Why Obama Blew Off the Liberals

Michael Hirsh has a question: where is Joseph Stiglitz? Well, he's in Brazil or something, but where is he in the Obama administration? The liberal Nobel-winning economist, who will be forever in our hearts for the animosity between him and Larry Summers, was right about basically everything, of course, and the Obama administration hasn't even called him, going with Tim Geithner and Summers instead. Now all the whiny liberals are whining about how there are no liberals in the Obama cabinet!

Frank Rich is a bit curious, wondering why Obama hasn't tapped Stiglitz or Nouriel Roubini. Also, Rich points out that while Rubin, Summers, and Geithner were all caught off-guard by the collapse of the financial sector, a dead blogger predicted it all in 2006. (She wasn't dead, at the time.)

Instead, we get the old "best and the brightest"—the universally respected "serious-minded" establishment types will bring order and good thinking to the crisis, and then they'll get us stuck in Vietnam again.

But there is also the old myth that liberalism should be experimented with only in flush, peaceful times, and not so much when anything in the world is wrong. As self-identified liberal strategist Steve Hildebrand writes at HuffPo:

As a liberal member of our Party, I hope and expect our new president to address those issues that will benefit the vast majority of Americans first and foremost. That's his job. Over time, there will be many, many issues that come before him. But first let's get our economy moving, bring our troops home safely, fix health care, end climate change and restore our place in the world. What a great president Barack Obama will be if he can work with Congress and the American people to make great strides in these very difficult times.

See? Once the recession, the war, global warming, and the health care crisis are all taken care of, Obama will hire some liberals to do some liberal things. Because lord knows there's no way any liberals could do anything about health care.

While liberals are annoying and quite easily ignored without electoral consequences (they're so terrified of the last time they became disenchanted with the Democratics that they won't vote for a third party for at least a generation), there's no denying they have been largely correct about many things, over these past few years.

What has the left wing even more up in arms is the fact that these crises have turned the old liberal-sabotaging moderates into flaming gay-marrying Marxists. The Rubinites running the economy once again are now all suddenly going to partially nationalize banks and spend a fortune on infrastructure while not caring about running up the deficit. Meanwhile the people who predicted the crises these grownups helped create, the people who are also the authors of the ideas now being partially implemented to solve it, are ignored.

(But: Ezra Klein, who is smarter than us, calls Hildebrand's post an attempt to reframe health care and climate change as "moderate" issues and thus make liberal solutions to them palatable as mainstream solutions. Though to do this you need actual liberals running things still, don't you? Well, there's Tom Daschle for the health care thing BUT STILL.)