I confess that I find Mr. Ames's "disappointment" in the president-elect somewhat baffling. At no point during the presidential campaign did Mr. Obama pretend to be anything other than what he obviously is: a center-right corporate candidate with strong ties to the financial services and insurance industries. Throughout the Democratic primary campaign, his positions were clearly the least progressive of any of the major candidates. Alone among them, he rejected universal healthcare. His professed admiration for Ronald Reagan, his FISA vote, his rejection of public financing and his frankly bizarre call during the Democratic debates for giving corporations "a seat at the table" (as if they were somehow lacking a voice in Washington) should have been enough to impugn his progressive credentials. Had the progressive media been less blinded by Mr. Obama's undoubted charm and been more diligent in exploring his actual positions, they would not be quite so disappointed now. I am sure that future historians will write volumes about the progressive delusion that Mr. Obama's secret leftist side would suddenly come out of the closet in some miraculous post-election epiphany.
I do applaud the article for calling attention to Mr. Summers's despicably sexist remarks, but I can't help but notice the double standard at work here. Had he made similar remarks about Hispanics, African-Americans, Jews, or Eastern Europeans. his very name would be anathema to any administration, Republican or Democrat. But because his bigotry was directed towards women, he is still taken seriously in the public sphere. The article's implications that these horrid remarks are only significant "in the context" of Mr. Summers's other flaws shows that the progressive press shares the same blind spot as the culture at large where sexism is concerned. Clearly we all still have a long way to go.
Stephen O. Gombosi
Nov 28 2008 - 4:14pm