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Michael van der Galien

NYT: Leftists on Verge of Full Revolt

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Posted on January 4 2010 2:30 pm
Michael van der Galien was born in the Dutch city of Leeuwarden in 1984. For as long as he can remember, he has been obsessed with the United States. When he was 17 years old, he started blogging - of course about America. His articles have been published at Big Hollywood, Pajamas Media, Hot Air (the GreenRoom) and Right Across The Atlantic. He's also an editor for the Dutch conservative blog, De Dagelijkse Standaard.
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Go to any Democratic enclave in Washington these days, and you will hear the same complaint: Obama isn’t a real progressive, and not only because his economic team, culled mostly from Wall Street, boasts an elite pedigree. Union leaders are incensed over the administration’s ambivalence toward a bill that would make it easier to organize workers. Black lawmakers accuse Obama of doing little to stem unemployment among the poor. Liberals in Congress are appalled that the president has jettisoned the “public option” he once championed for his health care plan, which has only temporarily distracted them from their fury over the military buildup in Afghanistan. The left is on the verge of full revolt.

For any Democratic president of the modern era, of course, such a state of affairs is about as predictable and unavoidable as repeats of “Law and Order.” Going back to the 1960s, a succession of Democrats have had to navigate two currents — on one side, the movement liberals who embrace social justice as their guiding cause, and on the other, more moderate coalition builders. Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton both identified more with the moderates than with the liberals and paid the price. Carter faced a challenge from his left, in the person of Ted Kennedy, during his 1980 re-election bid, and Clinton’s legacy of “triangulation” haunted his wife’s candidacy last year. Obama has long managed to plant himself in both camps, by virtue of his rhetoric and his résumé. In his writings, Obama casts himself as a flexible idealist, a less-partisan Democrat who rejected the dogmas of the ’60s generation. But largely because of his early stance against the Iraq war, and because he was a onetime community organizer and the first African-American president, liberals felt certain that he had to be, at heart, one of them.

Continue reading at the New York Times.

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