Friday, March 26, 2010

Whatever Happened to Hope: Why Barack Obama Cannot Become a Transformational President

In this recent talk at Vanderbilt University author Rick Perlstein (Before The Storm, Nixonland) points out that in today's polity, the Right is "operating in a post-shame world."

He says liberals have difficulty in dealing with an opposition that "operates from bad faith." And that Obama's consensus politics have little meaning if he never pivots to say certain views and people are beyond that consensus, thus marginalizing them. He argues the president has done nothing to move the political center of gravity away from the far right that now dominates our politics and discourse.

Regarding the Netroots, including the 600,000 people registered at Daily Kos, Perlstein describes it as a new social movement, one which the Obama administration has foolishly "affirmatively ruled out" as a partner in what it is trying to do. The fact that new social movements, Perlstein argues, are where real change comes from, puts the lie to Obama's claim to be an agent of change.

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