Sunday, November 09, 2008

After the election: Two Views from Kansas

Two Wichita bloggers have insightful posts about the election which saves me from having to write something completely original myself.

Moti Rieber at Fed Reb says America is a center-left, not a center-right nation

reality has a liberal bias.

...due to a lot of the rightwing assumptions that have dominated our political discourse over the past many years, which have ...also permeated the pundit-sphere, it is likely that efforts will be made to pull Obama to the right by people who say things like, oh, you have to settle the markets before you take care of health care, for instance. I've written about that before.

So far at least it seems that Obama gets that, and so does the congressional leadership, and that they are determined to hit the ground running with an "aggressive agenda" - I would prefer a "progressive agenda," but you know, it may amount to the same thing. But it is important all the Move-On-ers and everyone else who did so much to bring us to this moment make sure to let Obama and their congresspeople know that we don't want a lot of backsliding on this.

Moti wrestles with the implication of the California Prop 8 vote. I'm not sure I agree with his judgment that "Ultimately, civil rights cannot be won through the ballot box, but only through the courts, because that's their job." I don't think that has been the case. Historically, the courts have often denied or abrograted rights (child labor, union rights to cite two examples).

I do think that Moti is right when he argues

The Democratic Party cannot and should not spend its political capital pursuing a social agenda that will only cause the people who broadly agree with it on economic issues to rebel. The social issues will have to continue to be fought on an Alinskyist, community organizing basis. But as I said last night, the weight of history is on the side of right, and eventually (and not too long now, I think) justice will prevail.
Russell Arben Fox also judges the election to be of potentially historical importance.

there are good historical reasons for seeing the election of Barack Obama as the distillation of a potentially strong and long-lasting realignment in American politics, perhaps as strong as the one which gave the Democrats dominance over the federal government for decades following FDR's election in 1932

If Rieber cautions the Democrats not to alienate culturally conservative voters, Fox wants to go a step further and positively embrace the communitarian concerns of many working and middle class voters.

rejects some of the more individualistic and/or secular presumptions behind many modern liberal arguments, and thus are interested community empowerment, unionization, participatory democracy, parental involvement in education, civil service, anti-consumerism, progressive taxation, media responsibility, fair trade, civic religion and respect, localized and decentralized bureaucracies, limitations on corporate power, and so forth...all could be captured by this umbrella. Obviously, it describes a very different (ideologically, at least; perhaps less so demographically) umbrella coalition of progressive voters than does Judis and Teixeira's, and--given America's political culture--a far less likely one as well.

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