Left Behind


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.