For those precious few of you who have any tolerance for further discussion of the events at Netroots Nation, Matt Bruenig has a couple of interesting posts. His first concerns Bernie Saunders’ actual positions, and his second covers the general phenomenon of what he terms “communicative performance leftism”:
But, you see, there is a pretty obvious problem with this brand of gesture-focused leftism that clever people can easily exploit. The problem is that talk is cheap and anyone who cares enough can just mirror the gestures you want them to make (thus flattering these strange politics) while doing whatever the hell they want when it comes to actual substance. It’s trivially easy to say what people want to hear while doing the exact opposite.
He has a great example of the genre by the moderator at Netroots.
Maybe I’m showing my brown privilege, but this protest reminds me of transgender advocates glittering Dan Savage a few years ago. Savage had some issues with the transgender community (read that piece to get his explanation of his evolution on the subject), but he’s generally had a good record on transgender rights. Bernie has a generally good record on the issues that the protesters at NRN care about. The question is whether it advances a cause to disrupt a talk by someone who’s basically on your side.