Beschloss on Wilentz, a comment by Almost Marx

In his essay on Mr. Wilentz, framed by the career of Arthur Schlesinger Jr.,a for rent public intellectual, who reveled in socializing with movers and shakers, and apprenticed himself to JFK, and who became chronicler of The Camelot Crushed mythology, Michael Beschloss produces this puzzling comment:

For instance, Wilentz’s affinity for happy political combat on behalf of left-of-center goals is consonant with the former secretary of state’s presidential announcement speech a year ago this month

Without doubt Mr. Wilentz is a New Democrat i.e. he is a Neo-Liberal just as the Clintons are, so the notion that he pursues ‘left-of-center goals’ is an expression of comic miss-apprehension or myopia, calculated or not.

Then make way for the appearance, in this melodrama, of the ever bellicose Mrs.Clinton: I’m tougher that any man in the room!

In her remarks, delivered at a rally in New York’s Four Freedoms Park, honoring Franklin Roosevelt, she called her program the “Four Fights.”

We have a kind of proof that both Wilentz and Schlesinger are/were Party Loyalists: not to the New Deal Tradition, but to the Democratic Party remade in the image of Reagan i.e. the New Democrats. A demonstration of the political propinquity of Wilentz and Schlesinger, or proof that in Isaiah Berlin’s conformist term they were clubable. ( Note that it was a term in the masculine almost exclusively, except for Schlesinger’s close friend Marietta Peabody Tree)

Both Wilentz and Schlesinger testified before Congress in Clinton’s defense during the House Judiciary Committee’s impeachment hearings in 1998.

There is more from Wilentz, as narrated by Beschloss, which demonstrates the wilful distortion of history by Wilentz. Disregard : Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act,Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act, Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act and the end of Aid to Families with Dependent Children. Mr. Wilentz qualifies as a certifiable apologist for the Reaganite policies of the New Democrats. Mr. and Mrs. Clinton were the political enactors of what Reagan could not do: begin to dismantle the Welfare State and the political institutions constructed by the New Deal, rationalized by this self -exculpatory Neo-Liberal apologetic,  “reverse the trend toward inequality, overseeing dramatic decreases in unemployment and increases in real wages.” 

Then, with Ronald Reagan, came what Wilentz describes as the most powerful “demonization” of government since Reconstruction, accompanied by a large increase in the income accruing to the haves at the top of American society. He credits Bill Clinton with being “able to outfox” the “increasingly radical” Republicans in Congress during the mid-1990s by using those powers available to a president to “reverse the trend toward inequality, overseeing dramatic decreases in unemployment and increases in real wages.”

Almost Marx

About stephenkmacksd

Rootless cosmopolitan,down at heels intellectual;would be writer. 'Polemic is a discourse of conflict, whose effect depends on a delicate balance between the requirements of truth and the enticements of anger, the duty to argue and the zest to inflame. Its rhetoric allows, even enforces, a certain figurative licence. Like epitaphs in Johnson’s adage, it is not under oath.'
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