February 6, 2016


What neoliberals get right (Damon Linker, February 5, 2016, The Week)

Let's begin with foundational principles. A neoliberal will: tend to be suspicious of utopianism; believe that modest reform and incremental change is usually the best we can reasonably hope for; distrust the simplifications of ideology; accept that the "slow boring of hard boards" (combining "passion" with "perspective") is the most responsible way to conduct oneself politically; and draw from history the lesson that efforts at radical change usually lead to unintended consequences as bad as or worse than the problems that inspired them.

Some might say this sounds like a form of conservatism. [...]

It's more accurate to describe it as the outlook of the (now defunct) Democratic Leadership Council, the organization that led the push to bring the Democrats back toward the center after the leftward lurch that began with George McGovern's failed presidential campaign of 1972. The DLC's greatest political achievement was launching a run for the White House by its former chairman, Arkansas governor Bill Clinton, in 1992.

And Bill Clinton gave us free trade, welfare reform and, but folr impeachment, would have beaten W to SS privatization.  

To win progressives, Hillary has to dump Bill (David Person, February 5, 2016, USA Today)

But if Mrs. Clinton plans to continue touting her progressive bona fides, she must account for her husband's political legacy -- which was far from progressive -- and then distance herself from it. Otherwise, she may continue to struggle beating Bernie Sanders in other Democratic primaries and -- assuming she's the nominee -- getting her base out to vote in November.

Her first concern should be that the percentage of Democrats who identify as liberal or progressive has been rising. According to a Gallup poll taken last year, nearly half of them do. Hillary Clinton -- a candidate who has been cozy with Wall Street and has hawkish tendencies -- needs them. She can't afford to look like a half-hearted, or worse, opportunistic progressive.

Let's take immigration and trade as examples. While Clinton has made comprehensive immigration reform part of her campaign platform, her husband championed trade policies while president that some experts believe have hurt immigrants and U.S. citizens alike.

Hillary's position has been anything but consistent. At times, Hillary has distanced herself from her husband's North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), something she publicly favored previously. She opposed the Colombia Free Trade Agreement before she changed sides and was in favor. And now she has been on both sides of Trans-Pacific Partnership or TPP.

Posted by at February 6, 2016 8:10 AM