I’ve been reading (and reading of) a lot of criticism– some of it quite harsh– of Jane Hamsher for her take-no-prisoners approach to criticism of and activism against Obama and the Democrats for their advancement of what they allege is health care reform. I won’t bore you with the details, but I will say that I am with Hamsher on this one. I’ll let her explain herself:

The Obama White House has been working furiously to pass an enormous transfer of wealth to the insurance companies from the start. I don’t see how reporting this constitutes “attacking the administration,” or why it “hurts” the “progressive agenda” to do so.

I reckon I shouldn’t be surprised at this point, but it still amazes me a bit to see self-identified liberals and progressives still toeing the Clintonian, New Democrat, neoliberal, pro-corporate line after all these years. It’s clear to me that this approach has done nothing to help working people, and it has done nothing but help the middle class in this country immolate itself. It has also done little more than set the table for the GOP’s more direct brand of anti-populist policy activism. Yet, even as they’re slowly bleeding themselves and further alienating those who suffer under these ‘centrist’ and ‘moderate’ policies, they spare little vitriol for their fellows on the left who refuse to go along.
At least the teabaggers have the sense to point outside themselves to find scapegoats. This little dust-up over Jane Hamsher doesn’t make me respect the nitwit teabaggers any, but it does demonstrate how much of the U.S.’s putative left is little better. The right wing noise machine has been so successful over the past four decades that liberals and progressives now fall all over themselves to avoid feeling worthy of the Dirty Fucking Hippie label. This is a recipe for both short-term failure and long-term disaster. Robert Cruickshank explains:
What I mean by “1990s politics” is the notion that progressives must abandon their own beliefs, desires, wants and needs, and sign on to a neoliberal, pro-corporate agenda that is inimical to them out of a deliberately misstated assessment of “political reality.” 1990s politics was dominated by the notion, embodied in Bill Clinton, that progressive values may be correct, but they are fringe, unrealistic, fanciful, and when held fast, are a threat to incremental change and enables the possibility of a right-wing resurgence.

As we should have learned at the end of the 1990s, and especially during the 2000s, the exact opposite is true: it is neoliberalism and pro-corporate policies that are unrealistic and open the door to a right-wing resurgence. But few people seem interested in learning that lesson.

We can’t ‘hope’ for ‘change’ from our elected leaders until we are willing to change ourselves.

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