“Much has been written about the right-ward shift of the Republican Party, but far less about a mounting left-wing movement among Democrats,” Joel Kotkin writes at the Orange County Register. “While the media tends to dismiss the right-wingers of the GOP as ‘wingnuts,’ it typically refrains from categorizing even the extreme left of the Democratic Party in a similar manner.” Gee, wonder why?
But now many on the political left are openly critical of the president, notably for his close ties to the moguls of Wall Street and Silicon Valley. These moguls have been the predominant beneficiaries of his economic policies while middle-class incomes have continued to languish – and even fall.
This disenchantment can be seen among many professional progressives and their allies in the associated media. Michael Moore, for example, recently suggested that in the future Obama would be remembered simply for being the nation’s “first black president.” This disenchantment is also spreading to the Left’s grass-roots, with the president’s favorability ratings dropping even in such progressive bastions as New York and California.
This situation resembles that which conservatives confronted in the waning days of the Bush administration. Bush’s failure to construct a successful market-based economic agenda, as well as his ill-conceived foreign policy engendered widespread anger on the right. The initial Tea Party insurgency had its roots in the movement by Bush, a “big government conservative,” to bail out the nation’s giant financial institutions.
Now, it’s the Left’s turn to be disappointed, and some, such as liberal commentator Sally Kohn, suggest that it’s time to create their own progressive version of the Tea Party.* These liberal critics, correctly, in my view, have been mortified by the Obama administration coziness – taking a page from Bush – with large financial institutions as well as increasing inequality.
The new left Democrats have little interest in embracing Obama’s clever meme of portraying himself as a moderate, bipartisan figure, something that helped him both win suburban voters and raise a ton of money from parts of the corporate elite. Instead of expanding crony capitalism, which has been the Obama default, but the new Left openly seeks to reshape the economic system itself.
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* Didn’t we already have that with the debacle that was Occupy Wall Street in the fall of 2011? Not to mention, as Glenn Reynolds noted just a few months before OWS kicked off, similarly stillborn efforts as “the Coffee Party, the Brownbaggers, The Other 95%, A New Way Forward, the One Nation Movement — am I leaving any out? I can’t remember — and none of them has gone much beyond a spot of initial positive coverage from the NYT.” Which brings this post full circle with Kotkin’s observation at the start of his article on the MSM seeing nothing but Skittles and unicorns** and double rainbows when it observes the far left.
** Yes, that was intentional.