Progressives and the Democratic Party

( – promoted by buhdydharma )

Jeff Cohen is a media critic and lecturer, founding director of the Park Center for Independent Media at Ithaca College, a national center for the study of media outlets that create and distribute content outside traditional corporate systems and news organizations, where he is an associate professor of journalism.

Cohen also founded the media watch group FAIR in 1986.

Here Cohen talks with Paul Jay of The Real News about the larger significance and social context of the Massachusetts election, about the message of “change” that has been a staple of Democratic candidates for decades, and about the the term “swing voter” and what it means in the context of today’s politics, and concludes that the key attribute of swing voters is that they are not ideological at all, and that if Obama and the Democrats don’t deliver real change they will simply vote against them.

In other words it seems that people like your average (if there is such a thing) DD’er are representative of a very large segment of the population, and hold the future of political parties in their hands, from what Cohen is saying here.

He also tackles the question of why it is that Democrats seem to be never able to deliver on their messages of change, and comes out with some very interesting observations.

Cohen’s own site is

Real News Network – February 2, 2010

I get the strange feeling for some reason that Cohen might have been reading DD and places like it.

Part 2 of this interview is here.


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    • Edger on February 3, 2010 at 03:43

    Mahalia Jackson sang about you a long time ago.

    You’ve got the whole world in your hands….

  1. I found this particularly tasty:

    Democrats can get in with a message of change.  The problem is, when they govern, the only thing they can always be counted on to do is demobilize their base.  They do it like clockwork.

    I’m going to go find segment two.

  2. is a waste of time. We had three incredibly liberal Democrats going into the 68 convention, all part of the

    great FDR Democratic tradition; Eugene, Bobby and V.P. Hubert.

    Eugene stepped up first and reluctantly ran, because Bobby didn’t want to. And when he did so well in New Hampshire, LBJ decided not to run. Now Bobby, an opportunist to say the least, then decided to run. This pissed of Eugene, because he had asked him to run earlier and had declined.

    Now, all of a sudden Bobby wants in.

    Meanwhile, the Dems are luke warm on Hubert. In fact, they were split. The older Dems loved Hubert, because he was truly a fabulous, old time liberal ass kicker. But a hell of a lot of other Dems, particularly the young, hated his guts for supporting the war.

    Meanwhile, McCarthy and Kennedy are going at it in the primaries. Hubert doesn’t even bother, because he expects the “machine” to do its job and get him in in Chicago; after all he was the V.P. and the most experienced guy around and “naturally deserving” of the nomination.  

    Kennedy wins Calif. and then gets killed. McCarthy loses to Humphrey. And the guy that didn’t even run in a primary becomes the Democratic Candidate. But the guy that becomes president was a has been, washed up V.P. under Eisenhower, who only could have made it if the Dems self destructed (with a little help from an assassin’s bullet).

    A generation of active, young, involved liberals disappeared. Revolutionary change is GENERATIONAL. That’s how it works. That’s the real dynamic. Movements need young people to lead and sustain activity leading to change. IMHO, Fox News is just as irrelevant as Liberal blogging as far as ACTION is concerned.

    Democrats fell off the cliff in 68′ and never came back.

    And what screwed them the most? WAR and the pressure of the Pentagon to stay engaged in what most people were learning was a mindless disaster. So what happened? The Watergate buffoon with his sidekick Henry rode to the rescue. And the rest is history.

    An illigitimate war is a party killer. And the Democratic Party was killed. The idealism was sucked out of the party. It didn’t help that both MLK and Bobby were gunned down, but 10 years of a morally bankrupt war was just too much to handle. And just when we had the opportunity to make up for our past stupidity, the Democratic President decides to do Vietnam in Afghanistan.

    Then he says there’s no money for social programs in the midst of an economic catastrophy brought on by the financial aristocracy and the Pentagon. Healthcare was doomed from the start, just as if it had been planned that way.

    The Democrats are long gone. They left in 68′, and even with the best chance in 40 years to  recover their spirit, they don’t have a clue who they are; not a single one of them (well maybe a few). One can regain a sense of identity and purpose only with an honest, inner focus on

    principles of justice. When Obama picked his alter ego Rahm as COS, he revealed a hell of a lot more than words can express.

  3. thanks! I do believe however the the indie swing voters are more of a mixed bag demographically then the blue collar types he talked about. In my district they are growing in number pulling in many libertarians, former moderate Republicans and lots of disillusioned Democrats. I would say that while not ideological in the parties breakdown of right left and center there ideological enough to reject the political fictions generated by the electoral process and machine politics in preference for their own ideals. Lots of the former Nadar voters and Green’s in my precinct are now independents so I would think that they are varied demographically and are not at all just knee jerk throw the bums out.

    The Clinton and Bush regime made their numbers swell, and Obama looks to generate even more. The Democrats are ill advised to decide that these are centrists, ‘moderates’ and one thing this video was dead on about is the fact that they will have no qualms about not voting for Democrats who don’t deliver, and try to bamboozle or use scare tactics. They are the hardest to pin down when campaigning as they reject the breakdowns and fictions of party ideology. We should all vote as though we are independents as in a way we all are at this point. I may soon join their ranks.      

  4. looking forward to the next installment.

  5. It’s useless.

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