The impotence of the Democratic Party’s Left Wing in attempting to affect the content of the party’s health care reform legislation has produced triumphalist rhetoric from DLC enthusiasts and discouragement verging on self-loathing among “progressives.” The once-proud Leftist contingent has been reduced to whining queries about how “Rahm,” the President’s Chief of Staff, can simultaneously be so mean (“fuckin’ retards”) to those on the Left while solicitously offering compromise after compromise to Blue Dogs and even Republicans.
This defeat for the Democratic Left has led to some self-examination of tactics. Glenn Greenwald lays the blame for the irrelevance on an inability to convince power brokers that Lefties were serious about not supporting a bad bill:
Until they can not only imagine it, but in fact project it in a political negotiation, progressives will remain irrelevant outside of Democratic primaries, when they will receive a plethora of campaign promises sure to be abandoned by pols. Cuz that is what pols do.
We need more than a critique of tactics. If the Left is not careful, we may begin to adopt the view promoted by the corporate media and the Democratic Party’s leadership that Leftist ideas and policies are themselves irrelevant and hopelessly unpopular.
The irony is that the opposite is the case. From a longer historical perspective, it becomes clear that Leftist views, especially radical Leftist views, are so potentially attractive that they are labeled as anathema by the power elites. For more than a century, any idea, no matter how violent or rebellious, can be advocated and promoted in America except for Leftist ideas. In fact, the Radical Right has been allowed, sometimes invited, to wage terrorism against citizens and even parts of the government while that same government expended considerable resources to harass, imprison and murder Leftists for exercising Constitutional rights.
What is the truth? Do Leftist ideas really hold no appeal for the average American, or are America’s corporate and political elites really scared of Reds?