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Vanden Heuvel and Reed on the Democratic Direction
Democratic Sign
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August 29, 2008

Much of the coverage of the Democratic National Convention seems to have been looking for rifts in the party — there are even new vocabulary words — Clintonistas vs. Obamamaniacs. But there hasn't been as much attention devoted during the convention to whether Obama can keep the Left of the party satisfied — not nearly the amount of speculation as to whether McCain can keep the right of the GOP satisfied. Why? Is the Left a given for Obama?

There are discussions: The blog OpenLeft hosted a discussion on whether or not Obama's Admiration of Ronald Reagan was dangerous, justified or merely a political ruse. CBS news ran an opinion piece from THE NATIONAL REVIEW headlined: "Obama's Radical-Left Ties Broad And Deep." The TIMES OF LONDON weighed in from abroad, suggesting "Barack Obama's policy switches are giving the Left whiplash" but speculating that Obama's moves were political calculation at their best, and not dangerous to his core support.

Bill Moyers talks with two stalwarts of the left, THE NATION's Katrina vanden Heuvel and scholar Adolph Reed, Jr. They've both weighed in recently on how well Obama is serving the left — with very different conclusions:

"The Obama nomination sets the stage for a sea-change election, one that could not only elect a Democratic President and increased reform majorities in both houses of Congress but also mark a clear turn from the conservative ideas that have dominated our politics for three decades." -- "Progressives in the Obama Moment," Robert L. Borosage & Katrina vanden Heuvel
"Obama's style of being all things to all people threatens to melt under the inescapable spotlight of a national campaign against a Republican. It's like what brings on the downfall of really successful con artists: They get themselves onto a stage that's so big that they can't hide their contradictions anymore, and everyone finds out about the different stories they've told different people. And Obama's belonging to Wright's church in the first place was quite likely part of establishing a South Side bourgeois nationalist street cred because his political base was with Hyde Park/University of Chicago liberals and the foundation world." --"Obama No", Adolph Reed, Jr. THE PROGRESSIVE, May, 2008.
Katrina vanden Heuvel

Photo by Robin Holland Katrina vanden Heuvel has been THE NATION's editor since 1995 and publisher since 2005. She is the co-editor of TAKING BACK AMERICA--AND TAKING DOWN THE RADICAL RIGHT and, most recently, editor of THE DICTIONARY OF REPUBLICANISMS. She is also co-editor (with Stephen F. Cohen) of VOICES OF GLASNOST: INTERVIEWS WITH GORBACHEV'S REFORMERS and editor of THE NATION: 1865-1990, and the collection A JUST RESPONSE: THE NATION ON TERRORISM, DEMOCRACY AND SEPTEMBER 11, 2001. She is a frequent commentator on American and international politics on MSNBC, CNN and PBS. Her articles have appeared in THE WASHINGTON POST, THE LOS ANGELES TIMES, THE NEW YORK TIMES AND THE BOSTON GLOBE. Her weblog for is "Editor's Cut."

Vanden Heuvel is a member of The Council on Foreign Relations, and she also serves on the board of The Institute for Women's Policy Research, The Institute for Policy Studies, The World Policy Institute, The Correctional Association of New York and The Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute.

Adolph Reed, Jr.

Photo by Robin Holland Adolph Reed Jr. is Professor of Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania. He has been Professor of Political Science on the Graduate Faculty of the New School for Social Research, Yale and Northwestern Universities and at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He is the editor of RACE, POLITICS AND CULTURE: CRITICAL ESSAYS ON THE RADICALISM OF THE 1960S and WITHOUT JUSTICE FOR ALL: THE NEW LIBERALISM AND OUR RETREAT FROM RACIAL EQUALITY and is author of THE JESSE JACKSON PHENOMENON: THE CRISIS OF PURPOSE IN AFRO-AMERICAN POLITICS; W.E.B. DU BOIS AND AMERICAN POLITICAL THOUGHT: FABIANISM & THE COLOR LINE ; STIRRINGS IN THE JUG: BLACK POLITICS IN THE POST-SEGREGATION ERA as well as CLASS NOTES, a collection of his popular political writing and co-author of the forthcoming RENEWING BLACK INTELLECTUAL HISTORY: THE IDEOLOGICAL AND MATERIAL FOUNDATIONS OF BLACK AMERICAN THOUGHT.

He has been a columnist in THE PROGRESSIVE and THE VILLAGE VOICE, has written frequently in THE NATION, and he is a member of the Interim National Council of the Labor Party and serves on the board of Public Citizen, Inc. and is a member of the Executive Committee of the American Association of University Professors.

Guest photos by Robin Holland

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References and Reading:
National Conventions

Of course, all the major and minor news outlets will be giving the convention ...conventional coverage, but this convention is slated to be the most covered on the Web in history. Check out the DNC's own site and watch the whole process online. The check out the list of bloggers with press credentials too. A Google search will certainly lead to more tens of thousands more takes on the Democrat's Denver performance.

Check out what's planned for next week's GOP event at the GOP Convention site.

Hubert H. Humphrey
Browse the Minnesota Historical Society's records.

Adolph Reed, Jr.

"Obama No", Adolph Reed, Jr. THE PROGRESSIVE, May, 2008.
"He's a vacuous opportunist. I've never been an Obama supporter. I've known him since the very beginning of his political career, which was his campaign for the seat in my state senate district in Chicago. He struck me then as a vacuous opportunist, a good performer with an ear for how to make white liberals like him. I argued at the time that his fundamental political center of gravity, beneath an empty rhetoric of hope and change and new directions, is neoliberal."

The “2 A.M. Booty Call”: Q&A with Adolph Reed re Obama and American Politics
Norman Kelly's Q&A with Reed in the aftermath of his "Obama No" article in THE PROGRESSIVE.

"Race and the New Deal Coalition," Adolph Reed Jr., THE NATION, March 20, 2008
Adolph Reed reflects on a the legacy, in memory and in fact, of the New Deal.

Katrina vanden Heuvel

Editor's Cut
Read Katrina vanden Heuvel's blog at THE NATION. The site also has a wealth of DNC coverage.

"Progressives in the Obama Moment," Robert L. Borosage & Katrina vanden Heuvel, THE NATION, August 13, 2008
THE NATION's cover story on the Democractic nominee.

Published August 29, 2008

Also This Week:

In the historic moment of the first African-American nominee for President, Bill Moyers sits down with Nation editor Katrina vanden Heuvel and University of Pennsylvania professor of political science Adolph Reed, Jr. to discuss the promises from the DNC and expectations of Barack Obama.

Bill Moyers speaks with political analysts Merle and Earl Black, who've tracked the American electorate for years. They will discuss how American demographics — particularly votes from the Southern and the swing states, such as Ohio and Pennsylvania — will influence the campaign and the election.

There are must-win states for both candidates in the South. Can either change historic voting patterns?

A Bill Moyers essay.

Tell us what's concerning your community on the Moyers on 2008 map.

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