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#308941 - 10/17/18 05:01 PM What Left?
chunkstyle Offline
member

Registered: 10/02/07
Posts: 1076
One of the galling references I keep hearing from people is how the left wing of the american political duopoly should be responding to this and that in todays super heated news coverage.
I'm calling bull to the notion that there is any traditional left wing in American politics today with the exception of Sanders.
The two major political parties have shape shifted over the years and have swapped loyalties but as far as I can tell there are only center right and extreme right wing parties now for a variety of reasons. Many politicians talk in the language of leftists but rarely has any meaningful action been taken on behalf of the left's historic goal of equality, fraternity and solidarity.
I believe the acceleration of the dismantlement of the new deal began with Clinton's administration and we are now within a stones throw of the ultimate goal of the right. The privatization of S.S. and Medicare.
But perhaps I'm all wrong about it or perhaps others have a different idea of what left wing politics are.
I would suggest Thomas Frank's analysis (among a great many others) to be a fairly accurate description of the democratic parties rightward drift here:
Rightward Ho!

I'm tired of the professional class hectoring voters to elect meaningless candidates that benefit mostly themselves and their class but little else. Give folks true left populists and it's my belief that elections would be very different.

But until then, at the very least, can we stop calling the democratic party left?

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#308945 - 10/17/18 06:13 PM Re: What Left? [Re: chunkstyle]
jgw Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 05/22/06
Posts: 2153
Loc: Port Angeles, WA
I think there is a bit of confusion in that "The Left" and "The Right" are not political parties. They do, however, reflect who believes that regulation can be good and who believes regulations are never good. They also reflect groups that are socially responsible and those that are not.

That being said the Republicans, right now, are starting up on 'dealing' with entitlements due to their vast national debt and 3/4 trillion dollar deficit (which Obama had gotten under control). This tends to make me think that, quite possibly, the republican party is not exactly socially responsible.

One of the problems, with both parties, is that they tend to go too far. This is why each side must talk and find common ground which also tends to deny anybody going too far. I believe this is the nut that must be cracked to get back on track and is the basis of our system.

The Dems, right now, are running on Healthcare and rights (women's, children's, voter, etc). Seems to me that, right now, they seem like a bunch of real lefties.

I think the main problem is that the Dems are being led, in large part, by people more than 70 years old. Last your the VA gave me a day long memory test. I went back to get the results a couple of days later. I was asked how I thought I did and I told him "poorly". He said that, actually, I was better than most others in my age group (80's) If this is true then having a political party being led by a bunch of elderly is, quite possibly, the worst idea around. I am basing this on my own memory problems as well as other, connected ones. The current Dem leaders are the same ones that moved slightly right of center in their need to win and they were wrong. They continue to be wrong but the party, as a whole, seems to be moving left of center with a will. My hope is that the current elderly management of the Dems step down and make room for some a bit younger. If they do that they will still have a voice, if they don't I expect them to get throwed out without any input whatsoever.

Just a thought...................

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#308949 - 10/17/18 09:05 PM Re: What Left? [Re: chunkstyle]
chunkstyle Offline
member

Registered: 10/02/07
Posts: 1076
When I think of 'Left Wing' I'm thinking of the historical social concepts stemming from the french revolution: equality, fraternity and solidarity.

Those concepts have been most politically supported by the democratic party thru much of the 19th and 20th, no?. Not always or evenly thru out the country but generally speaking. The south gets complicated. A distrust of banks, elites and the professional class and support of working class and labor as a traditional base has been, until Clinton, main characteristics of the party.
I've agreed with Franks history of analysis of the Democratic party, as well as Chomsky, Hedges, Zinn and Vidal. The party got into a crises in the 70's and lurched to the right in the panic of 3 presidential election defeats.
Today we have a political spectrum that is center right democrats always groping for a public/private solution to governing and a deaf ear towards Labor. Deep in the pocket of the FIRE economy and pandering to a preferred college educated professional credentialed republican voters in the vain attempt at peeling some off for narrow margin victories. Always coming up short and alienating more and more of their traditional working class base. A strategy that came up short in 2016.
I'm not sure who the Democratic party represents anymore as they are decidedly NOT interested in egalitarian causes. Adopting instead a 'merit' based system.
Their lack of solidarity with Labor was also on display in 2016 and the decades before. Nafta, card check, ignoring the rank and file while campaigning, etc...
Liberty? Think massive expansion of the prison system and the Clinton crime bill.
Equality? Inability to raise the minimum wage. Clintons repeal of Glass Steagal. Saving the banks while millions lost homes.

To be sure the republican party is now a party of racists and xenophobes. That's all they really have on tap to offer. Owning Libs by throwing revanchism in their face. I agree with Frank that the republicans have stolen the language of populism out from under democrats (And used effectively by Trump where it mattered). Nut why not? Democratic leaders have long forgotten it's meaning and why.

I don't think you can claim regulation as a litmus test for wether or not a political party is left or right, JGW. I'd argue that some decent regulation came out of Busch Sr.'s administration. Most notably after the S&L crises. (remember how they actually jailed white collar criminals then?). They didn't 'foam the runway' for them as Obama did. See the contradiction? The right can regulate and has done so in the past. It's not a valid argument to say that regulation belongs solely to a 'left' political party. Regulations often are done at the behest of monied interest to create barriers of entry to markets and reduce competition, etc..

I still say there is no left political wing in American politics currently though I hope that changes for the good of the country.

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#308951 - 10/17/18 10:14 PM Re: What Left? [Re: chunkstyle]
Greger Online   content

Pooh-Bah

Registered: 11/24/06
Posts: 14367
Loc: Florida
Oh, Chunky, you're running yourself ragged trying to decide where the middle is and for some reason you think it's a bad place to be.

The nation has divided itself into two factions.
For the sake of convenience let's call these two factions Right and Left.
Red Team and Blue Team, Conservatives and Liberals....Republicans and Democrats.

You seem pretty sure that there is a third team. There isn't.

Only two.

Yin and Yang.
_________________________
"Be yourself; everyone else is already taken." Oscar Wilde

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#308954 - 10/17/18 10:53 PM Re: What Left? [Re: chunkstyle]
NW Ponderer Offline
Moderator
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/09/11
Posts: 16303
One of the MOST interesting races I'm watching on Nov 6 will be Washington's 9th district. The candidates are Adam Smith and Sandra Smith. Adam is the incumbent, and a centrist Dem. Sandra (no relation) is a Democratic socialist. Smith v. Smith.

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#308956 - 10/18/18 03:24 AM Re: What Left? [Re: chunkstyle]
pdx rick Offline
Member
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 05/09/05
Posts: 41049
Loc: Puget Sound, WA

I just watched the District 8 debate between Dino Rossi (R) and Kim Schrier (D). Kim's opening statement was about being a Pediatrician, taking care of her patients for 20 years, and the concern for the possibility that pre-existing conditions will be a thing again.

Rossi's opening statement was about being a grandson of a coal minor in Washington's Black Diamond mine, grand parents migrating to America, how he put himself through school and bought his first apartment building at the age of 25. Nothing about other people like Kim Schrier, it was "me, me, me, I, I, I" just like that other fake "self-made" idiot in the Oval Office.
_________________________
Contrarian, extraordinaire



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#308958 - 10/18/18 11:35 AM Re: What Left? [Re: pdx rick]
NW Ponderer Offline
Moderator
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/09/11
Posts: 16303
I was listening to NPR last night on the way home from a screening of Mr. Smith goes to Washington, and there was a discussion of the "hidden tribes" report that just came out from More in Common. The research indicated that policies are being driven by small minorities on the left and right - really small (8% on the left, 6% on the right) - that have outsize influence and do not represent the vast "exhausted majority" of the frustrated middle. Eye opening reading.

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#308959 - 10/18/18 01:18 PM Re: What Left? [Re: Greger]
chunkstyle Offline
member

Registered: 10/02/07
Posts: 1076
Originally Posted By: Greger
Oh, Chunky, you're running yourself ragged trying to decide where the middle is and for some reason you think it's a bad place to be.

The nation has divided itself into two factions.
For the sake of convenience let's call these two factions Right and Left.
Red Team and Blue Team, Conservatives and Liberals....Republicans and Democrats.

You seem pretty sure that there is a third team. There isn't.

Only two.

Yin and Yang.





I've never said there was a third team Gregor. In fact, I've started this thread to argue the idea that there is only one party with two factions.
It might have been clumsy but my argument was based on defining the traditional ideals of the left, tracing it's lineage to the French Revolution, and contrasting that with today's Democratic Party that is often associated with 'the left'.
That's a false perception.
The Democratic Party of today is more of a center right party that your Eisenhower republican would be comfortable in than any FDR democrat.
To call it 'left' is a sham narrative meant to illicit votes from an ever shrinking pool of voters.
The center is firmly in the right political spectrum. You may be comfortable with that but I'm not. Many reasons why I'm not. One of them being the imposed austerity and deindustrialization that began under Clinton and has led to our current POTUS.
I understand if your happy with the current Democratic Party alignment. I'm merely asking to stop calling it representative of left wing ideology or policy.
Or argue that it is, if you can. Metaphors don't count.

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#308961 - 10/18/18 03:44 PM Re: What Left? [Re: chunkstyle]
chunkstyle Offline
member

Registered: 10/02/07
Posts: 1076
For me, the money shot of the Video in my initial post starts at 17:50. Franks unflinching assessment of Clinton and Obama's fealty to wall street is not your daddies democratic party. To some this may be a good thing. To others, not so much. It in no way represents left wing politics as traditionally defined.

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#308962 - 10/18/18 04:53 PM Re: What Left? [Re: NW Ponderer]
chunkstyle Offline
member

Registered: 10/02/07
Posts: 1076
Originally Posted By: NW Ponderer
I was listening to NPR last night on the way home from a screening of Mr. Smith goes to Washington, and there was a discussion of the "hidden tribes" report that just came out from More in Common. The research indicated that policies are being driven by small minorities on the left and right - really small (8% on the left, 6% on the right) - that have outsize influence and do not represent the vast "exhausted majority" of the frustrated middle. Eye opening reading.




PIE CHARTS INCOMING!!!!!
grin

Pardon my skepticism, NWP, but I'm exhausted reading studies from smart people to help explain to other smart people what time it is.....

I roamed around their web site and found the group to be a basket of professionals with pedigreed resumes.

My biggest complaint is how this does nothing more than prop up a status quo ideology that is crumbling and wants to explain it away by tribal identity. Lots of "we've identified" and "We've determines".

It reminds me of the well heeled micro targeting echo chamber Hillary campaign of 2016....

For a different take:
Phoney tribe theory



Edited by chunkstyle (10/18/18 04:59 PM)

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