Re-rise of the Naderites: Glenn Greenwald’s third party dreamin’ **UPDATE: on Libertarianism

Glenn Greenwald speaks to Libertarians at the University of Wisconsin on November 3, 2010.

At a talk given the day after the 2010 election — one that was a disaster for Democrats — “progressive” writer and civil liberties lawyer Glenn Greenwald gave a talk at the University of Wisconsin, and expressed the hope that Democrats might suffer the same fate in 2012. 

Greenwald’s speech mainly focused on civil liberties and terrorism policy “in the age of Obama.” But it was his approach to politics that got members of the Young Americans for Liberty — a Paulite Libertarian group that co-sponsored the event — excited:

The speech was stellar with too many good points to touch on in a single blog post. I would like to point out that in the Q&A at 38:00 Greenwald specifically addresses a possible alliance between progressives and Ron Paul libertarians. He also mentions Gary Johnson as a unique candidate with possibly the best chance of bringing this coalition together in a 2012 run for president.

In addition to praising Johnson, who announced for president this week, and promoting the idea of a Johnson- Russ Feingold ticket, as he did again recently in an interview with Out Magazine, Greenwald offered a few insights into his way of thinking:

- He called President Obama a “political coward” whose entire history, as a student, a writer, an organizer and as a politician, is one of accommodation of entrenched power, to whom he never wants to be seen as a “threat” (27:58)

- He said Democrats have stigmatized the idea of supporting third parties or not voting at all, “by what is perceived to have happened in 2000 when Ralph Nader supposedly siphoned off votes and helped elect George Bush,” (24:50)

- He lavishly praised not just Wikileaks and Bradley Manning (who he called “probably the most heroic figure we’ve seen in at least a decade.” but also tea partyers who strike fear into the hearts of politicians by “acting very threateningly,” and “taking guns and machine guns” to their protests (49:10);

- And he expressed support for the Citizens United ruling, dismissing the concerns over corporate “personhood” by saying that if the government can restrict corporate speech, it could strip corporations and “entities” like the ACLU of all of their constitutional rights, saying it’s better that the government not limit corporate speech, but rather that it create a generous public financing system that would match one campaigner’s $50 million in corporate cash with $50 million for his or her opponent from the federal government (32:33);

But it was Greenwald’s notion of third party voting that offered the greatest window in what he’d like to see happen in American elections. In short, he’d like to see another Naderite revolution in 2012. Here’s a transcript with approximate time codes:

23:54 – If all you ever do is complain about how horrible and abysmal the Democrats are, but at the end of the day, right before the election happens, you say, you know what, as much as I loathe you, and as disappointing as you’ve been, and as horrible as the things you have done, I’m going to give you my support because you’ve scared me that the other alternative is just a little bit worse … and therefore since I’ll never vote Republican, you have my unconditional undying support no matter how much how stmp on my values, no matter how horrible the things that you do … what you’re doing is youre guaranteeing that you’ll always be ignored.


And that’s the position that so many liberals and progressives have been in. Which is, you know, really finding Democratic policies to be repellant and yet at the same time, at the end of the day saying, well you’ve convinced me that they’re just a tiny, little bit worse. And the only way to break that is to say well, even though I know that by abstaining or supporting a third party, I’m going to be sacrificing some of my short term political interests; I’m going to be causing a few more Republicans to be elected than otherwise might be elected; on balance, I’m willing to sacrifice my short term interests in order to do something to subvert the stranglehold that these two parties have on the political process because electing more Democrats, even though it’s a little less scary, accomplishes nothing good. And everyone’s going to have to decide for themselves when they get to that point, and I think and hope that that point is pretty close. And if Obama does move to the center as the consensus is telling him that he should and starts doing things like cutting Social Security, which they’re revving up to do if they can get consensus on, in a very short period of time, I think you’re gonna see lots and lots of progressives and Democrats – even people who hated the Naderites for abandoning the party, start to entertain those options, and a lot sooner rather than later. And I hope that’s the case.

Of course, it’s not unusual for progressive libertarians to feel strongly that a third party movement is the answer to what they see as the sameness of the Democratic and Republican parties. But I think it’s hard to argue, in the wake of the 2010 election and the House Republicans’ all-out assault on women, unions, teachers, the poor, and now the elderly, that there’s no material difference between Democratic- and Republican-controlled government. And for non-elites in the Democratic party, those “short term interests” would be tough to sacrifice, whether its the ability to obtain unemployment insurance if they lose a job, the ability to organize and get decent wages and healthcare on the job, to retire with dignity rather than a voucher, and on and on. The stark right turn the country took when more Republicans were elected is a sobering reminder that most people can’t afford to strike a blow at the two-party system as a “short term sacrifice,” though people in Greenwald’s more privileged position can.

I’d be interested to see if Greenwald would give this same speech today, and whether he would do it in Wisconsin, given what’s happening there.

I wouldn’t doubt that he would.

Even as the 2000 election drew down, progressive libertarians like Michael Moore and Bill Maher advocated voting for Nader instead of Al Gore, because “there wasn’t a dime’s worth of difference” between the major party candidates.

We all see how well that worked out.

In the end, it’s not about Greenwald’s individual views. He has a right to them, and a perfect right to advocate that Democrats/liberals pull away from the party and vote for whoever he thinks they should vote for.

The question is, how broad the “Naderite” faction is today, and how could that impact the 2012 election, when what will be on the line is not just the House, which Democrats are currently in a position to retake, but also control of the Senate and the White House. Should Republicans, who will be of the same ideological stripe as those in the House, because of the primacy of the Koch/John Birch Society tea party wing, take over Congress and the White House, this will be a very different country a few years from now.

And progressives need to ask whether it’s better to prioritize symbolic strikes against the two-party system over the basic interests of the people who form the base of their constituency: single women, young people and largely minorities, unlike the almost entirely white, privileged, progressive elite.

The video of the Greenwald entire speech and the Q&A can be found on the Badger Herald website.

UPDATE: This Michael Kinsley piece from TIME Magazine back in 2007 has an interesting take on what Libertarians believe, which might be instructive for those who focus on the civil liberties issues, and forget the rest

To oversimplify somewhat less, Democrats aren’t always for Big Government, and Republicans aren’t always against it. Democrats treasure civil liberties, whereas Republicans are more tolerant of government censorship to protect children from pornography, or of wiretapping to catch a criminal, or of torture in the war against terrorism. War in general and Iraq in particular–certainly Big Government exercises–are projects Republicans tend to be more enthusiastic about. Likewise the criminal process: Republicans tend to want to make more things illegal and to send more people to jail for longer. Republicans also consider themselves more concerned about the moral tone of the country, and they are more disposed toward using the government in trying to improve it. In particular, Republicans think religion needs more help from society, through the government, while Democrats are touchier about the separation of church and state.

Many people feel that neither party offers a coherent set of principles that they can agree with. For them, the choice is whether you believe in Big Government or you don’t. And if you don’t, you call yourself a libertarian. Libertarians are against government in all its manifestations. Domestically, they are against social-welfare programs. They favor self-reliance (as they see it) over Big Government spending. Internationally, they are isolationists. Like George Washington, they loathe “foreign entanglements,” and they think the rest of the world can go to hell without America’s help. They don’t care–or at least they don’t think the government should care–about what people are reading, thinking, drinking, smoking or doing in bed. And what is the opposite of libertarianism? Libertarians would say fascism. But in the American political context, it is something infinitely milder that calls itself communitarianism. The term is not as familiar, and communitarians are far less organized as a movement than libertarians, ironically enough. But in general communitarians emphasize society rather than the individual and believe that group responsibilities (to family, community, nation, the globe) should trump individual rights. …

And while Libertarians do hold a certain fascination for liberals (I know lots of liberals who were tempted by Ron Paul in 2008 because of his anti-war stance) you do have to consider the Libertarian stance on social issues when deciding whether you think a Gary Johnson administration would be a good thing for the majority of Americans, most of whom are concerned more about economic and subsistence issues, than about the civil liberties issues driving people like Greenwald.

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95 Responses to Re-rise of the Naderites: Glenn Greenwald’s third party dreamin’ **UPDATE: on Libertarianism

  1. Johnny C. says:

    Nancy Pelosi had to signed on to the deal due to the fact the incoming wingnut majority and since they have no interest in helping anyone but their corporate masters it was this deal or no deal at all.

    Now to GN comment I’m starting notice a trend when a progressive blogs start posting negative stories about Glenn Greenwald that blog get a sudden infestation of Greenwald fanboys and girls. But hey if folks like Larry want to be led by a fraud like a Greenwald go right a head but don’t get mad at others when they don’t want to.

  2. bmull says:

    A quick poly-sci refresher:

    gg | gj
    Liberal ———————– Conservative

    Greenwald has never made any secret of the fact that he is a left-leaning libertarian. Why shouldn’t GG find common purpose with Gary Johnson on some issues? If they did put together a libertarian ticket it would probably draw at least is much from the right as from the left, so there’s no cost to liberals–unlike Nader who has almost no support on the right.

    I guess I’m wondering what the purpose of this post is other than to rehash what we already know and make a false comparison to Nader’s alleged spoiling of the 2000 election.

  3. gn says:

    @Johnny C, so right, this is a free country and if people want to follow this libertarian stuff, go right ahead, but don’t come here and attack the site owner because she chose to report about an attempt to lead progressives into potentially supporting a straight up right wing libertarian on a presidential ticket. She’s reporting facts and information; people are free to think as they so choose, but don’t get angry with us for the offense of noticing what’s going down.

    I saw this coming when arianna started saying that the two party system was broken to her. That’s when I knew that they were going to come at President Obama from a third party *in my opinion.*

  4. gn says:

    @bmull, Greenwald’s libertarianism and the fact that he’s thinking of allying with the right wing to support a Republican on a presidential ticket would be news to lots of people who think that he is a liberal progressive and have used his thoughts as an indication of what the Democratic and liberal base may be thinking.

  5. beulahmo says:

    @BMull “McGovern would be considered a socialist by today’s standards. The two party system has failed.”

    Can you recommend any commentary about this by contemporary political scientists? I think there’s plenty of merit in considering alternatives, but how and where do we start without having it result in self-immolation? I’m *extremely* leery of repeated calls to *begin* with presidential candidates. In the current political climate, we’re faced with something worse than compromise — we face all-or-nothing scorched earth from the right wing. That, combined with our politics becoming *increasingly* money-driven, puts too much at risk to make high-level candidacy a practical option, imo. I’m not saying multiple parties would be impossible — I just want somebody to explain HOW we succeed at this. And I don’t have use for platitudes — how would it *work*??

  6. beulahmo says:


    “If they did put together a libertarian ticket it would probably draw at least is much from the right as from the left, so there’s no cost to liberals–unlike Nader who has almost no support on the right.”

    Well you’ve thought about the potential support in an election. But you’re leaving out something HUGE — IF this ticket somehow managed to win, what would governing look like? What would their platform and legislative agenda be? How would that play out? For God’s sake, we could potentially end up with some of the WORST progressive outcomes in terms of economic and social justice. I don’t see how this is not GLARINGLY obvious to you and Greenwald.

  7. bmull says:

    Let’s try again with that chart…

    ··············gg ·····|·······gj····················
    Liberal ————————– Conservative
    ··················Populist ························

    It’s possible to be both liberal and libertarian. It is perfectly reasonable for Glenn to present himself as a liberal, although he rarely does because he’s long been interested in the possibilities of a L-R libertarian coalition.

  8. bmull says:

    @BEULAHMO: As I said, a libertarian ticket cannot win the presidency because election would be thrown into the House where the PTB would vote along partisan lines. But to suspend disbelief for a moment, a Gary Johnson presidency would probably focus on civil liberties because that’s where you have the left-right coalition. A focus on economic issues would cause the coalition to fracture.

  9. beulahmo says:

    @BMull “…interested in the possibilities of a L-R libertarian coalition.”

    I’m sorry — I’m still having trouble following this. I guess I could see a vision for coalescing L and R libertarians on policy “issues”…but on *candidtates*?? For PRESIDENT??? We can’t expect a president to cover the kind of ground he’s imagining. Again, this just seems recklessly, FOOLISHLY impractical to me.

  10. beulahmo says:

    @BMull “…to suspend disbelief…….would PROBABLY focus….” (emphasis mine)

    Ah! Well, that’s were you lose me, I’m afraid. I can’t afford to gamble on those assumptions.

    This is, I think, the main point of Ms. Reid’s column — that those of us down at the bottom of the socio-economic privilege scale don’t realistically have the luxury of taking risks like that. Now, present to me a plan with a reasonably plausible path to success, and I’ll work like a dog for it. I don’t mind being patient or working hard for a long time. I just don’t believe in exposing myself and others to the potential of very real, material suffering that would come with losing the gamble.

  11. gn says:

    @beulahmo, I’m not buying this either. It just feels like a fancy dressed up argument for placing the right wing into the WH. I don’t care if it’s a libertarian Republican or paleoconservative Republican or neoconservative Republican—-we really cannot afford to undo the framework so carefully put in place by Dems to stave off collapse. Greenwald and his followers are welcome to ally with the right wing and support a Republican ticket, but I’d sure love it if the media stopped using these folks as shorthand for the Democratic base, or progressive base, because they’re anything but.

  12. Dorothy Rissman says:

    GN, Joy, beaula and so many others. I am a gog. Great article and good defense. It is one thing for a person to say they are concerned about something in particular, but it is another to defend a libertarian who strangely has picked this time in history to try to bring down Barack Obama.

    It seem GG should have done that during the Bush years. Very interesting. It is difficult to know if he has a particular problems with Obama, or perhaps he, like many others, (Maher, Moore etc.) wanted a black gangsta not an intelligent, thoughtful man.

    I suspect GG wanted the same thing. What a great site. Thank you Joy.

  13. jreid says:

    I soooo did not want to wade back into this, but @bmull:

    Greenwald has most certainly NOT made it clear that he is a Libertarian. That’s why the revelation, including the fact that he is associated with the CATO Institute, or has been, comes as such a surprise to liberals/liberal Democrats who assume he is one of them. I’ll bet the bookers at MSNBC have him down as “progressive,” not “libertarian,” too, since he is often booked as a representative of Barack Obama’s “angry base.”

    Also Mr. Mull, are you aware that Libertarians, including Ron Paul and every libertarian I’ve ever talked to, believe and would implement the following if given the power to do so:

    1. Abolish Social Security. People should save up their own money, and charity should take care of the rest.

    2. Abolish Medicare AND Medicaid. Same reasoning as above.

    3. Abolish the minimum wage. The government, they believe, has no constitutional authority to regulate wages.

    4. Abolish child labor laws. Same reasoning.

    5. Abolish campaign finance laws. Explained by Greenwald in the video, as a requirement of the first amendment (he also basically agrees with the notion of corporate “personhood.”

    6. Eliminate almost all foreign aid.

    7. Abolish the federal reserve or at least severely restrict its ability to regulate the money supply, meaning a potential return to the gold standard that nearly decimated Europe’s economy in the 1930s until they got smart and went off it (then FDR followed suit.)

    It goes on from there. Mr. Mull, how do you think that poor people, old people, and middle class people living paycheck to paycheck would fare under a libertarian regime, say, headed by Gary Johnson? Such an administration would be fine for Mr. Greenwald, who is well off. But it would suck for about 90 percent of Americans.

    Just sayin.

  14. beulahmo says:

    “…I’d sure love it if the media stopped using these folks as shorthand for the Democratic base, or progressive base, because they’re anything but.”

    GN, you’re absolutely right. I think we should apply pressure to MSNBC to be more forthcoming about the backgrounds and positions held by their guest “analysts.” I think they are *definitely* guilty of misrepresenting the qualifications and positions of these “experts.”

  15. RinaX says:

    Amazing article, and you clarified what I’ve always suspected with bloggers like this who seem to spend a lot of time cloaking themselves in “progressive” values and thus seem to represent Democratic voters, yet spend more time attacking Democrats, particularly when something good happens for them. As others here have said, just stop pretending you give a damn about the Democratic party, or that you represent the average Dem, and just move on to creating whatever third party you want, and quit acting like we’re on the same side, because we’re not.

  16. nathkatun7 says:

    For me, this was an eye-opening read. I never knew GG was a libertarian. If , as BMull contends: “Greenwald has never made any secret of the fact that he is a left-leaning libertarian” why is it that in all his interview appearances on t.v. he always represents himself, or is described by his hosts, as a disgruntled member of President Obama’s base? Clearly this guy has been deceiving people pretending to be a disillusioned strong supporter of the president when it is clear that his agenda is to create disunity in the Democratic party in order to advance the political interests of Libertarians. GG has every right to champion the Libertarian cause. What I find shameful is the deception of pretending to represent the Democratic base.

  17. majii says:

    BMull–Before you made your comment, did it ever occur to you that I might be a socialist, and that is why I voted for McGovern?

    I didn’t think so!

    I am to the left of President Obama, but I’m also a pragmatist. This means I prefer to take something from a negotiation rather than have it end in gridlock because of ideological purity and end up receiving nothing. IOW, I’m not a purist. I’m a realist.

  18. Henry says:

    It’s amazing how many on the left are allow themselves to be lead around by their noses by a bunch of ex-republicans (cenk, schultz, Huffington), a self-righteous right-wing sympathizing libertarian (greenwald) and a PUMA grifter (Hamsher). These people swear that they speak for the President’s base. My only question is, do they actually believe their own bullshit? As for Greenwald, I’m not sure he actually believes in anything except activism for sake of being contrary. The seething contempt that this guy shows for President Obama and his supporters is borderline psychotic; comparing blackwaterdog to Nazi propaganda speaks volumes about the guy. Political ideology aside, he’s just a small person.

  19. Flo says:

    I’m with MAJII the realist (and McGovern was my first vote, long time ago), and appreciate Henry’s comments, because I almost thought Greenwald was just smarter than us; but I think Henry is onto something.

  20. nathkatun7 says:

    @Henry… Very Well said! The viciousness and and the unfounded attacks he unleashed on blackwaterdog, just because she created a site that supported President Obama, told me everything I needed to know about this man. Despite all his pretenses to be an intellectual, he is as you say, “just a small person.” I would even argue that he is a coward because if he was courageous he would not have hidden behind some tweeter message to attack BWD.
    Moreover, there is no doubt in my mind that he craves the adulation of his cult followers and just don’t know how to respond to adults who challenge his half baked political views. I wish people like Greenwald would practice what they preach. Why not run for office to show us how they would implement “a far left libertarian agenda” in a country which is as ideologically divided as ours.

    What is equally amazing is that a person, who bills himself as a constitutional scholar, is so ignorant about the way the American political system functions; and has functioned since the 1787 compromises that gave us the much revered U.S. Constitution.

  21. pitiful, just pitiful.

  22. Johnny C. says:


    Let me vent a bit before I sorta still like Ed Schultz because when he’s not firebagging on the president his message on a strong middle-class is appealing. But it’s like I’m watching the super villain Two-Face debate his two sides on the Ed Show.

    As for everyone else while I think some of the Obama critics are still pissed off Hillary supporters(i.e Lynn Samuels and Bartcop) but I think the vast majority of them made a sweet living off raging on the idiot son of an asshole and with Obama in the White House those pissed off liberals aren’t going to their sites like they used to.

    So they decide to stir up rage among liberals. So they start with this constant drumbeat of how the president they busted their ass for has stabbed them in the back. So you see headlines of “CAVED” or “COWARD” and they give their readers or listeners half the details of the story. Take example the infamous fucking retarded comment by Rahm Emanuel if you listen to Ed he has you to believe he was calling the entire liberal community fucking retard in reality Rahm was talking about how it was retarded to alienate the easily scared blue dogs when you need them.

    So with Bradley Manning they’re using him to further their own agenda of getting rich and staying relevant. And if they help turn the senate and the White House to the Republicans they figure even pissed off Obama supporters will forgive them because they’re going to reach out and “unite” us to fight a common enemy.

    As for Glenn Greenwald either he’s cocky son of a bitch or he knows his supporters are dumb as hell, how can he crack on Obama for not being progressive while endorsing a guy that goes against everything he wants Obama to be? That’s like me saying I want a woman who doesn’t do drugs and have a good moral values but I’m laying the pipe to women like Courtney Love.

    Greenwald outed(no pun) himself as a phony but I bet you his fanboys won’t turn on him because he’s feeding them what they want to eat.

  23. the difference between glenn greenwald and liberals like me, is that glenn greenwald cares about civil liberties and that’s it. i care about civil liberties. i also care about unions, social safety nets, social inequality, climate change, and all the traditionally “liberal” issues.

    libertarians may share those values, but only up to a point and for entirely different reasons. so fantastic, johnson favors legalizing weed.


    but how does he feel about head start? shelter for women and the homeless? medicare? medicaid?

    i would be willing to hazard a guess that johnson does not give a good goddamn about those issues. and if he is at all like ron paul, he’s got some backwards ass views on race.

    an alliance with a libertarian — ANY libertarian — is, in my view, unacceptable.

    And then once you realize that Greenwald is an immigrant basher

    The parade of evils caused by illegal immigration is widely known, and it gets worse every day. In short, illegal immigration wreaks havoc economically, socially, and culturally; makes a mockery of the rule of law; and is disgraceful just on basic fairness grounds alone. Few people dispute this, and yet nothing is done. –

    it should be perfectly clear to you (if you are liberal) that Greenwald and any candidate he supports is unacceptable.

  24. Leo says:

    Johnny C you make a very good and humorous point but I don’t think I’m going to re-unite with these a-holes after Obama is gone. They got my money and I signed their stupid petitions when Bush was president but now screw ‘em! They’re disappointed with Obama and Obamabots? Well I’ll push my disappointment chips to match theirs any day of the week. Naderites in sheep’s clothing for eight years? Sheeeeeit! Run the country, hell they’re not qualified to run a goddamned ice cream truck!

  25. bmull says:

    To be continued… But bear in mind that the middle class is falling behind even with a Democrat in the White House. You can’t just say that we cannot risk Dems losing control. It’s not working and Dems will lose control sooner or later. In fact the Senate is going to be almost impossible to hold with so many seats to defend. It’s time to start making bigger moves, and one such move is a libertarian third party candidate with appeal to both the left and right. American libertarianism, i.e. unbridled capitalism and shredding the social safety net, could never work in the real world so your fears about what might happen are unfounded.

  26. Leo says:

    And Joy I just want to point one thing out to you. While I agree with your description of what makes up the base you left out poor people in general. This again though cements your point in that I don’t think there are many people on that list who are on food stamps and medicaid.

  27. gn says:

    @bmulll…right, so in two years President Obama hasn’t undone centuries of crony capitalism (yet he’s done a heck of a lot to help people), so let’s put a privatization right wing libertarian nutjob into the WH. It’s like we’re in two different worlds, two different planets. How are you unable to see how you are getting played for the biggest of suckers by Glenn and co.? Firebaggers are being played for absolute fools, and any time that you guys decide that your leadership is anything but, we’re always here to help and support you.

  28. Pucci says:

    While I agree that tactical voting is a necessity sometimes, therefore we can have to vote Democrat because otherwise the OTHER party gets in, it is also true that Glenn Greenwald shows us clearly that we ARE trapped.

    The two major parties have their interest in keeping the status quo: 8 years me, 8 years you, or thereabouts.

    Meantime WE get slowly and systematically screwed, every legislation chipping a bit off our civil liberties, rights and social state – what was built with our grandparents’ blood sweat and tears when the US actually had a social contract between government and the people.

    I think in the current system Obama is good – but I can’t deny that the current system makes me sick – makes me dream of anarchy even.

    All these government compromises – on the things that are nearest or dearest to the majority of normal people, all this posturing, by elected politicians that are supposed to be working FOR us and not against us…

    All these so-called Democrats voting against the government on this or that: why don’t we start demanding that after they vote AGAINST twice, they need to leave the party and stop calling themselves Dems (or Reps) – and instead start being independents (or join the other side if they prefer) – that could be the beginning of making a difference.

    As for Greenwald – I like him too, I like the way he writes and speaks… And I am not a groupie.

  29. gn says:

    Love the historical revisionism. In *my* grandmother’s day, her entire family left the south because they were brilliant African American self-starters or in other words prime candidates for LYNCHING (fauxgressive hero FDR refused to sign federal anti-lynching legislation because he had to make concessions to his own political realities). The New Deal was deliberately crafted to exclude the vast majority of black people in order to appease the Dixiecrats and get the legislation passed because FDR knew that it could be improved later. I just gotta love it that so-called civil liberties advocates lionize the man who interned Japanese-Americans, Italian-Americans, and German-Americans in concentration camps.

    You just can’t make this stuff up.

    Greenwald spreads straight up falsehoods, as do several of his admirers. I’m personally pretty much done with libertarians and authoritarians speaking for me as a liberal progressive. The voice hijack is over.

  30. Jreid says:

    You’re absolutely right. Poor and working class people are the single broadest part of the Democratic/liberal base, whether liberal elites acknowledge them in their policy priorities or not.

    Well said.

  31. sherifffruitfly says:

    The nihilism of “true progressives” is expressed a little bit differently than how teabaggers express it, but it comes to the same thing:

    “I’m going to be sacrificing some of my short term political interests; I’m going to be causing a few more Republicans to be elected than otherwise might be elected; on balance, I’m willing to sacrifice my short term interests”

  32. sherifffruitfly says:

    What’s TEH AWESUMZ about “true progressives” is how willing they are not to just sacrifice their own interests in the service of progressive purity, but how willing they are to sacrifice EVERYBODY ELSE’S interests as well, for their religious cause.

    I do, however appreciate it when they are honest, and freely admit to helping more republicans get into office, as per the above comment.

  33. gn says:

    @sheriff, it’s just an argument for empowering the right wing dressed up to appeal to liberal sensibilities. This is part and parcel of how the right has stayed in power for so long despite the unpopularity of their ideas: the lack of discipline on the left which keeps us easy prey. When someone tells me that being a real progressive would involve supporting a right wing authoritarian, something aint clean in the water. Fauxgressives are our achilles heel because they support this bs and insist that it is a legitimate point of view.

  34. beulahmo says:


    “The two major parties have their interest in keeping the status quo: 8 years me, 8 years you, or thereabouts.

    “Meantime WE get slowly and systematically screwed, every legislation chipping a bit off our civil liberties, rights and social state – what was built with our grandparents’ blood sweat and tears when the US actually had a social contract between government and the people.”

    I totally sympathize with your points, and it *is* frightening to watch 20th century progress erode, and to feel we have to simply wait for a strong enough voter backlash to sweep in a new wave of progressivism. But as I said to BMull, how and where would we begin to introduce additional viable parties to break up the status quo? (Please read my comments to BMull upthread.) I’m guessing most Democratic / left voters don’t feel they can afford electoral self-immolation in favor of an idealistic notion that they’re making a “statement” or believe that said “statement” will be effective. And I don’t think pragmatic lefty / Dem voters will likely be motivated to throw their ONLY leverage in the political process (i.e., their VOTE) behind a f*cking LIBERTARIAN, just so they can MAYBE introduce a third party (but nevermind that it’s one that will very likely work *against* their economic and social interests), just because it breaks up the status quo. And when I consider that Greenwald and his most ardent admirers tell the most vulnerable Dem voters (99ers, poor, disabled, etc) that they are mindless, status-quo-loving sheep for continuing to support and vote for Dems — it reveals to me a stunning lack of empathy for the people who NEED progressive policy the most. That’s why I’m not sympathetic to Greenwald&fans’ sanctimonious scolding and calls for a third party ticket. Their “plans” sound like not much more than wishful thinking, with too much risk to be borne by us at the bottom. Pisses me off.

    HOWEVER, if ONE of these discontented political spokespersons (Greenwald, Moore, Nader, Hamsher, etc.) could present a plan that sounded like it could succeed, and that didn’t *start* with high-stakes gamble on the presidency, I’d be willing to give it sincere and serious consideration. Until then, I’ll consider what these folks are doing to be foolish, destructive to progressive policy, and — to the extent that they end up empowering kleptocratic right wingers — TOXIC.

  35. Pingback: The Gospel of Selfishness: Libertarians of the right and left : The Reid Report

  36. MJ says:

    Thanks Joy,

    This was an excellent & informative piece and it sparked a spirited & thought provoking discussion in the comments.

  37. Pingback: Firebags and afros: the *genius* plan to primary Barack Obama : The Reid Report

  38. Pingback: Obama outed as the Lying Liar that he always was | Government Lies...

  39. Pingback: Should Glenn Greenwald have to own the Ron Paul blue plate special? : The Reid Report

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  42. AquaBuddha says:

    Thank you Mrs. Reid for articulating what has been bothering me about Glen Greenwald and libertarians in general. Let the Libertarians start a third party that way they can marginalize themselves and hopefully help destroy the GOP in the process. I doubt we will lose many progressives to the libertarian party because the Tea Party’s attacks on the Obama coalition has been too drastic to ignore.

    These libertarians only care about “big government” when its effecting them. They love using big government to deny women access to abortion, engaging in voter suppression, taking away the rights of workers and continuing to deny gay people basic rights in most states.

  43. Pingback: Tuesday Reads: Liberals, Libertarians, and Concern Trolls | Sky Dancing

  44. Esther says:

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    about your post on AOL? I need a specialist on this area to resolve my problem.
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