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Author Topic: Why We're Liberals: A Political Handbook for Post-Bush America
Michelle
Moderator
Babbler # 560

posted 16 March 2008 06:50 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
A review of the book. Anyone read it?

I love how "Liberal" is the USian term for "leftist".

quote:
For now, my faith in the possibility of reform extends at least as far as thinking the time has come to create a new regulatory agency: one ensuring that a book’s title will give the consumer an accurate idea of what is inside the covers. No doubt “A Political Handbook for Arguing With Conservative Bloggers and Talk-Show Loudmouths During the Years When George Bush Was President” would reduce the market share. But accuracy counts for something.

From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
RosaL
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Babbler # 13921

posted 16 March 2008 09:09 AM      Profile for RosaL     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Michelle:
A review of the book. Anyone read it?

I love how "Liberal" is the USian term for "leftist".


I suspect "liberals" is probably a pretty good word for them - I doubt they'd be called "leftist" anywhere but in America, a country where the left side of the political spectrum has been effectively eliminated and where alternatives to the the basic articles of faith are literally unimaginable. Alasdair MacIntyre (a philosopher, originally from Scotland) has pointed out that in America the political spectrum ranges from "conservative liberals" to "liberal liberals".


From: the underclass | Registered: Mar 2007  |  IP: Logged
KenS
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Babbler # 1174

posted 17 March 2008 07:15 AM      Profile for KenS     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Not true RosaL.

In the US, the term 'liberals' is used in pretty much the same way as 'the left' is here.

Certainly, the whole political spectrum is more right in the US, but that doesn't explain entirely why leftists get included under the liberal rubric.

A lot of it has to do with the intense polarization in the US. With that the word 'liberal' gets a lot of negative freight around it. That being the case, there is no need to dismiss leftists by calling them that- lumping them in with the liberals is sufficient.

The word 'leftist' has fallen out of disuse in the US- but not because there are categorically fewer of them in the country.

Canadians by and large just don't understand the pervasiveness of this intense polarization. And associated with it, that there is a big lump of people not firmly polarized on whom the outcome of all national elections hinges.

Which is why Obama would disown his pastor over those old comments. You can say all you want that come hell or high water he never should have done it. But wait till you have lived in a situation where if he does not do it, he will not be Preseident. Absolutely certain.

And it isn't just Obama who is choosing. Along with him the hopes of multitudes for some relief from the relentless steamroller.

Mind you, Obama and Rev. Wrights comments touches on something related but distinct, that it is very difficult for Canadian's to understand.

9/11 is a very emotional touchstone for Americans. And that's a severe understatement.

People know that. To which the answer is that they are clouded with ideology and you have to start picking it apart somewhere.

Clouded with ideology they are. And it does need to be worked on.

But given all the battles like that there are to fight, the last place to start is on the front where it is absolutely guaranteed you will be immediately mowed down if you venture out on the national stage with any defense of comments like the Rev. Wright made.


From: Minasville, NS | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
RosaL
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posted 17 March 2008 08:52 AM      Profile for RosaL     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by KenS:
Not true RosaL.

The word 'leftist' has fallen out of disuse in the US- but not because there are categorically fewer of them in the country.


I just can't see that the United States has a politically significant "left" where "left" means what it means in Europe, Latin America, India, etc.

But I take your point about polarization and the use of the term "liberal"! I think you're probably right about that.


From: the underclass | Registered: Mar 2007  |  IP: Logged
M. Spector
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posted 17 March 2008 10:47 AM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by KenS:
A lot of it has to do with the intense polarization in the US.
This intense polarization is more apparent than real.

The tiny crack of daylight between Obama and McCain is proof enough that there is no real political polarization in mainstream US politics.

Obama had to rush to distance himself from comments made by his pastor (comments that were neither false nor particularly "left-wing"). If there is any polarization apparent here it is between the pastor on the one hand and the Obama-Clinton-McCain political mainstream, a polarization between truth and lies.

Whatever polarization there is is not reflected or expressed in the mainstream political process, which is based on a neoliberal, centre-right consensus. The very fact that there is no room for Obama to take more liberal positions without placing himself in the unelectable category is proof of that.


From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
Doug
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Babbler # 44

posted 17 March 2008 02:23 PM      Profile for Doug   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
The preferred term in the US these days seems to be "progressive".
From: Toronto, Canada | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Uncle John
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posted 18 March 2008 02:46 PM      Profile for Uncle John     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
As it seems to be in Canada.
From: Toronto | Registered: Feb 2008  |  IP: Logged
Frustrated Mess
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Babbler # 8312

posted 18 March 2008 02:58 PM      Profile for Frustrated Mess   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Which is why Obama would disown his pastor over those old comments. You can say all you want that come hell or high water he never should have done it. But wait till you have lived in a situation where if he does not do it, he will not be Preseident. Absolutely certain.

What value is an office that requires you to shit on people you care about? How great is a nation that demands obedient conformity especially from those who claim to be different?

There is a strong left (in terms of personal commitment) in the US. But it is as marginalized, divided, and ineffective as the left here.

The left is a lot like religion. Every preacher knows the true path and every other preacher is a charlatan.

It is much easier to be conservative. All that matters is your own money and the self-assured feeling everyone else is going to hell.

[ 18 March 2008: Message edited by: Frustrated Mess ]


From: doom without the gloom | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
skarredmunkey
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posted 24 March 2008 02:45 PM      Profile for skarredmunkey     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by M. Spector:
If there is any polarization apparent here it is between the pastor on the one hand and the Obama-Clinton-McCain political mainstream, a polarization between truth and lies.
I think this is a good point. This Jeremiah Wright issue has really got me thinking that the rift in American politics is between dissent on the one hand and "what's safe to say" as determined by the media on the other.

Having said that, I think there are important contextual differences between liberals in the US and liberals in Canada.

A liberal in the US is more likely to be aligned with unions than a liberal in Canada, but also with various groups representing America's many "underclasses" for lack of a better term.

Congress clearly shows this more than the presidency. There are very real, substantive, left-right differences between, for example, Cynthia McKinney and Dennis Kucinich on the left and Tom Tancredo and Ron Paul on the right.


From: Vancouver Centre | Registered: Nov 2005  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
Moderator
Babbler # 560

posted 26 March 2008 03:25 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Doug:
The preferred term in the US these days seems to be "progressive".

Yeah, especially among people who aren't.


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged

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