In a July 10 article in Politico, “Liberals Analyze Their Despair,” reporter Abby Phillip spoke with Michael Tomasky about his recent essay “Against Despair,” which appeared in the Summer 2010 issue of Democracy. According to Phillip, Tomasky’s piece had helped frame a debate “raging within the progressive community over why the promise of Obama’s candidacy has not lived up to their expectations.” She wrote:
In a 17,000-plus-word piece published in The Nation on Thursday, journalist Eric Alterman calls the Obama presidency “a big disappointment” for progressives and blames a broken system in Washington that he says allows the minority party to rule with impunity — and special interests and big money to dictate legislative policy.
“Face it,” he concludes, “the system is rigged, and it’s rigged against us.” His essay is subtitled: “Why a progressive presidency is impossible for now.”
But writing in Democracy: A Journal of Ideas, editor Michael Tomasky counsels patience, arguing that American history has shown that change always takes time and continued effort against entrenched conservative opposition.
“The changes we want to see won’t happen in 18 months, or in two years, or four, or probably even eight,” he concludes in his article, “Against Despair.”
Tomasky sees this shift as an inevitable one that will eventually bring liberals around to the realization that the great periods of change — Roosevelt’s New Deal and Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society — took place after years of effort and many setbacks.
Slower to come around to this view, Tomasky acknowledges, have been the vanguards of the liberal blogosphere: The Huffington Post, Firedoglake and, to an arguably lesser extent, Daily Kos.
“People have to work through stages like that before they get to the point where they say that ‘this is not exactly what we thought it would be, but let’s just deal with it,’” Tomasky told POLITICO. “I don’t know that the progressive community is at that stage yet, but people are getting there.”
To read Michael Tomasky’s “Against Despair,” click here.Politico