The Corner

Damnable Default Privatism

Todd Gitlin has high hopes for Barack Obama:

Now, thanks to his deft use of the social-network applications of the Web, Obama retains the means for netroots operations, high-octane fund-raising, smear-fighting and get-out-the-vote operations.  His more than 3 million names-disproportionately young and energetic-remain a political force as long as he satisfies them that, once in office, he can deliver.   Roosevelt had radio; Obama has, in addition, both the Web and the stadium.  He can deploy his supporters to muscle reforms through.  He can fill arenas, get supporters to bombard Congress with phone calls to break filibusters, and otherwise stir them to action-to overcome Big Pharma’s obstruction of a new health insurance system, say, or the fossil fuel industry’s objections to cap-and-trade emissions-cutting policies.  He can pit them against the right-wing media who will surely pounce on his every mistake.  He needs to keep them pumped up to resist the default privatism of American life, the cynical inertia, passivity, even paralysis, of the public will. He must “fire up” his big battalions and regularly keep them “fired up” if he is to deliver results.

(Nod to contentions).

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