Sunday, May 20, 2012

Loving Liberals

Jeff Shesol reviews The Cause: The Fight for American Liberalism From Franklin Roosevelt to Barack Obama, by Eric Alterman and Kevin Mattson.
"The intimation of The Cause — of both its title and its tone — is that there really is a true faith against which subsequent vintages of liberalism must be judged (and found wanting). 'Neo­liberals' like Gary Hart are dismissed as callow and cold; 'New Democrats' of the late 1980s are overly in thrall to their corporate donors; and Michael Dukakis, poor Michael Dukakis, is not merely a loser but 'no liberal at all — just a sign of the desperate times into which American liberalism had fallen in its apparently endless quest for solid political ground.' As for Clinton, Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama, the Democrats who have been elected president since Johnson, The Cause flays all three for yielding to 'political pressures' and becoming 'far more conservative' as president than as presidential candidates."