EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Paul offers his opinion that a milestone was recently passed in the fight between liberals and progressives for the future of the Democratic Party, and perhaps for the future of America.
THE CRITICS ADORE! “The eternally intolerable Sunstone has no more insight into politics than a six year old brat has into the chemistry of fire. All Sunstone does in his recent post is play with matches, and quite predictably, he burns the house down.” — Arun Ghani, India’s Blogs and Beyond, “The Herald and News”, Hyderabad, India.
(About a 3 minute read)
Most of us Americans these days see in politics a sport, an entertainment. Which, of course, is fine if that’s how you want to approach the damn mess. At least, you’re thereby elevating it from the gutter to the stadium.
However, there are costs to approaching politics as a sport. One of those costs is that little or nothing you yourself say about the subject is going to be of any genuine use to others beyond perhaps its entertainment value to them.
All of the above should be taken as fair warning this post is likely to bore the sportsman in you — unless you are that happy sort of person capable of turning anything into a gratuitously exciting sport. If that’s you, you’re still welcome to read on. Make of this post whatever you will. Once published it’s yours. Just warning you I’m not myself playing any games here. At least, not any that I’m aware of.
Here’s how I see things — others may see otherwise. For the past 40 years, the Democratic Party has mostly been moving to the right. Nowadays on so many issues it is objectively to the right of Dwight Eisenhower in 1952. However, there has been a recent rebirth of progressive politics. Most likely Bernie Sanders has been the midwife.
As it stands this moment, the Democrats are divided between the liberal right and the progressive left. Which faction wins out in the end will go far towards determining the future of the Democrats — and most likely the future of America.
The core issue — the thing most at stake here — are the economic prospects of most Americans. If the liberals win, things will continue to slowly decline — as they have been doing now for 40 years.
If the progressives win out, there is some hope of true change. There is some hope that the economic prospects of most Americans will begin to rise, to brighten. Don’t get your hopes up too high, though. So much could go wrong. But progressives hold out more hope than liberals in this matter.
So who is going to win?
The outcome is still very much up in the air, but in my opinion, something has happened that might — in hindsight — be marked by historians as a significant bend in the road to the left.
Apparently, Gene Sperling has come out in support of the progressives.
As you might suspect, Sperling is one of those behind the scenes people. The people that now and then wield more influence on events than the folks in the public eye. His specialty is economic policy.
Here’s the astute New York Times political analyst, David Leonhardt:
Gene Sperling has been the common denominator of Democratic economic policymaking over the past three decades. After joining Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign, he spent eight years working in the Clinton White House and, later, five years in the Obama administration. Name a major Democratic policy push related to the economy — anti-poverty programs, taxes, health care — and Sperling has been involved.
Yesterday, he published an essay in the journal Democracy reflecting on the single biggest lesson he’s learned. It is the power of economic dignity — which, he argues, should be “the singular end goal for economic policy.”
To get specific, Sperling is proposing that Democratic economy policy be henceforth focused on three goals – centered on making possible economic dignity — not just for the well off — but for the average American:
- being able to care for one’s family;
- having the opportunity to reach one’s potential;
- and being free from domination and humiliation.
Just thought you might want to know what’s going on now — in case you haven’t already heard the news.