Yesterday Kevin Drum agreed with Brad DeLong and I disagreed with both of them (see immediately below). I accused Brad of allowing political considerations to affect his consideration of what would be an optimal policy.
Brad writes "let's let Barbara Ehrenreich speak for herself, in her command to all correctly-thinking people to vote for Ralph Nader that she made four years ago" [article by Ehrenrich copied in full by Brad, who never quotes out of context, because he has no clue how slowly normal people read] "If you want other examples of Ehrenreich's "left-wing" politics as an infantile disorder, I can provide them."
I agree. The quoted article demonstrates that Ehrenreich is guilty of objectively pro-Bush left deviationism. By the way, how many people noted that Brad was paraphrasing Lenin's critique of Bukharin and, I think, Radek, or am I confused ?
Ehrenreich has polemics and persuasion in abundance, but without good policy this simply produces a mess.
In other words, like it or not, they need each other. Exhorting us to do better, even if not always in sensible ways, is a valuable service.
Well yes, in the abstract, but exhorting us to vote for Nader on the grounds that Gore is just about as bad as Bush was not so valuable a service. Still Drum's argument is not that we should follow Ehrenreich but that it is a good thing that she has a NYT Op-Ed collumn. First in true mugwump fashion he argues that, in a healthy national debate, the views of the left should be heard. I add that to me mugwump is high praise. Second (as in the quote) he says that Ehrenreich's specific proposals (fire your nanny and vote for Gore) can be ignored while the inspiration (or guilt) that she gives us moves us to sensible action. Third he notes that she is subbing for Alan Friedman.
The last is a clincher but I want to argue that she would be useful, even if she were substituting,say, Brad of Kevin Drum.
The reason is that lefties make liberals look moderate. Where would Bush be without the openly lunatic fringe of the Republican party which made his barely hidden lunacy look like moderation ? I think Ehrenreich is useful not because she inspires but because she makes, say, Krugman look like the pro-market pro-globalisation apoligist for international capitalism that he is.
Now I strongly suspect that Brad understands this perfectly and is dumping on Ehrenreich partly to renew his lapsed membership in the club of reasonable people who reason together.
But Brad, if you are going to present yourself as a moderate (which you are) why are you quoting Lenin ?