Monday, July 30, 2012

"Is Barack Obama a Radical Socialist, a Pro-Business Sell-Out, Both, or Neither?"

Peter Dreier and Donald Cohen (HuffPo):
President Obama's conservative opponents lambast him as a radical, a socialist, and a purveyor of class warfare. His left-wing critics think he's in bed with Wall Street, too cautious and timid to challenge the corporate establishment and the richest 1 percent. These contradictory views of Obama reflect not only the nation's ideological chasm but also a country whose stances on economic and social issues are constantly in flux. Indeed, the radical dreams of one generation often become the common sense ideas of the next generation. (SNIP) The success of Social Security teaches us two important lessons. First, Americans should not be fooled by those who attack an idea as "radical" or "socialist." They should ignore the label and look instead to see who's doing the attacking and what the proposal actually calls for. History reveals that business groups and their political and academic allies always issue dire warnings about the awful disasters that will befall us if government protects consumers, workers, seniors, children, the disabled, and the environment. As we've seen time and time again, they are usually "crying wolf." Second, throughout our history, progress is made when progressive activists and politicians propose bold, even "radical," ideas, and then win a series of stepping stone reforms that add up to major changes that redefine the social contract. Eventually, Americans learn to embrace these "radical" notions as common sense. MORE...

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