The story of the Minerals Management Service capture spans three Presidents and decades. It’s a long, familiar arc.
It begins with Reagan, George H.W. Bush walked back some of Reagan’s excess, Bill Clinton did his part under his favorite “partner with industry!” idea, and then George W. Bush dropped all pretense and just had the regulated industry write the rules.
It’s a good basic article with a time line, but that isn’t what I wanted to talk about.
The article made me think of James Carville, and his loud and long critique of Obama’s Gulf Spill response. I know Carville wasn’t responsible for policy during the Clinton years, but he was there, and he was the political guy who sold the “centrist” approach, part of which was private-public partnership. I also know Carville was objecting to the Obama response in the Gulf, not the Obama policy, so maybe that’s the distinction, because a Clinton-era Democrat doesn’t have much to brag about regarding that regulatory agency, as it turns out.
Still, it brought to mind something I’ve been wondering ever since Gibbs made the comment about the “Professional Left”. We’ve spent so much time and energy discussing the Professional Left’s role in critiquing Obama, maybe we’ve missed that the Professional Democrats have carped and second-guessed and parroted conservative critics of the President nearly constantly since he was elected.
It occurs to me that Jane Hamsher and Glenn Greenwald don’t claim long-term membership in the Democratic Party, and don’t base their careers on membership in the Democratic Party.
They’re not “Democrats” so much as they are “liberals” and they don’t support a Party platform so much as they support individual issues. But that’s not true of Carville and Rendell and Reich and the rest. They’re Party people.
I wouldn’t expect individual liberals or issue advocates to rally ‘round Obama. Instead I would expect the people who identify as members of the Democratic Party to rally ‘round the Democratic President and broader Democratic platform, because that’s one of the roles of a political Party.
I know the general rap on Democrats, the herding cats and the inability to speak with one clear voice, and all of that is true. But, in my opinion, Obama, in particular, has gotten little support from the people who identify, professionally, as Democrats, and that doesn’t make sense to me.
So how did it become the job of the Professional Left to promote or defend the Democratic Party and Democratic President, and why isn’t anyone asking why the Professional Democrats haven’t done it, in Obama’s case? Is it maybe because lots of these problems he’s stuck with have a long arc, and if Professional Democrats defended Obama they might be forced to look at that?