From Chris Cilliza, who doesn’t believe Van Jones can replicate on the Left what the Tea Party did on the Right. Of course, Cilizza says it’s “unlikely,” which in traditional journo speak means not a chance in hell.
“We think we can do what the tea party did,” Jones said in an interview with The Fix. “They stepped forward under a common banner, and everybody took them seriously. Polls suggest there are more people out there who have a different view of the economy, but who have not stepped forward yet under a common banner.”
Cilizza gets points from me for using “liberal” in the title of his post. I’ve never called myself a progressive, though I support most of what movement progressives are doing and admire them greatly. I just don’t have much use for congressional progressives and their caucus who caved on health care, causing more grief for Democrats than if they’d stood up and fought.
Unlike One Nation, in which long-standing liberal groups agreed to collaborate, Jones’ movement is hoping to attract people who are ideologically aligned but not politically active. Those people will define their own goals. But Jones is also in conversations with many of the labor and civil-rights groups that were involved in the One Nation effort. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka recorded a web video for the campaign.
Institutional involvement does not go against the tea-party model. The tea-party movement has its own benefactors — Americans for Prosperity, Our Country Deserves Better PAC, and other groups backed by longtime Republican donors and strategists. Those groups capitalized on disparate protest movements around the country, many of whom say they have no connection to the political battles fought in their name.
Still, it will likely be hard to get liberals and supporters of more progressive economic policy to rally in the same way. Tea-party activists tend to be wealthy and well-educated; Jones is hoping to reach unemployed veterans, struggling homeowners, and other groups who likely have less time to organize and grow more politically active…
I’m skeptical for one reason. If you’re going to stand up to feckless Democratic “leadership” the place to start would have been to primary Pres. Obama, no matter the outcome or the inevitable race-baiting that would occur. But because the inevitable would have manifested in a loss it wasn’t attempted. There is simply no evidence that today’s progressive Democrats have the taste for the jugular you have to have to become a Left version of the Tea Party, a group that takes no political prisoners.
A debate on Pres. Obama adopting Bush foreign policy tactics, as well as adopting Republican economics, would have been worthy of the effort. Because no one person is more important than the liberal policies that have allowed generations of Americans to maintain middle class lifestyles in the midst of herculean efforts to stack the deck for the richest against the working class who made American the great country it’s been since founded.