Current Affairs Politics

Krystal Ball And Saagar Enjeti Discuss The New Left And Right

The Hudson Institute, a right-wing think tank in the United States, has published an interesting podcast with Krystal Ball and Saagar Enjeti, the liberal and conservative hosts of Hill TV’s online morning show Rising, where the pair discuss their new book The Populist’s Guide To 2020: A New Right and New Left Are Rising. Over the last several months Ball and Enjeti have earned a fair reputation for skewering some of the more outrageous distortions, falsehoods and biases to be found in US politics and the press. And the duo are among a small number of mainstream journalists in America to accurately report on the continuing popularity of Bernie Sanders with rank and file members of the Democratic Party. (While also noting the disdain of the “liberal establishment” in America for the Vermont senator, reflected in the hysteria that has gripped the MSNBC network where Sanders’ supporters have been compared to “Brownshirts” while others have implied that a “socialist” presidency would lead to the execution of journalists in Central Park!)

The fifty-minute video is well worth a watch, especially as we grapple with the challenge to the two-party system in this country posed by Sinn Féin and other groupings of the Left, and the complicity of the Irish press in maintaining and defending the Establishment duopoly of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael. Both of which now seem prepared to enter into an unprecedented coalition government with each other, crystallising the real division in modern Irish politics: between the parties of the rich and the soon-to-be-rich and the parties of everyone else.

16 comments on “Krystal Ball And Saagar Enjeti Discuss The New Left And Right

  1. Krystal Ball is great

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have to say that most of the press in Europe and Britain has grossly mischaracterized the opposition of mainstream Democrats to Bernie Sanders. Claims that people oppose Bernie because he’s “too far left” or that people are “terrified of socialism” are MOSTLY utter nonsense. That myth about Bernie has been repeated

    Most of the objection to Bernie Sanders come down to his history of extremely poor political acumen (He was in the Congress for decades but only authored two pieces of legislation, both of which involved renaming post-offices in Vermont.). That’s not about “being too far left”. “Lame” would be a better description. Most Congressmen who have been in for many years can point to a bunch of legislation they either authored or co-authored. Throughout the 21st Century the man was considered a sort of joke on the American Left, because he always talked a big line, but got so little done. When I was in the anti-war movement with Iraq and in the nuclear freeze stuff, Bernie Sanders was always the big punch-line about somebody who talks such a fabulous line, but ultimately doesn’t do Jack’s shit.

    Then there are those who feel Bernie Sanders simply doesn’t have the flexibility of mind to be President. For example Lincoln, FDR, even Carter and Obama had to change their positions a number of times.. Jawaharlal Nerhu has to do twice as much rethinking as all the above put together to survive not just India’s Independence movement but his term as First Prime Minister. Many Americans see in Bernie Sanders the same inflexibility that made Herbert Hoover into a badly remembered President despite his history as a humanitarian who probably saved more lives than any person who has ever lived with his Famine aid to post WWI Europe and Russia, and the made Woodrow Wilson the one who got us into WWI despite the fact that he started out very anti-war having grown up in the Confederacy and Reconstruction era.

    People ARE NOT so much fearing a Soviet-like Revolution mostly, so much as seeing him -even if he wins- as a crappy Lame Duck who won’t be able to get anything done due to his lousy record in Congress, his off-putting communication style, and lack of details on how most of his plans were supposed to work anyway.

    Trust me on this. I’ve watched these things long enough to see a lot of stuff, that these sort of analyses either don’t see or just aren’t talking about. The real Bernie Sanders is nothing like his fans and like much of the European media says he is, neither of which have really checked out his longer term record or gone much deeper than his “boilerplate list”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for that insight, Grace. Nice to get an alternative view. Though of the current crop of Dem candidates he would get my vote. If I had one!

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      • One European media simply misses again, and again, and again is this: The United States of America has never for one single day in its history as a country ever been anything but a mixed economy. It never went down the British road of “Laissez-Faire Capitalism” that Britain and much of Europe did. Most of the “Original 13 Colonies” were also mixed economies before they even contemplated wanting independence from Britain. It has been said that the fact the most militant socialist of US history-Mary Harris aka “Mother” Jones was a refugee of The Irish Famine and thus in one sense a refugee of Laissez Faire Capitalism, while the main Prophet of Laissez-Faire Capitalism- Ayn Rand- fled The Soviet Union was no accident.

        Since a lot of European commentators don’t quite recognize that, they tend to misread a lot of what they see. The truth is that support for Laissez-Faire Capitalism in the US despite a lot of misleading terminology, isn’t really higher than it is for a full Soviet Style State Planned Economy. Ask those Native Born Citizens who say they support “Capitalism” if they want the full abolition of public schools (Not in the British sense!!!), privatization of Amtrak and The US Postal Service, end of Social Security, 90% reduction of state funding for transportation, and an end to the Dept. of Education or Dept of Agriculture and less than 5% will say “Yes” to any of those things and less than 0.1% will agree to all of these things.

        European news also makes too much of the fact Sanders calls himself a “socialist”. In reality most of his political positions don’t differ that much from those of a lot of Centrist Democrats. The only difference is that he promises such massive programs on extremely low taxes-with little to say on how that’s going to happen. The issue with that is that it makes him look dishonest. Like a guy who lies to get an unfair advantage over other Democrats (Democrats with better party loyalty) who try to talk of more fleshed out and realistic plans.

        Also in the US the term Socialist is typically reserved for people you would call “Trots”, while most advocates of a liberal mixed economy have called themselves “Progressives”, since about the 1890’s. Some demographics including New York Jews have used the term “Socialist” the way it’s been used in Britain for generations. Most of the other Democrats know he isn’t a “Trot” at all, but see that as just a linguistic convention used in Europe and some parts of the US that they just consider sort of a misnomer. What many in Europe assume is some massive breakthrough-Sanders calling himself a socialist- and also presume is rejected by Democrat “because that’s too far left” is in reality something many Democrats see as an utterly daft and moronic affectation on Sanders part. Of course, that’s an affectation from a notoriously ineffective Congressman.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Is there any candidate for president you do support?

          I’m only curious because I have never met an American who criticizes politicians with talking points from both the Left and the Right at the same time.

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          • At this point I’d be largely content with any of the other current significant contenders for the nomination except Sanders or Buttigieg (my only concern with the latter is relative lack of experience.). Beyond that I just wish there was a little more fresh blood-something Sanders decidedly isn’t.

            Call them talking points of whoever. Mostly they are my assessment of the situation, not about rigid conformity to any pre-packaged ideology.

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            • Just that everyone I know who criticizes Sanders from the left on his foreign policy and support for the MIC, sees through the transparently false smears of Neera Tanden about Sanders effectiveness in elected office. In 2016 and again in 2020.

              How does that critique of Sanders from the left not apply even more so to Bloomberg, Buttigieg, Biden, Warren or Klobucher? An odd contradiction.

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      • Also it seems to me that “party realignment” are profoundly different animals in the US, UK, and Ireland. Despite some significant commonalities and the fact all three countries have -to put it mildly- influenced each other’s destinies in profound ways there are very, very different historical, regional, demographic, and social contexts involved.

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        • Yes there are always particularities – but among commonalities are the changing nature of the working class and their relationship to capital, the delegitimation of neo-liberal globalisation, the entry of the fascist-spectrum into parliaments en mass and the urgency of climate and bio-system breakdown.

          It’s much wider than the Anglophone countries – most European countries suffer/enjoy a similar ‘party realignment’.

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          • I know that there seems to be a “global epidemic of crazy” going on. However to the extent that there is that, can you talk of it as an ordinary political realignment? I’m not sure of that. However the changes in work/labor patterns, neo-liberalism (which used to mean something very, very different than it does now in the 1970’s and 1980’s), and the climate issue may or may not absolutely be driving “the craziness” behind these movement. Some argue there is a sort of “toxic nihilism” involved, and there are a bunch of theories on what is causing that.

            Ireland so far appears to be fairly resistant to “electing the crazy”, but clearly isn’t immune. It could be useful to know why some countries have seemed resistant-so far- and why others have succumbed at least in terms of electoral issues. Or like South Africa (a country that never had modern labor force really) seems to have a “post-madness syndrome” was Zuma was gone.

            My feeling is that direct comparisons between Brexit and Trump are trickier than they seem as first blush. My sense is that the particular context in the US has a lot of “junk” that Britain simply doesn’t share-much of it originating in the Civil War of 1861-1865 (a conflict that both killed more native born Irishmen than all post Famine political conflicts in IReland by possibly 10X or more; and where Britain at the time was at least threatening to intervene with their then only Former Colonies and likely by siding with the Confederacy). Obviously the US in that sense really isn’t just this “land of no historical baggage” that many in Europe assume, nor is it simply “Britain Lite”.

            As for Ireland the fact SF has such direct origins in an active and fairly recent Independence does in my book make it a very, very different critter from most political parties in the English speaking world, and certainly from those in France, Germany etc.

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  3. If you want to see a billionaire get beaten like a pinata for 2 hours, check out last night’s Democratic Primary debate on MSNBC. The opening few minutes were so brutal on Bloomberg he was silent for the next 20.

    The final question was to each candidate, asking if the candidate with the most delegates, even if not a majority, should be the nominee. All but Sanders said yes, after 3 years of declaring Clinton won because she won the popular vote the #VoteBlueNoMatterWho crew foolishly revealed their hypocrisy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, that was brutal. Billionaire meets reality. But, sure, he’ll just throw more cash at the problem. Bloomberg’s not campaigning to be president, he’s engaged in a corporate takeover of the White House. In his head he has yet to hit the magic money number to make it his.

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      • Corporations took over the WH when Carter was elected. Remember he was a DLC creature, just like Clinton and Obama. Kennedy primaried him from the Left for that reason, along with his sycophantic toast to the Shah and his support for the brutal Nicaraguan dictator Somoza. Look at the policies he passed and the economic stats since.

        Bloomberg is toast after last night’s performance, the NDA bit alone has sunk him.

        The last question asking if the candidate with the most delegates going into the convention should be the nominee is going to damage everyone but Sanders, much like the the post-election reportage has increased SF support, while FF/FG fall. Similar dynamic.

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      • I don’t see him getting anywhere. He has a bad reputation with too many major subsets of Democrats. He will get nowhere in primary. Also Trump very likely got in due to his foolish TV show, more than his money.

        Like

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