER, that’s NEVER stop calling you partisan no matter how hard you try.

  • BuffaloBuckeye

    Thanks, Bob. This is as a President should be thinking.