Quote of the Day (So Far!)
Norman Podhoretz on the New Politics.
4:12 PM, Jul 20, 2010 • By MATTHEW CONTINETTI
What struck me about this passage was its relevance. While the Carter administration may have been staffed by many members of the New Class and those sympathetic to adversary culture, it would be hard to describe the man from Plains as such. Carter, a religious man, had an ostentatious pious streak, and neither his foreign nor domestic policies were as left-wing as some of his apologists would have liked.
Nor was the next Democratic president, Bill Clinton, a "true" member of the New Class, even though at times he shared its politics and had journeyed upward through its institutions. The realities of American politics in the early 1990s, and Clinton's shape-shifting nature, limited his ability to put the New Politics into action during his first two years in office -- and by the end of his presidency Clinton had moved so far to the right on economic and foreign policy that many in the New Class would abandon Al Gore for Ralph Nader in the 2000 election.
It was not until Obama, then, that America elected its first New Politics president. From his writerly and intellectual talents to his elite academic pedigree, from his confidence in government's expert abilities to his technocratic disdain for political debate, Obama is the perfect vessel for the New Class's long-frustrated ambitions. And his core of support -- what Michael Barone calls the "top-and-bottom coalition" that brought him to office -- is exactly as Podhoretz describes the original New Politics coalition in the 1970s.
What remains to be seen is whether the imperatives of office drive Obama to move rightward like his predecessors, thus alienating the New Class. Or whether the combination of economic doldrums and an unpopular liberal agenda lead the American people to reject him first.