At Slate, Barry Friedman and Dahlia Lithwick rhetorically ask those very questions, and have a follow-up asking for ideas. And, then, at Balkinization, Frank Pasquale has charged that they're looking for liberals in all the wrong places.
First, on where Pasquale is all wet.
If Mother Jones is an example of true liberalism, rather than, in general, left neoliberalism of some sort, I'll eat my hat. Kevin Drum has long been a neolib squish as its chief blogger, back to when he was at Washington Monthly, and even before. Chief investigative reporter David Corn has shown an increasing willingness to write Obamiac blank checks on snooping-related issues.
Don't get me wrong, MoJo is further left than Washington Monthly. But that doesn't say a lot. Hell, The Nation, as long as it continues to give short shrift to the Greens, or even Rocky Barker's Justice Party, isn't as left at times as it could be, that's for sure.
And, anything to the right of The Nation is almost guaranteed to have a David Corn stance on Obama's snooping. IOKIYAO.
But, back to that "left neoliberalism." That's who runs the Democratic Party today, overall — a slightly nuanced version of neoliberals. And so, Friedman and Lithwick rightly are concerned that real liberalism isn't on the pages of major newspapers, because it's largely undefended.
Now, the likes of Wendy Davis show that some of their concerns about reproductive choice support may be somewhat overblown. Still, that may not be total.
Pasquale's mention of certain Twitter accounts is interesting. Yes, there are individual bloggers out there fighting for labor rights and other social issues. But, how many of them are inside the Democratic Party, or inside the Party-connected apparatus of think tanks like the Center for American Progress, which has already shown its left neoliberal colors over chained CPI.
And, so, Pasquale's missing the point of Friedman and Lithwick. Sure, there's true liberals "out there." That's the whole problem; they're out there, and outside the circle of today's Democratic Party and its connected policy, public relations and rainmaking apparatus.
Why? As I've said in many ways before, what Friedman and Lithwick are too polite to say: Today's Democratic national leaders have no balls. Or, to repackage Teddy Roosevelt's comment about William McKinley, directed at Obama: "He has all the backbone of a chocolate eclair."
That includes Democratic senators like Ron Wyden who refuse to hold Team Obama officials to account for known lies.
And, if you have ideas for the two of them, email them here.
Mr. Pasquale submitted an excellent one, namely, a massive expansion of the Community Reinvestment Act, beyond home loans, and to far more types of financial organizations than banks.