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The Fight for American Liberalism from Roosevelt to Obama

Hour 1:           How can an American political movement be both incredibly successful and publicly reviled at the same time? We’ll talk this hour with Eric Alterman, Distinguished Professor of English and Journalism at Brooklyn College and CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, columnist for The Nation, Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress, the Nation Institute and the World Policy Institute, and co-author of “The Cause: The Fight for American Liberalism from Franklin Roosevelt to Barack Obama” (Viking Adult, 2012).

  • Dbb25

    Caught the first part of this episode today in the car on the way to lunch. Disappointed to hear Mr. Alterman make the case that “The American public’s fear of liberalism is a product of the new right wing media created after the loss of Barry Goldwater to Lydon Johnson, and that if Americans just understood what liberalism really stood for, they’d support it.”

    Kris mentioned early on in the program that when the average americans are asked about specific aspects of the liberal agenda, they generally support it, and asked “why is that?” For me, the answer is simple, a majority of americans agree on the “what” but not the “how.” For example, a majority would agree every American should have access to high quality, affordable healthcare (example used on the program by the author), but liberals generally believe the “how” to provide that healthcare is through a single payer central government system; conservatives would generally believe the “how” should be through interstate competition between private healthcare insurers and the application of free market pricinciples, with a taxpayer subsidy for the most vulnerable / unable to pay in society.

    The author made the case that we spend 20% of our healthcare dollars on administration because we DON’T have a single payer system like much of Europe, one in which European countries are rapidly evolving due to the cost of their social safety nets.

    It would seem the author presents another case of “You just don’t get liberals, and if you did, you’d know liberalism is what’s best for humanity” :(

    David in Richardson

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