How did the concept of the wimpy progressive/liberal start

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?

In my view, no.

I became a Democrat when I was a kid and they showed the conventions on TV. This was in the late 50s and early 60s when they were exciting and surprises happened. I saw the dems and blacks, and gays actually gave speeches. There was a lot of wrangling about the acceptance of blacks, women and gays and they fought about the platform. There was doubt about who would win the nominations both for Pres and VP.
Then a couple weeks later the repub convention came on. It was programmed with military precision. All the arguing had been done in the back rooms. Everybody was white and old. there were few women. There was no interesting discussions and it was boring. it also did not reflect the country which was entering turmoil over black rights and women rights. I did not see the repubs are communicating with the people ,nor caring about those who weren’t inside.
That Dem Party was always suffering with America ,growing with America and changing with the country. But slowly the money people took over. They finance both parties. There is just so much that a politician can do.
For instance ,everybody knows we can not continue our present insurance system. The flaws are obvious. Both parties ran saying they would fix it. The repubs did not. The dems can not. They can not get the big money people to allow the necessary changes.The insurance companies, pharm companies, the media and those who get rich off it are not allowing them to do the right thing. The difference is the Dems do want to fix it. But they work for the same people, the ones who finance campaigns and blacken their offices with endless lobbyists threatening them with election defeats.

An openly gay person gave a televised speech at a Democratic Convention in the 1950’s or 60’s???

I was born in 1969, so I wouldnt be aware of who all spoke at the conventions in the time frame you are referring to, but this is quite a suprise to me…

Eh, I’m not sure this is a real phenomenon, I think we just remember the successes of past Progressives, while their defeats and reverses are less relevant to us today, and thus less memorablet. FDR, for example, backed down from passing anti-lynching legislation and on several other civil rights issues that he had previously said he found important, because his coalition depended on Southern Whites to function.

History always looks bold and purposeful, and the present always looks messy and squalid by comparison.

Probably when they put flowers into the barrels of guns.

I blame Alan Alda.

As good a culprit as any.

Maybe someone can correct me if I’m wrong, but the Democratic party didn’t have blacks speaking at their conventions in the late 1950s and early 1960s because of stranglehold that the Southern Democratic voters had. I know JFK kept an arms distance from Sammy Davis Jr after he was elected and it was Nixon who invited Davis to stay at the White House in the early 1970s (and many historians believe Davis was the first black guest to sleep at the White House).

I believe it was in the 1940s and 1950s Archibald Carey, Jr. spoke at the Republican conventions. Let’s not forget that was elected Attorney General of Massachusetts in 1962 and later became the first elected black to the Senate. (Yes, there were previous black senators, but they were all appointed and also Republican.)

Now to the actual OP… I believe it began with Truman when he fired MacArthur. The hippy movement reinforced it. The Carter presidency and Dukakis set it in stone for alot of the public.

It goes as least as far back as European Parliaments. Spain, Germany, England, the side that favored order and structure favored the military and advocated for the powers that be to continue being. They were always quick to try to appeal to nationalism as a means to denigrate their political opponents. The left pretty much uniformly was suspicious of military adventures, what better propaganda point than accusing them of being soft and cowardly?

I heard he blames you for his problems too.

But yeah I can see how the ascent of Alda, hippies and Carter may’ve started this transition from fiery progressives who took tough stands to wimpy liberals.

Wimpy how?

If you are talking about being wimpy on national security then I think Carter might have started that. Then Regan ran with it and it became part of the GOP narrative.

If you are talking about passing legislation, then I think it started with the Democrats in Congress while G.W. was president. The GOP shoved everything from wars to prescription drugs down the throats of Democrats and they just took it. They took all of it.

We are far way from the time of LBJ. We have Reid and Lieberman now. I think calling them “wimpy” is being too kind.

Everything goes back to High School. The jocks were conservative and artsy types were liberal.

If you’re a stout defender of increasing military strength you automatically get a boost towards being considered tough and manly, even if you avoided military service yourself. Peace is wimpy. And speaking of stout, surely you’ve all noticed the correlation between body habitus and political philosophy? While not absolute, liberals often tend to be slender and nerdly-looking, while conservatives are far more often large, with big heads and major girth issues. I offer as evidence prominent liberal Michael Kinsley and his sometime right-wing opponent, John Sununu. These are far from isolated examples.

If liberalism wants to shed its wimpy image, it needs to eat more doughnuts.

Donuts is clearly the wimpy solution to gaining weight. Pumping Iron might be more beneficial (and more manly) :wink:

And yet at the same time liberals manage to be ruthless totalitarians who will stop at nothing to take away your freedom.

But but but, liberals wat to force you to eat healthy and give up smoking, etc. Forcing people to do things isn’t wimpy, is it?

Yeah, but that’s work. For appearing on talk shows that only show you from the chest up, overeating would suffice.

Or liberalism could recruit people like Chuck Norris and Jesse Ventura for the muscle effect. They’re pretty nutso, but liberals could overlook that for the sake of macho image.

The first openly gay people to give speeches at a political convention were Jim Foster and Madeline Davis, at the 1972 Democratic convention.

The first black person to speak at a political convention was Congressman John Lynch, at the 1884 Republican convention.

Wimpy at standing up for principals and passing legislation. Obama hides his support for gay marriage and Reid refuses to play hardball to get legislation passed in the senate.