Real Progressives Versus “Pseudo” Progressives

Mario Carter
Elm Columnist

Rachel Maddow is by far one of the most militant, irrational, and uncompromising disciples of the far left. Of course, if you believe that, then I would suggest that you consider a getting a lobotomy. She is a thoughtful and practical liberal who uses her media platform to advance mainstream progressive ideology. However, the caricature that you read of a radical who demands nothing less than the purest of left-wing dogma is the image that former Clinton henchman sought to portray when he recently called her “sanctimonious and intolerant.”

And what intolerant comment did this fanatical leftist make? She had the audacity to say that Bill Clinton “was probably the best Republican President the country ever had, if you look at the policies he passed.” Well, considering that under Clinton, he oversaw the implementation of a number of economically-conservative initiatives, Maddow was more than appropriate when she referred to him as the best Republican president that the country has ever had.

But what exactly would cause Maddow to imply that Clinton was essentially a Republican masquerading as a center-left Democrat? Perhaps it was his enthusiastic embrace of welfare reform, which in actuality, did nothing but falsely imply that because welfare roles had been reduced, the recipients who had been taken off had somehow been given an opportunity to start their lives anew. Or what about in preparation for his reelection race against Bob Dole in 1996, he brought in possibly the most stereotypically repulsive political consultant imaginable, Dick Morris, who advised him to run a campaign of deemphasizing traditionally liberal policies and running on a platform of middle-of-the-road centrism.

I would be the remiss if I did not mention his support of the Financial Services Modernization Act, an abominable piece of legislation that paved the way for the perilous economic conditions that we are currently in by repealing regulations that were set during the Great Depression. Now that I think about it, Maddow was wrong. Clinton was not the best Republican president that the country has ever had. In terms of success, I would rank him second after Lincoln and that is a very distant second at that.

But why address this legitimate issue, when it is far easier to simply set up a straw man argument? Lanny Davis, who describes himself as a liberal, is only one in the most nominal sense. Unlike Maddow, who holds genuine progressive values, Davis cares more about maintaining his status as a high profile Washington insider than he does about advocating those allegedly “liberal” beliefs.

Would an actual liberal contract his services to a right wing Latin American Commerce organization for the purposes of lobbying Congress to support the overthrow of a democratically elected president of Honduras? Would an actual liberal support a watered-down health care bill and then fail to disclose that his law firm’s clientele would be benefit financially from its passage? Would an actual liberal represent the interests of large conglomerates over working class unions in brokering a “compromise,” on the Employee Free Choice Act? Also, keep in mind that while Davis has garnered a reputation of pillorying his “fellow” liberals, he somehow manages to become mute when friends of his like Sean Hannity claim that the Obamas have “a race problem of their own,” or works to counter criticisms of the Tea Party activists by legitimizing their non-existent concerns. Although Maddow is the antithesis of “sanctimonious and intolerant,” I would gladly opt for her even if she held contrary views to mine over an insincere, hollow and truly sanctimonious fraud like Davis.

I cannot even begin to address the amount of damage that the so-called “liberal” Democrats have wreaked on this party and more importantly the nation. While they enjoy boasting of their credentials on traditionally progressive issues like the environment, embryonic stem cell research, gun control, and same sex marriage, these are nothing more than a smokescreen. Yes, there was no stronger advocate of a woman’s right to choose than Clinton but let’s not forget that that he, in collusion with Congressional Republicans, passed the North American Free Trade Agreement which was responsible for the mass exodus of American jobs to Canada and Mexico. I, like most real liberals, do not demand ideological purity on the left or within the entire Democratic Party. However there are certain values that are sacrosanct those of the left hold dear like equality in all forms, social justice for the underprivileged and the use of government in a positive way to better people’s lives and those cannot be compromised. Because of the negative influence of pseudo “third way” progressivism by imitation Republicans like Clinton and Davis, authentic progressivism has suffered immeasurably.

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