Left Behind

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Perhaps President-elect Obama isn't the left-wing radical so feared by the green-inkers at Newsmax and Human Events. And this is distressing some of his most vocal supporters. We are a few months  away from inauguration, but impatient progressives are already fuming that Slavoj Zizek hasn't been appointed to the National Security Council. Here is The Nation's Washington correspondent, Chris Hayes, on the coming Obama betrayal:

Not a single, solitary, actual dyed-in-the-wool progressive has, as far as I can tell, even been mentioned for a position in the new administration. Not one. Remember this is the movement that was right about Iraq, right about wage stagnation and inequality, right about financial deregulation, right about global warming and right about health care. And I don't just mean in that in a sectarian way. I mean to say that the emerging establishment consensus on all of these issues came from the left.

Hayes is being sectarian—and reductionist. God knows what it means to be "right" about health care, for instance, when The Nation's solution to America's problem (a single-payer model) hasn't been attempted. This magazine has addressed the problems of American health care at great length and has acknowledged that the current system is, in many respects, broken. Does that mean that libertarians have also been "right" about the issue, that we too should expect representation in the next administration's "team of rivals?" Does one only have to diagnose a problem to be "right," or must we also provide an effective prescription? It is amusing, though, to watch young folks like Hayes, who came of age during the George W. Bush presidency, discover that Obama will not simply ascend to the presidency, pull out of Iraq and Afghanistan, close Guantanamo, disassemble the NSA spying program, and create a Department of Peace, headed by Ramsey Clark. There is a reason that Obama's first term is starting to look like a third term for Bill Clinton.

Update: My indefatigable colleague Damon Root blogged Hayes earlier today. Check it out (and the hundred plus comments) here.

NEXT: New Council of Economic Advisers Chief Romer on Taxes and the Beast

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  1. Barack Obama will be inaugUrated in 57 days.

    I don’t think his first term “is beginning to look like” much of anything yet.

  2. God knows what it means to be “right” about health care…

    In the age of self evidence, to be right about something means only that you beleive it.

  3. Barack Obama will be inaugUrated in 57 days.

    I don’t think his first term “is beginning to look like” much of anything yet.

    joe’s right, all we know is that he’s got a bunch of old Clinton hacks, led by a guy who’s version of appropriate dinner speaking behavior is to figuratively skewer his opponents with a knife in public.

    Nice.

    No, joe, it’s not “beginning to look like” anything. Nothing to see here, move along.

    Partisan hackwit dumbass.

  4. Update: My indefatigable colleague Damon Root blogged Hayes earlier today. Check it out (and the hundred plus comments) here.

    Just rolling out of bed there Michael? Good rule of thumb; Never blog until after your first cup of coffee.

  5. Nice Root Retread Mike.

  6. I don’t understand what you’re making fun of here. Hayes is simply wondering why Obama doesn’t have more advisors from the left. Despite his poor phrasing, what he’s basically asking is why Obama’s administration looks like a center-right administration when the country appears to be center-left. Now you can dispute those assumptions — I myself do think the current slate does look center-right, while I’m not sure just how center-left the country is — but picking on his hyperbolic sentence construction seems to miss the point.

    It’s not look Reason doesn’t also take the opportunity to occasionally point out that its opinions on some issues reflect the emerging consensus of the country as a whole (on drug-related crime sentencing, on eminent domain) and to lament how government bureaucrats (and their jackboots) are out of sync with that consensus.

  7. So, OtherMatt, what did the appointment of Paul O’Neil and Andy Card indicate about the direction of George W. Bush’s economic policy?

    Oh, and, er, insert pointless profanity and insults here. Just to keep up with the high level of intellectual content we’ve come to expect from you?

  8. Democratic Presidents are never beaten by the center. They’re destroyed by their own left (see: Johnson, Carter).

  9. Just an FYI, OtherMatt, Andy Card was Chief of Staff, and Paul O’Neil, Treasury Secretary.

    Thought I’d save you the Googling, ansthe chances of you actually knowing anything on your own, other than how you can’t stop thinking about me, are vanishingly small.

  10. The one time the right wing tried to destroy a Democratic President the most, was when they failed the biggest: Bill Clinton. It just made the left love him more, even though he wasn’t one of them. They had to. He was being attacked by those mean right wingers!

  11. BDB,

    Would Truman be an example of a Democratic president who was destroyed by the center?

  12. Geithner at Treasury = 4 more years of Bushonomics.

    Hillary at State = War with Iran

    Jim Leach = more deregulation of financial markets

  13. I guess, joe, but that is reaching far back. Usually Democrats self-destruct rather than being beaten by Republicans. Even Gore–he lost because his left defected to Nader in sufficent amounts to throw the election.

  14. Of course, George W. Bush also appointed a well-respected centrist with a knack for not rocking the boat and working across the aisle (Colin Powell) and a hard-eyed realist (Dick Cheney) to run his humble foreign policy.

  15. BDB,

    Hey, you actually bring up a good tactic for Obama. He needs to govern from the economic center if the country is going to thrive or even recover. Yet he may need support from the economically illiterate left.

    He should organize a right wing attack on himself. It would even be Pareto optimal!

  16. “Not a single, solitary, actual dyed-in-the-wool progressive has, as far as I can tell, even been mentioned for a position in the new administration.”

    Ha!

    No one that this guy would consider an “actual progressive” has ever endorsed any policy that has ever been proven to be actual progress.

    It’s just another term for liberal.

    And, of course, it is physically impossible for anything liberal to ever be anything other than an abject failure.

  17. “He should organize a right wing attack on himself. It would even be Pareto optimal!”

    You know, sometimes I think Bill Clinton baited the right wing into attacking him for just that reason.

  18. Of course, George W. Bush also appointed a well-respected centrist with a knack for not rocking the boat and working across the aisle (Colin Powell) and a hard-eyed realist (Dick Cheney) to run his humble foreign policy.

    Wait, I forgot: an academic Sovietologist best known for her elevation of detailed understandings over ideology.

  19. Melody Barnes is a dyed-in-the-wool progressive, and she’s going to be running domestic policy.

    Goes to show the problem with spouting off before all the facts are in.

  20. If the women you just mentioned is a leftist, joe, then I have a theory. Obama is fucking with NRO so they switch back and forth between SecretRadicalMarxist and “dissapointed supporters” until they don’t know which to type anymore.

  21. Hey, you actually bring up a good tactic for Obama. He needs to govern from the economic center if the country is going to thrive or even recover. Yet he may need support from the economically illiterate left.

    haha, yeah glibertarians had nothing to do with how the economy was run into the ground (as yet another bank fails).

    With the economy falling apart I don’t see Obama making out-of-left field cabinet appointments. He’s going with experience, but he’ll be issuing the orders. Hayes needs to relax.

  22. “Does that mean that libertarians have also been “right” about the issue, ”

    You damn right we are. We are never wrong about anything?
    Okay, maybe open borders, I disagree with that, but other than that, name one other thing the Libertarians(notice, big ‘L’)are wrong on?
    I can’t think of one thing.

  23. BDB,

    I like your theory, but really, I don’t think there’s that much too it. He’s named a bunch of people, and he’s going to name a bunch of other people. Some of them are to his right, some of them are to his left, and some of them are ideologically close to him.

    If there’s any pattern, he seems to be appointing people to White House policy positions who are a bit more to the left, while appointed Big Names to the departments – said Big Names being Clintonites/centrists, owing to the fact that the centrist Clinton administration is the only one from which Big Names can be drawn.

  24. One of the reason’s Obama’s drawing from Clinton’s employment pool is that he has little experience. When clinton came from Arkansas, he brought some Arkansans with him and appointed old Carter people. When Bush 43 came in, he brought texans and old Bush 41/Reagan people.

    Obama never having led anything also doesn’t have any former followers to bring with him.

  25. I pledge to never read a Moynihan article again.

    I won’t click on his links, I won’t post in threads to his articles so that that second page hit is registered, I won’t read his articles in the main section.

    I’m just stopping. Cold turkey.

    Why?

    Because he’s chortling in this article that Obama won’t close Guantanamo and won’t stop the NSA surveillance program[s], and he’s delighted by this, because it means he can laugh at those silly, silly civil libertarians who supported Obama. Moynihan wants Guantanamo open so he can laugh at people. That means that he sucks moose cock [A] and is not a libertarian [B]. It’s not worth it to give him the hits any more, even just to insult him, the way I am here. This is your last hit from me, you great big queef.

  26. But, then, he named Daschle to head up HHS. Far from being a Clintonite, he was the leader of the Democrats when the Clintons were “triangulating” against them.

    At the same time, he named Summers the head of the Council of Economic Advisors, a White House policy group.

  27. Abdul is onto it.
    But beyond that, Obama can’t politically drag his old Illinois friends into the limelight.
    I mean, they were people like Bill Ayers and Jeremiah Wright and Tony Rezko, for heaven sake. No way he’s going to want those guys around. Basically he’s got to ditch his old inner circle and get in with the in-crowd in Washington, which basically means Clintonites. That’s the only way he’ll be able to accomplish anything. Otherwise he’d be fighting his party’s own power structure the whole time. Like Jesse Ventura in Minnesota, he’d have to fight both the Democrats and the Republicans. Since he’s got no real friends in Washington, he needs to make friends with the powerful people.

  28. “He’s going with experience, but he’ll be issuing the orders. Hayes needs to relax.”
    Fuck. Now I can’t relax.

  29. Whoops, Summers is head of the National Economic Council.

    I mean, they were people like Bill Ayers and Jeremiah Wright and Tony Rezko, for heaven sake.

    Uh, yeah, that was his “inner circle” when he was a state legislator and Senator. What?

  30. “haha, yeah glibertarians had nothing to do with how the economy was run into the ground (as yet another bank fails).”
    It’s amazing, but none of us was seriously consulted on monetary or fiscal policy during the aforementioned. And yet it’s somehow our fault.

    “I’m a Jew, a lonely Jew…”

  31. Obama never having led anything

    I believe he did admit to having Led Zeppelin in college.

  32. I just don’t plain get it. The Obamanation was supposed to “hope and change”. If, elected he was going to be different. There was to be nothing like him that has ever trod the American political landscape, blah, blah.
    So why is he appointing Clinton administration holdovers. God, he is appointing Hillary herself. Where is the motherfucking change? So far this administration looks like what the second half of Clinton’s first term would have looked like if the Republicans hadn’t won Congress during the ’94 midterms.

  33. He seems to be heading toward a China-like system. Free markets in charge of wealth creation, tough military strictly defensive or for regional expansion, screw land based workers in the rural areas, devolve power to elites in the cities, pay lip service to environmentalism, move toward a political patron system, and, I predict, a rediscovery here of the importance of the export economy.

  34. But beyond that, Obama can’t politically drag his old Illinois friends into the limelight.

    He appointed Valerie Jarrett as a Senior White House advisor.

    But most of his “Chicago Inner Circle” seems to consist of people he knows from the University of Chicago Law School, who’d make the most sense as judicial appointments.

  35. to consist of people he knows from the University of Chicago Law School

    Including that nerdy kid named “Wendell” who Obama gave a wedgie to in the locker room.

  36. Gilbert Martin: “And, of course, it is physically impossible for anything liberal to ever be anything other than an abject failure.”

    That’s exactly why we should rescind all their failed social experiments. Bring back slavery and child labor!

  37. Melody Barnes is a dyed-in-the-wool progressive, and she’s going to be running domestic policy.

    I thought Obama would be running domestic policy…

  38. Bring back slavery and child labor!

    Democrats are back in control, so we’re closer than ever!

  39. A hard-lefty in my Facebook circle recently said, re Obama: “He’d better not go all ‘DLC’ on us…”

  40. You’re going to get more or less the same foreign policy (albeit with additional welfare money that doesn’t exist sent overseas and more rule by international bureaucrats), awful court picks, and awful domestic policies in general.

    Congratulations.

  41. Honestly except for Regan winning the cold war (that was a big deal), Bill Clinton is easily the best president we have had in my life. He certainly was not perfect but after Bush, four year of someone who acts like Clinton would be great.

  42. “after Bush, four year of someone who acts like Clinton would be great.”

    It looks like the Obama foreign and domestic policy will be pretty much a continuation of Bushes. Whether that’s great or not depends on your opinion of Bush.

  43. I know, joe, I was just…being facetious.

    He certainly was not perfect but after Bush, four year of someone who acts like Clinton would be great.

    I’m with ya there. If we can get ‘don’t ask don’t tell’ moved into several other major domestic areas such as drug use and a few other things, plus maybe Welfare Reform II: The Revenge of Welfare Reform, an expanded NAFTA, and a couple of government shut downs, hell I’ll vote for Obama two times.

  44. All the former presidents look good these days. Liberals are talking about how awesome Poppy Bush was. The press just about deified Gerald Ford.

    Clinton? The guy looks like Abraham J. Washington right about now.

  45. “I can’t think of one thing.”

    The words of the true believer so sure of his own righteousness as to be useless in society. Another reason to pass on “L”ibertarianism. Too many like that. Reminds me of the type of Obama voter being ridiculed in the post.

    “It’s amazing, but none of us was seriously consulted on monetary or fiscal policy during the aforementioned.”

    While I don’t think it’s “your” fault–and I’d lean libertarian on how to deal with this mess–my question would be why anyone would ask you. You all are great whiners but never seem to have an answer. You just scream how stupid everyone else is. Then, when the opportunity presents itself, didn’t most of you vote for the man who ran–and won–as the most statist candidate in most of our lifetimes?

    Sorry. I’ve no “reason” to trust Libertarians with anything.

    Oh, and while I’m ranting, the idea that “liberals,” in the modern sense of the word, had anything to do with the abolition of slavery is foolishness.

    Sorry. I know better than to read comments. It’s like driving by an accident. I can’t help it.

  46. heh heh

    Time will tell, but so far it looks like “the one we’ve all been waiting for” wasn’t all he was cracked up to be, was he?

    We even hear that Gates may stay as SecDef. Now wouldn’t that be rich? Oh I’d think it was great, but if it happens it’ll send the kossacks into a tizzy. And it’ll be fun to watch.

    We’re even hearing that he may not cancel the Bush tax cuts, and may delay increasing taxes on the rich.

    This transition might be more interesting that I thought.

  47. I look forward to Hit and Run trashing the Obama adminstration for the next 4 years after trashing Bush for 8.

    The one thing I’ve learned about self proclaimed libertarians, beyond their “rational” based fantasyland, is since they never actually get elected and have to put policies in place, they are able to constantly complain without having to provide any viable solutions.

  48. That’s a true story.

    The worst curse the Libertarian party could get, would be to actually win, then have to put some of their loonier ideas in practice, and then face the consequences.

    But hey, if the extreme end of your party is arguing about whether there should be any government at all, and instead advocating shutting D.C. down like a failed Mervyn’s — well, as big as government has gotten, it might be good to do a four year stint of it.

  49. The Republicans don’t have the balls to put a presidential candidate up who would do anything rational about our health care system (like, maybe impose laws that led to actual free market conditions? AHHHH!!!! Banish the thought!).

    And Bush II, for all his shortcomings, deserves much credit for keeping us out of BS like Kyoto. Have any of you read projected auto use trends for India and China over the next 20 years? Anything we impose on ourselves is a joke, they’re going to be burning fossil fuel like it’s free.

    And then — of all things — I read last week that the MSM blamed the Republicans for stopping the auto bailout. At least temporarily.

    So all in all, it’s looking like Obama may not turn out so bad.

    If you take a look at what the realistic alternatives are in this day and age.

    Here’s to the hope that this prognosis doesn’t change.

  50. “right about global warming and right about health care”

    The left is so full of cr*p they see everything in shades of brown.

    WRONG about global warming in 3 different ways: 1. Not a crisis. 2. The models are WRONG and temp data shows earth is COOLING. 3. Cap-n-trade has FAILED in Europe and would be a disaster for the economy but no help to curbing CO2.

    WRONG about health care. Reason readers can figure out how the single-payer mandates-for-all mantra is a disaster.

    We need a healthcare CHOICE agenda. Allow bare bones insurance, stop regulating it to death, limit malpractice, make doctors post prices. encourage price competition.

    In short, the left is wrong on so many things.

    They are wrong on Obama. He is still a leftist.

  51. I look forward to Hit and Run trashing the Obama adminstration for the next 4 years after trashing Bush for 8.

    Look forward too? Have you been reading this site for the past three weeks? Reason and/or reason commentators have personally held Obama responsible for stock market declines, the drug war, and not being progressive enough (????). Currently the best and brightest minds are trying to figure out a way to throw a kitchen sink through the internet.

  52. All the former presidents look good these days. Liberals are talking about how awesome Poppy Bush was. The press just about deified Gerald Ford.

    B.S. – have you heard their tax policies? Those guys are strait-up socialists!

  53. I don’t buy that there is going to be a betrayal. Obama simply knows that leftist economics don’t work and by inflicting them on an economy that’s already troubled is too bitter a pill to swallow and would cause a real depression. That is not in his interest. Leftonomics could have been pushed if we were in better shape, but not now.

    So, he will make up for it in many other ways. The courts, solidifying the leftist domination in the bureaucracy, union gifts, cultural Marxism, indoctrination in the schools, socializing healthcare etc.

  54. “Have you been reading this site for the past three weeks?”

    Actually I used to be a daily reader of Hit and Run and then it went off the tracks starting a few years ago with the change of editors etc. All pretentions of following a “libertarian” philosophy were dumped along the way by the writers and commenters. I finally dumped it from my bookmarks bar over a year ago. I think the bizarre support for nutjob Ron Paul was the final straw for me.

    So when I take a swipe at libertarianism, I should actually be aiming it at what seems to be people with this blog that claim to represent that position but do so with no actual commitment to any intellectual grounding. It’s become the philosophy of snark.

    I stumbled across this by following a link.

  55. I keep seeing this formulation: We even hear that Gates may stay as SecDef. Now wouldn’t that be rich? Oh I’d think it was great, but if it happens it’ll send the kossacks into a tizzy. And it’ll be fun to watch.

    Note the future tense. It’s always the future tense. Hillary Clinton, lemme get the tense right here, “was going to have been” the one to set off a tizzy on Daily Kos. But she didn’t. Now, the economic team is supposed to have been the announcement that did it. Nope.

    There’s been talk about keeping Gates as a holdover for weeks. No tizzies on Kos.

    People seem really eager for some sort of revolt to break out. I don’t may, maybe they want a counter for all the stories about the ongoing Republican civil war? But it’s always talked about in the future tense. Odd, that.

  56. Trust me guys – You will get nearly all you wanted from Obama. I would not have made the Commie Obama dot com investment if I had any doubts!

    It’ll be a long four years, but the media will tell us its “GREAT!!!”.

    Karl

  57. “I won’t click on his links, I won’t post in threads to his articles so that that second page hit is registered, I won’t read his articles in the main section.”

    I wonder why it is that people think liberals are emotionally underdeveloped? Oh, and don’t forget to hold your breath and jump up and down.

  58. The dyed-in-the-wool “progressives” will fill the lower ranks to burrow in. The high-profile appointees will be slowly pulled leftwards, their natural position, over time…..

  59. Fluffy,

    Rage much?

  60. Don’t fret, Obama had to appoint a competent economic team.

    Obama had an important role early in the growth of the mortgage crisis when he taught ACORN members to successfully agitate for mortgages that made no economic sense and that would never be paid back.

    Obama performed so well at ACORN that it led to a successful political career. As a senator, Obama sided with the Democrats in blocking reform of the mortgage mess for years, even after it was obvious by 2003 that toxic mortgages were a growing threat to housing and to the economy.

    Obama did so well as a senator that Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae gave him over $100,000 in political donations, second only to Senator Dodd among all those in Congress.

    When the toxic mortgages began to collapse, the $700 billion for the original bailout was a good figure to provide relief until the mortgage market recovered. But instead of the mortgage markets stabilizing, markets throughout the entire world went into a tailspin. What on earth could have driven such a disaster?

    Well, Obama is a Marxist, and every Marxist state without exception is an economic failure, or worse. This includes Western Europe, which has had depression level unemployment and (lack of) productivity for two decades.

    When it looked probable that Obama might be elected, investor were not willing to sit idly as a Marxist government reduced their returns or confiscated their profits, so all investors who were able bailed. This left the pension funds and 401-K retirees holding a greatly reduced bag, and destroyed liquidity and confidence throughout the markets.

    According to Bloomberg today, Nov 25, the total hit to markets around the globe is now $23 trillion, over one and one-half times USA GDP.

    So, Obama had to bring in a competent economic team. Otherwise the USASSR would not have survived six months, let alone as long as the USSR did. But the issue is still very much in doubt. Economic competence now may not be enough to overcome the stupidity of electing a Marxist as president.

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