Saturday, March 22, 2008
The Nation magazine has an informative podcast/interview with various folks evaluating the New Deal and its legacy. Discussions noteworthy for me were mainly those of Howard Zinn about the presidential how candidates advocating New Deal-like initiatives for full employment and comprehensive health care coverage--Edwards and Kucinich--were shunted asided by the Party establishment. Also, Zinn's remarked that the New Deal did not depend on FDR as much as it did a broad social movement that spurred FDR toward his reforms in federal policy. He suggested that Barack Obama's supporters could likewise leverage him away from the more conventional and cautious policies that he is espousing. I think that it is interesting that the Democratic campaigns employ language connecting their campaigns with social movements against party establishment even while they fight over superdelegates. I would bet that the larger progressive social movement would be much more committed to New Deal reforms that the Party is rejecting right now (the establishment seems more committed to ideas like that of President Bill Clinton in the 1990s that the "era of big government is over").