Huffpost Politics
THE BLOG

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Allison Kilkenny Headshot

Shameless liberal bloggers vote to extend tax cuts for the rich

Posted: Updated:

It's really been cracking me up to witness the extent denialists are willing to go to blame the House Democrats' defeats on liberal bloggers -- as if bloggers possess enough political authority to sway millions of voters to exile Blue Dog Democrats. (See: Glenzilla's take down of what he calls "pundit sloth." For another embarrassing example of blaming the left for Obama's failures, read this Daily Kos entry.)

Because we all know it was liberal bloggers who voted to extend and excel two deeply unpopular wars, supported the use of private, unaccountable armies, and then authorized the use of drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen. I remember when the Firedoglake crew implemented its weak stimulus strategy, and made worker and environmental protection optional. Not to mention history's greatest monster, Atrios, who oversaw a nine percent unemployment rate, while simultaneously announcing that -- in the midst of deficit-- he plans to extend tax cuts for the rich. And who can forget when Markos Moulitsas nixed the extremely popular public option and allowed pharmaceutical companies to pen their own version of healthcare reform? God! What's wrong with these fucking Mac huggers?

Ahem. Of course, that was all the work of President Obama - not that you would know that from the way pundits and moderate Democrats are lashing out at the left.

The truth is endless capitulations and "pragmatism" (the new "triangulation") have brought us here. Liberals voted out Blue Dogs because Blue Dogs sold them out, and they, along with President Obama, have largely abandoned the liberal platform.

The election results were less about the GOP winning, and more about Blue Dogs losing. Obviously, these disillusioned liberals haven't been swayed to the dark side of conservatism. In fact, the Progressive caucus is now larger than the Blue Dogs and New Dems, combined. Yet, it appears as though the Obama administration is ready to treat the midterm elections as a mandate for embracing the right. Again.

To believe the "America is a center-right country" narrative is to accept a complete misreading of popular opinion. Whenever the public voices discontent with policy, pollsters and pundits have a habit of assuming the people desire a return to Conservatism, or policy rejectionism. But sometimes the public is capable of believing policy isn't liberal enough. For example, Robert Blendon and John Benson of the Harvard School of Public Health mulled over 17 recent surveys concerning the Affordable Care Act. Here's what they found:

An HSPH survey conducted Oct. 1-12 found that while only 18 percent of registered voters believed the law should be implemented in its current form, 31 percent wanted Congress to amend the statute in ways that would increase the government's role in healthcare. In contrast, 41 percent wanted to "repeal and replace" the legislation. So 49 percent -- nearly half of registered voters -- either supported the reform law or thought it didn't go far enough. That's a nuance that has so far escaped most of the pollsters: many people who find fault with the Affordable Care Act are not opposed to its philosophy, but don't think it's strong enough to get the job done. That's a rather different stance from the Republican battle cry that the ACA is a "government takeover of healthcare."

But nuance is not understood by pollsters. A rejection of healthcare, and a rejection of the Blue Dogs, are always interpreted as a rejection of liberalism. The reality is, oftentimes these measures (and players) are shot down because they have betrayed liberalism.

Cross-posted from allisonkilkenny.com