Meet the New New Left, Same as the Old New Left

Spending some time with David Horowitz’s fascinating volume entitled Left Illusions…interesting how the arguments of today’s “progressives” are so similar to those of the New Left and its antecedents. Members of that movement felt that they were misunderstood by most Americans, who were too dumb to realize that the “progressives” were trying to “help” them. “We’re doing this for you!” a young Horowitz cried in his head as he marched in the 1948 May Day parade while being heckled by curious onlookers who denounced the marchers as subversive Communist agitators. Barack Obama, a child of the New Left, seems similarly frustrated by opposition to his misguided attempts to “help” Americans through the institution of “progressive” policies. One hope’s eventually Obama will come to his senses as Horowitz did.

SOTU Pre-Game Shenanigans: Pelosi Jack-in-the-Box Routine

It was difficult to watch President Obama’s first addressing of the Congress without noticing the unbridled exuberance Nancy Pelosi exhibited throughout as she popped so energetically out of her chair at each applause line. In contrast, Joe Biden barely paid enough attention so as to know when to clap at all. In light of this memory, it seems appropriate to watch the montage again and have the same kind of laugh we have when we watch Howard Dean’s “I have a Scream” speech for the umpteenth time. Because something [like the fact that healthcare reform is in the ER] tells me Nancy may show more restraint this evening.

Obama to propose spending freeze – Glenn Thrush and David Rogers – POLITICO.com

Imagine that, Obama the deficit hawk. In what appears to be a political move intended to appease deficit-weary politicos and the public alike, Obama is poised to announce a halt in non-security discretionary spending. Cutting spending and pushing through an aggressive legislative agenda simultaneously will prove to be quite the balancing act, but I suspect the employment of creative fiscal gymnastics by Team Obama will make matters easier.

Obama to propose spending freeze – Glenn Thrush and David Rogers – POLITICO.com.

President Obama has announced a plan cut the deduction percentage that can be taken on one’s tax return for charitable contributions. While the administration claims that it will not affect behavior of taxpayers who give, we know better. This move will negatively impact charities. Why go after charities under the guise of soaking the rich by cutting the amount of deductions available to them? Perhaps to marginalise charities and use the proceeds to fund big government programs that will pick up the slack (in theory of course)?

Obama Finally Goes in O'Reilly

Its on now. Bill is going right after national security.

When it comes to Iran, Obama says he will not take the military option off the table. Says he can’t divulge detailed plans for a response to Iran. Diplomatic options and sanctions have not been exhausted. “Maybe” that will work says Bill.

Bill says Obama was right–Iraq was a mistake–but that Obama needs to admit the surge worked. Obama responds that the surge succeeded. But he will not admit he was wrong because we’re still wasting money over there. Bill challenges Obama to get the Iraqis to pay us back with oil money.

Then Bill call out Obama for saying McCain can’t find Bin Ladin. “You won’t invade Pakistan,” Bill says. Obama wiggles out, says time to put more pressure on Pakistan.

And like that, its over. Unlike his two-piece interview with Hillary, this one will be split up over 4 nights!

What if?

Let’s face it, the vaunted Clinton machine has shown complete fecklessness in the face of Obamania. The ways in which she has failed to make headway against this force of nature–the rhetoric of Obama–are countless. Its actually staggering the missed opportunities and the inability of her campaign to find weak points to harp on, especially considering the willingness of the Clintons to play dirty.

 A new thought occurred to me this afternoon, though. Did Hillary just get unlucky? What if Obama had decided to wait until the next go ’round in ’12? How would the “inevitable candidate” fared in a race without the Illinois senator-cum-rock star/hope-monger/Presidential candidate?

For starters, she would have dispatched all the second-tier candidates with ease. John Edwards would have remained as her chief rival. I suspect that she would have become at some point the clear establishment candidate, meaning all the endorsements and money flowing to Obama would instead have been hers. She would in that case have been able to play by her own rules. She could have hit Edwards with more traditional attacks, since he would be a more symmetrical opponent. Without Obama, it is highly likely she would have all but wrapped up the nomination by now.

Then what? She would face McCain in the general election. Theoretically, she should win, because she would be the “change candidate.” In the general election, her more centrist foreign policy would dilute McCain’s biggest selling point, and she could probably demagogue her way to victory on domestic issues.

But this is 2008. Would the voters really go for the old Clinton tricks this time around? Cynicism directed toward Washington is high, as shown by not only President Bush’s perennially dreadful approval ratings but also the even worse approval rating for the Democratic Congress (which somehow has managed to do worse than the shamefully useless Repubican Congress before it). The Clintons of ’92 and ’96 got away with all manner of semantic gymnastics and fallacy, and developed evasion of tough questions into an art form. They played dirty but never got mud on their clothes. And somehow, they could connect with Americans, who were all too happy to overlook the closets in Arkansas bulging with skeletons.

Methinks today’s voter would be less apt to let them get away with it. The Clinton machine is a 20th century dinosaur that has proven itself inferior to better evolved species. Perhaps she was unlucky in that in her year to shine, Obama also rose. Perhaps, however, she was doomed anyway.

Your comments are appreciated.