The XX Factor

Is Liberal Harmony an Illusion?

It’s more fun to be an opposition bomb-thrower than a palace guard ” was Dana Milbank’s analysis in today’s Washington Post noting the lackluster turnout of the former Take Back America crowd at the America’s Future Now conference this week in D.C. Attendance at the gathering of liberal interest groups dropped to 1,500 from 2,500 last year, during the presidential campaign. The movement advocacy groups and think tanks may suffer a bit from brain drain as many organizers of progressive causes have migrated to the administration. Milbank’s colleague Dan Eggen wrote that Clinton White House Chief of Staff John Podesta, who founded Center for American Progress estimates that “40 staff members from his project are employed in the Obama administration.” The folks who worked against the Bush crowd are having their turn at the top, and despite diminished rallying focus they like how things are headed. Diversity, climate change policy and health-care reform are priorities again.

Conservatives don’t think the harmony will last and can’t resist throwing spitballs while they reorganize their own opposition. Calling his liberal counterparts “competing parasites,” frequently quoted Republican Grover Norquist says the left is experiencing a “false sense of comity.” Noting liberals’ propensity for family feuds, he predicted “the unions will come up against the environmentalists, and the whole thing will start to fall apart.”