The Story of the Year

Throughout the year, I’ve posted my thoughts on the swinging pedulum of politics, and how I believe the swing to the far right has ended and a swing back towards the middle well underway.

The Wall Street Journal editorial board is dismissing right-wing calls for David Gregory’s indictment as “entirely nonsensical,” reflecting the widely-held belief that the investigation involving the “Meet The Press” is not a legitimate use of law enforcement’s time.

On last Sunday’s program, Gregory displayed what appeared to be a gun magazine while interviewing National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre. Police officials here in Washington, who have launched a probe into the incident, have since confirmed that doing so was a violation of the law, and that NBC News knew as much prior to the show. Gun rights advocates are, for lack of a better term, up in arms.

The Wall Street Journal, defending David Gregory. The mind wobbles.

This year, 2012, has been a watershed year in the rise of liberal politics. It’s seen the re-election, on his own merits, of Barack Obama by a coalition of “minorities” (soon to be a majority), youth and women votes. The reasons are many, but they boil down to one: he’s trustworthy.

The attempt by Republicans and the right-wing to tear up politics by making the very word so untrustworthy by the average American that they stay away from the polls in droves backfired badly in 2012. The big money infusions of superPACs, big corporations and rich donors like the Koch brothers failed miserably.

Indeed, it failed so badly that the 2010 election must be considered an outlier, albeit a repeatable one in 2014. State houses, gerrymandering, and local governments have been so co-opted by the grifting and bribery of big money that it will be next to impossible to move the House to the middle anytime soon, I’m afraid.

Unless the news cycle overtakes it. And here, too, things bode well for liberals.

From the mildest winter on record early this year to the scorching heat of summer, from the selection of Mitt Romney — nominally a conservative but someone who’s credentials as a rightwinger were highly suspect — to the election of Barack Obama to a second term, from the uptick in the economy and the lowering of the unemployment rate (not fast enough, but then no Republican has dared propose a jobs program in Congress), even to the tragic slaughter of Americans — 151 in 2012 alone, and sadly, counting — in mass shootings, liberal thought and liberal policies have stood the test of time while reactionary conservativism, that black-or-white bastion of immaturity, has lingered and languished and coughed it’s death rattle like Torquemada in the monastery at Avila.
Things will only get worse for conervatives, too. The voting bloc that was primarily responsible for Barack Obama’s election — youth, minorities, women — are all growing, and gaining economic power while the voting bloc that was most dependable for conservatives in 2012 — older white men — is dying at an accelerating pace and lost the most in the economic meltdown of 2008 (e.g. wealth in home values).
Their voices fade. Ours grow stronger.
It’s a good time to be a liberal.

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  • Wish I could feel as optimistic. It does seem possible that the GOP will shrink to an ineffectual collection of nutcases while the majority end up establishing a new party, rather like the original Republicans froming when the Whigs split up. Or at least marginalizing the Teabaggers. Whether that does happen, how long it will take and what politics would emerge is still up in the air.

    Sorry, but I don’t have any great hopes for liberalism. As a group, we’ve lost the willingness to get down and dirty against the Robber Barons of our time. OWS fizzled out, partly under suppression by the police state but mostly because it did not know how or was unwilling to take off the gloves. We’ve been co-opted by the success of the Old Left. Now we’re just a somewhat more sympathetic version of the 1950’s GOP. It has been prosperity rather than conscience which “hath made cowards of us all”.

    The .1% still owns the government and will fight (viciously) to keep it. The days of genteel political give-and-take are long gone, if they every existed at all. It’s going to take blood to change things and the elite are a lot more willing to bash heads than liberals are to be bashed. The victories of liberalism were inspired by well-meaning people but they were won by people willing to endure and face down the worst that the elite could throw against them. I’ve known some of those old timers and seen the scars – mental and physical – they bore and I don’t see their attitude around much today, certainly not since the ’60s.

    Many who trusted Obama in 2008 felt betrayed by his first term, so I don’t think it is correct to say Obama was re-eletced “on his own merits”. A huge number just voted against Romney et al.

    I know – not a cheery mood as we approach the new year and the first day of the rest of our lives. Sorry.

    • OWS fizzled out?

      I must have missed that amongst all the Occupy stories I read about all year.

      No, they aren’t the “flavor of the month,” which I see as a good thing. It means they’ve gotten to work on fixing things.

  • For once steeleweed and I are on the same page. I’m not happy to be a liberal when our liberal president is killing women and children from drones in about twelve countries with whom we are not at war, when his offer to help Turkey with their problem with Kurds is to assasinate Kurdish leadership for them, and when his definition of “brought to justice” is shot in the head without any process of law. That may be a “good time” for some of you, but it sure as hell is not a “good time” for me.

  • The pendulum swing reaches middle when we no longer foul our nest by spewing CO2 into the air. It begins to swing back past the middle when we are drawing a carbon from the air to get us back to a reasonable climate of say the 1600’s. Call me a conservative who wants to go back in time, reverse “progress” as it were I don’t care. I still hate you liberals. Especially the neo-liberals. (Hmmm. Spell check does not even recognize the term neo-liberal. Who’s ever even heard of a “neon-liberal”? Stupid spell-check.)

    The old-left hated liberals as well. I’m fine with dumping “progressive” as a moniker. Just don’t call yourself a liberal. It’s like chalk on a blackboard when I hear it used. Too bad “socialism” has been doubly ruined. First by the cold-war right now by people associating it with Obama. But it’s still tons better than liberal.

    I guess I’ll just use “radical” until something better arrives.

    Perhaps a better metaphor than swinging pendulum might be “peak Republicanism.” As the vein of racist trash politics is on its way to being played out.

    • The problem with the Liberalism label is that the GOP was allowed to redefine the meaning of it. Classical Liberalism was quite different – and a damn sight more humane – from the current definition, which is roughly ‘unrealistic wimps’. The Old Left did indeed despise liberals for being willing to accept half-way measures for social and economic justice whereas for the Left it was all-or-nothing.

      I instinctively recoil from extreme stances on either side but I’ve noticed that when a large group is on one end of the seesaw, the folks on the other end have to move further out to attain an over-all balance. If the great bulk of society were more centered, there would be less need for extremists and we could all safely ignore them. Since Reagan, however, the GOP, has taken advantage of the liberal’s distaste for confrontation and has succeeded in moving the debate toward the Right. Until that is reversed. the Old Left still fulfills a purpose. And by Old Left, I mean those willing to put their money where their mouth is, jeopardize their careers and put their bodies on the line – the protest line, the picket line and the police line[up].

      I’ve been lucky over the years that none of the union or political protests I’ve been involved with gotten me arrested. In retrospect, I’m almost ashamed of that, because it means I didn’t resist/protest/fight hard enough.

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