I thought this piece at the NYT site was interesting, contrasting the two strains of liberalism that compete for control of the Democratic Party these days — personified in two speakers at the convention tonight. An excerpt:
Wednesday, though, begins the hard sell of President Obama to the middle class. And for this task, the campaign has juxtaposed two prime-time speakers — Elizabeth Warren and Bill Clinton, one right after the other — who in their core philosophies represent contradictory, even irreconcilable strains of American liberalism….
Mr. Clinton is the president who made the sustained case to Democrats that they had to be pro-growth and pro-Wall Street, not just to get elected, but also to build a more modern economy. He was the one, as spokesman for the centrist Democratic Leadership Council, who told Democrats again and again that they couldn’t succeed as a party that “loved jobs and hated business.” Mr. Clinton transformed welfare, balanced the budget and declared an end to the liberal era of government, which is why a lot of conservative-leaning independent voters would re-elect him if they could.
As a Harvard law professor during the Bush years, Ms. Warren, who is now a candidate for Senate in Massachusetts, came to represent a rebuke of such Clintonian expedience. Her indictment against the excesses of Wall Street and the abdication of centrist Democrats became popular among a new generation of old-style economic populists (most notably John Edwards and then Mr. Obama), who often cited Ms. Warren’s arguments in making the case that the party had to reverse course from the Clinton years and rein in a business community that was prospering at the expense of the middle class…
Of course, if I had to pick one of them, it would be the Clinton strain. There are things I liked about Bill Clinton, and things I didn’t like. I tended to like him when he was being a Third Way guy, when he seemed to be channeling my main man Tony “New Labour” Blair.