Thursday, August 05, 2010

Democratic defensiveness

Tom Hayden writes in a way that I must admit seems a bit old-fashioned, sometimes kind of a stiff throwback to the New Left of "the Sixties."

But he's a good writer and an experienced activist and politician, among other things a veteran of civil rights activism in the South during the segregation years who knew Shirley Sherrod's husband Charles from that time. In Sherrod, Obama, and the Strength of Roots Huffington Post 07/22/2010, he makes some important observations. One of them is a spot-on description of the chronic defensiveness endemic in today's Democratic Party:

Our leaders today could learn from this strength of long ago. In fairness, government officials and leaders of large organizations, who are beneficiaries of the Southern civil rights legacy, have institutional reputations to protect. They should avoid needlessly provoking the right, and have every right to pick their fights intelligently. But years of battering from the right have bred a defensive anxiety in the ranks of many Democratic liberals. They flinch before they fight. It's as if they internalize the right-wing refrain that they are weak, tea-sipping elitists. They give far greater consideration to conservatives, militarists and bankers who rarely vote for them than to the millions of activists in social movements who actually made their power possible.

This is a moment when roots should be remembered, venerated and restored from oblivion, not airbrushed from polished resumes and histories of our time. [my emphasis]
He also asks an important question about the Obama administration's response to the Shirley Sherrod smear from professional slime-slinger Andrew Breitbart:

It is good that the administration reversed course quickly after the true story was revealed, but that the Obama administration can be spooked so easily by Glenn Beck and FOX News raises a serious question: If they are so tough on national defense, drugs and crime, where is their resolve against the deceitful attack dogs of the right?
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