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Tom Hayden on Obama

Tom Hayden on Obama

By Dennis Loo (9/7/12)

Tom Hayden, one of the founders of SDS (Students for a Democratic Society), a leading force in the 1960s’ protests, has an article at his website entitled “Saving Obama, Saving Ourselves.”

He wonders in this piece why some on the Left are so critical of Obama:

Why Obama’s achievements are dismissed or denied by many on the white liberal-left is a question worth serious consideration. It may only be a matter of legitimate disappointment after the utopian expectations of 2008. It could be pure antipathy to electoral politics, or a superficial assessment of how near impossible it is to change intransigent institutions. It could be a vested organizational interest in asserting there is no difference between the two major parties, a view wildly at odds with the intense partisan conflicts on exhibit every day. Or it could even be a white blindness in perceptions of reality on the left. When African American voters favor Obama 94-0 and the attacks are coming from the white liberal-left, something needs repair in the foundations of American radicalism.

I honestly don’t know what Hayden is talking about.

I certainly don’t dismiss or deny Obama’s achievements.

I’ve been really vocal in calling attention to Obama’s singular achievements. But then, maybe Hayden doesn't include me in his complaint since I'm obviously not part of the "white liberal-left." Do you think?

I think it’s extremely important that people pay attention to what Obama has done because it matters not just for his term(s) in office but even more importantly what precedent it sets for the future because that will be much more lasting in its impact.

The most notable of these achievements is not that he is the first black president of the United States.

Read more: Tom Hayden on Obama

Michelle Obama: A “Killer” Speech and the Democrat’s Secret Weapon

Michelle Obama: A “Killer” Speech and the Democrat’s Secret Weapon

By Y. (9/5/12)

Michelle Obama gave her DNC speech Tuesday night in Charlotte, North Carolina. Her speech, as that of Ann Romney, was tailored to humanize their husbands and make them seem humble, one of us, and thereby appealing to the public. CNN critics are saying that Michelle Obama’s speech was great and that she was able to talk about the common struggle. Michelle Obama’s speech was touching, and in part, its success can be attributed to the fact that she was able to relate to people. The theme for the night was trying to instill in people that Obama is still the same person they were enthused about and voted for four years ago. Michelle Obama addressed Mitt Romney’s comment, when in his speech a couple days ago Mitt Romney asked “If you felt that excitement when you voted for Barack Obama, shouldn’t you feel that way now that he’s President Obama?” Though she never mentioned Mitt Romney’s name, her speech made it very clear to distinguish Mitt Romney from President Obama, and emphasized that president Obama understands the common struggle while arguing that Mitt Romney does not.

Read more: Michelle Obama: A “Killer” Speech and the Democrat’s Secret Weapon

Grand Old Misconceptions

Grand Old Misconceptions

By Dennis Loo (9/4/12)

At the New York Review of Books blog in their current issue, Timothy Snyder has a featured piece entitled “Grand Old Marxists.” In it, Snyder argues that Paul Ryan, Romney’s running mate, and the leadership of the Republican Party more generally, in combatting the specter of Marxism, are relying on the same failed (as he puts it) assumptions of Marxism that

politics is a matter of one simple truth, that the state will eventually cease to matter, and that a vanguard of intellectuals is needed to bring about a utopia that can be known in advance.

Snyder concludes with this prescription, in contrast to what he declaims about the Far Right and the Marxist Left:

The way to national prosperity in the twenty-first century is surely to think non-ideologically, to recognize that politics is a choice among constraints and goods rather than a story about a single good that would triumph if only evil people would allow it to function without constraints. The market works very well for some things, the government is desperately needed for others, and stories that dismiss either one are nothing more than ideology.

It sounds so very sensible. Except when you look more closely.

Read more: Grand Old Misconceptions

Elaine Brower 2

Elaine Brower of World Can't Wait speaking at the NYC Stop the War on Iran rally 2/4/12