About “political rookies”

I’m going to leave alone the political implications of trashing the “professional left” as needing to be “drug-tested,”[1] a political strategy which then-White House press secretary Robert Gibbs later apologized for,[2] but has reappeared in Obama for America (OFA) New Mexico State Director Ray Sandoval’s recent “email to supporters defending the president’s position on the debt deal and bashing the Nobel Prize winning New York Times columnist Paul Krugman and the ‘Firebagger Lefty blogosphere.'”[3]

The real importance of these ad hominem attacks, labeling, for example, Paul Krugman as a “political rookie,”[4] is that they seek to justify an appalling and disastrous record on political grounds. I want to propose what must surely be a radical notion, that politics should be a means to an end, rather than an end in itself, that if the preservation of a political system depends upon unending capitulation that protects the rich while undermining the vulnerable,[5] then perhaps the political system itself is unworthy, that perhaps it has become an obstacle to rather than a part of the solution, that perhaps this political system should be dumped in the trash heap of history, having so much more than fulfilled James Madison’s aim of protecting the minority rights only of rich white property owners against any demand for social and economic justice.[6]

  1. [1]Sam Youngman, “White House unloads anger over criticism from ‘professional left’,” The Hill, August 10, 2010, http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/113431-white-house-unloads-on-professional-left
  2. [2]Agence France Presse, “White House Spokesman Apologizes After Saying ‘Professional Left’ Should Be Drug Tested,” Alternet, August 10, 2010, http://www.alternet.org/news/147807/white_house_spokesman_apologizes_after_saying_’professional_left’_should_be_drug_tested
  3. [3]Amanda Terkel, “Obama Campaign Staffer Sends Out Email Bashing Paul Krugman And The ‘Firebagger Lefty Blogosphere’,” Huffington Post, August 17, 2011, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/17/new-mexico-ofa-firebagger-lefty-blogosphere_n_929231.html
  4. [4]Terkel, “Obama Campaign Staffer Sends Out Email Bashing Paul Krugman And The ‘Firebagger Lefty Blogosphere’.”
  5. [5]Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson, Winner-Take-All Politics: How Washington Made the Rich Richer—And Turned Its Back on the Middle Class (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2010).
  6. [6]James Madison, “The Federalist No. 10,” in The Federalist Papers, Garry Wills, ed. (New York: Bantam, 2003), 50-58.

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