NBC's David Gregory: The Left is 'Angry' That Obama Hasn't Been More 'Activist'

In an interview with The Economist's John Micklethwait for the web-based Meet the Press feature Press Pass, host David Gregory fretted over the hard left faction of the Democratic Party thinking President Obama has not been liberal enough: "...there are aspects of it that are more progressive, more populist now. And frankly, a bit angry after the Obama years, that it has not been indeed more activist." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]

Gregory complained: "...you know, while the right will, you know, be angry about all these regulations that are burdening business, you have many on the left saying we still don't have adequate accountability for those people who unleashed the financial crisis."

Micklethwait, author of the new book, The Fourth Revolution: The Global Race to Reinvent the State, responded: "I think, overall, if you look at government at the moment, in the end, it is the left actually which has the biggest challenge....And the problems, you can see it in America in terms of things like the teachers unions, you can see it in terms of France in terms of the railway workers' unions, I could go on with a long list of people who are getting in the way of reform."

Micklethwait concluded: "It is a really big need to redefine progressive politics. Progressive politics should be progressive in the sense they're trying to help people up the ladder."


Here is a transcript of the exchange aired May 18 on the local Washington D.C. NBC affiliate WRC-4:

11:41 AM ET

(...)

JOHN MICKLETHWAIT [THE ECONOMIST]: You look at all the other big revolutions, you certainly look at Reagan. You had Milton Friedman and people like that coming up with completely new ideas about government. You don't really see that now, you see a slightly tired Democratic Party and you see a Republican Party which has got some ideas out there but doesn't really seem to get it together.

DAVID GREGORY: Well, and it's interesting, too, because you also have – you described as a tired Democratic Party – in many ways, there are aspects of it that are more progressive, more populist now. And frankly, a bit angry after the Obama years, that it has not been indeed more activist. I mean, you see that over – you know, while the right will, you know, be angry about all these regulations that are burdening business, you have many on the left saying we still don't have adequate accountability for those people who unleashed the financial crisis.

MICKLETHWAIT: I think, overall, if you look at government at the moment, in the end, it is the left actually which has the biggest challenge, whichever way you look at it. Because if you have a state which by definition has to do slightly less just because those demographic pressures, because of that debt, and also because of the opportunity to do things so much better, politicians on the left throughout the world face this basic choice. Do you improve public services? Do you target the poor? Or do you try and protect public sector workers? Because if you're going to make the public sector more efficient, you have got to bring in new ideas from outside.

And the problems, you can see it in America in terms of things like the teachers unions, you can see it in terms of France in terms of the railway workers' unions, I could go on with a long list of people who are getting in the way of reform. But it is a really big need to redefine progressive politics. Progressive politics should be progressive in the sense they're trying to help people up the ladder.

(...)

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC