We have seen this movie many times before since the 1960s. Liberals personalize everything, fetishize presidential power, and turn against their own every time some progress starts to be made. They do not stick with the patient work of building responsible public agencies, electing better Congressional representatives, and building movements across many localities. They quickly give up on yet another President and hand the country back to a right wing —- that has become more and more extreme and selfishly rapacious.

In 2010, it is time for progressives and liberals to wake up and grow up. No, Obama is not perfect, and he and his administration make some mistakes. But they are moving in the right direction on many fronts in the face of almost insuperable obstacles. They are facing multiple, constantly emerging crises with a federal government that has been systematically denigrated and torn apart for decades. They do not have a Congress willing to vote for even basically sensible things in many areas. And they face determined, well-funded opponents. They need friendly criticism from the left —- and they certainly need social movements to elect better Congresses and press Congressional representatives. But they do not need childish hysteria of the kind Olbermann is dishing out — or unrealistic demands of the sort that Maureen Dowd and Huff Post are pushing.

Theda Skocpol (via southpol, catbus, and squashed)

I’ll totally grant the Administration their record of accomplishment. I’d be more sympathetic to Theda’s viewpoint if Obama didn’t insist in finding a common ground with a Republican Party that has no interest in that common ground, or in taking the politics out of politics.

That eternal search for a Goldilocks-like middle – on display again today, when he talked about immigration reform – is endlessly frustrating.


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