Monday, June 30, 2008

Alterman on Obama

Listen to Boromir talk about all the good he would do for Gondor if only he could have the ring of power!

"If you want to be effective in this country, you have to operate from within the consensus." Alterman does not elaborate on whose views make "the consensus," but what he is talking about is elite consensus, not popular consensus.

Elite consensus on Israel, for example, has been to back its most reactionary elements, whereas popular consensus (in the US but also worldwide) has favored a negotiated two-state settlement with the Palestinians. But since popular concerns do not count, our elected leaders must "get things done" by deftly balancing the demands of various elite groups.

Suggesting that democracy might be a welcome ALTERnative to one or another group "doing some good" on everybody else is nothing more than a romantic recipe for electoral loss. That may be true, but how much do we gain by winning, and is it enough?