Defending a corporate welfare agency. Attacking the critics of intrusive federal anti-terrorism measures. Giving a President the benefit of the doubt regarding the jailing of journalists critical of U.S. foreign policy. Ignoring multiple, deadly, ongoing, unauthorized wars. Celebrating military victory over a weak country as if creates moral legitimacy. Keeping Guantanamo Bay open.
What has happened to the American Left?
Barack Obama happened, that's what.
During the Bush Era, I watched, disgusted, along with many of my conservative friends, as large chunks of our "movement" tossed their principles out the window in support of "Our President." No Child Left Behind. Medicare Part D. The Iraq War. Overspending. Pork-barrell spending. Saving Arlen Specter. I found all of these things un-conservative, but many journalists, publications, and institutions on the Right signed on with them, in many cases largely out of loyalty or deference to a mostly conservative GOP President.
I think the same thing is happening to the Left today. So many of the causes that motivated them before -- opposing torture, war, corporate America, and the surveillance state -- have been pushed aside in favor of defending the President and opposing "the far-Right."
- A writer at the Nation defended the corporate-welfare agency Ex-Im -- which gives most of its subsidies to Boeing and most of the remainder to huge corporations like GE, Bechtel, and United Technologies -- and attacked its critics as "far-right."
- Two writers at the Nation attacked critics of the TSA's intrusive naked-scans and full-body pat-downs.
- When a Nation writer did critique the President -- for supporting the continued jailing of a Yemeni journalist whose work criticized the U.S. -- Mother Jones writer Kevin Drum told liberals to lay off Obama.
- The Anti-War movement basically disappeared.
- 53 percent of self-described "liberal Democrats" said they supported Obama's decision to keep Guantanamo open.
- The Center for American Progress and the Kos of Daily Kos both used the ouster and killing of Ghadafi as grounds for mocking those who objected to the illegality of Obama's attack on Libya.
I could go on. Liberal writer Glenn Greenwald is among the best at tracking this liberal partisan hypocrisy. On war and national security issues, Jeremy Scahill and Spencer Ackerman are among the liberals best at keeping Obama accountable. But significant segments of the Left have shown that it was Bush, rather than any principle, that had them upset last decade.