Harry Reid is a good example of what I’m referring to.
Barack Obama in 1996 said of gay marriage
“I favor legalizing same-sex marriages, and would fight efforts to prohibit such marriages.”
And this was in 1996 back before it was nearly as mainstream. Now in 2009 he supports civil unions and has backed off of gay marriage. Same with healthcare. In 2002 Obama supported single payer when talking at an AFL-CIO meeting. Now he supports a public option which has been watered down.
Supposedly (I don’t have a cite for this) after the 2004 debacle in Ohio, Kerry and Edwards were talking about all the voter irregularities in Ohio. Edwards wanted to stay and fight but Kerry wanted to quit for fear of being ridiculed.
Joe Lieberman begged Obama to help him in 2006 to win an election against Lamont. Obama helped him. After Lieberman won, he sided with McCain over Obama. After Obama won in 2008 he refused to support punishing Lieberman. Lieberman’s response was to threaten to block health care reform and labor reform (2 issues he’d supported in the past).
Support Lieberman in his election and get betrayed when you are running. Refuse to retaliate and get betrayed again. That is the M.O. of liberals like Obama and Reid. Refuse to articulate principals, refuse to use leverage to get them passed, refuse to defend yourself from attack.
My understanding of history is that liberals used to be a bit more hardass. FDR and the unions 100 years ago are a good example. They knew they were up against wealthy, well organized interests and couldn’t really afford to be weak. Nowadays being weak is almost expected.
This isn’t really meant to be a complaint, I am curious when the shift occurred. When did liberals transition from the mold of the early 20th century to the current mold of wimps who are scared to stand on principle or take tough stands? FDR welcomed being hated by the corporate class. Modern progressives seem afraid of even getting ridiculed.
The GOP used to be a libertarian party, and made a shift to authoritarianism. The democratic party used to be a southern white party, now they’ve lost those voters. So there are political shifts all the time.
So when/where did the transition of liberals and progressives as tough fighters into more wimpy characters occur?
Am I just assuming people are progressive who are not? Ralph Nader, Bernie Sanders, Dennis Kucinich, Howard Dean are all progressives who not only articulate principals, but stand up for them. The progressives in the grassroots at sites like DKos act principled. Obama backed off his support of gay marriage once he became famous. Kucinich did not. So am I just wrong in assuming people like Obama are progressive? Am I misunderstanding who is a progressive and who isn’t?
Are progressive and liberal even the same thing? Are liberals just progressives who do not stand or fight for their principals?
Has there been serious study into this issue? It seems modern progressives refuse to play hardball and refuse to articulate and stand up for their principals. However this doesn’t seem to have always been the case in the US.
If there was a shift, when/why did it occur? Were progressives intimidated by the success of Reagan and the 1994 GOP revolution?