Wed Jan 27th, 2010 at 08:47:28 AM EST
If the "progressive" blogs represented a functional American left wind power success would be being trumpeted as a massive victory.So one might expect a message like: Our efforts to put Obama in office saved 100,000 good jobs and helped America start becoming energy independent and rebuild manufacturing - we need 10 times more . Instead, the "progressives" are complaining that an anti-waste component of the Presidents state of the union "accepts framing" of the right. This exemplifies two characteristics of the US "progressive" movement: focus on elite governance tactics and focus on (pathetic) efforts to persuade elites as opposed to building popular movements.
For the first, the underlying objection to the "freeze" Obama proposes is that it sends the wrong message to the ignorant population. Strangely enough, the argument that there is not an important problem of government waste is coming from a group that has spent the last year whining incessantly about subsidies to banks from the government. But it's more interesting to look at the second issue: who is the intended audience for these complaints. The "progressive" movement is not attempting to convince the population at large that the progressive project will improve their lives. Anyone who imagines that jeremiads about "framing" will resonate with the general population is delusional. Instead, the message of the "progressives" is "give us jobs as high level managers" and "take our advice". That is, the "progressives" address the elite, demanding to be included, not the population, demanding popular power. This peculiarity is a product of the class basis of American "progressivism" - a movement of disaffected middle-managers who want their power points decks to be more respected more than a popular movement demanding more democracy and equality.