By Sherrod Brown
U.S. Senator, D-Ohio
Progressives are an impatient bunch. We fight for people who have waited too long already — for health care, for educational opportunity, for jobs to keep them in the middle class.
But for generations, conservatives have appealed to fear to protect the privileged and preserve the status quo — fear of immigrants, fear of diversity, fear of big government. For conservatives in 2010, it’s easy:
Meanwhile, for more than a century — in churches and temples, in union halls and neighborhood centers, in the streets and at the ballot box — progressives have moved the country forward. Progressives brought us minimum wage and Social Security in the 1930s, civil rights and Medicare in the 1960s, and health care and Wall Street reform in 2010.
Opponents of these accomplishments — some of society’s most privileged and well-entrenched interest groups — have not changed much. The John Birch Society of 1965 has bequeathed its fervor and extremism to the Tea Party of 2010.
History tells us that rage on the right should not be confused with populism. The far right attacks government regulation as it feeds Wall Street and the insurance companies. It rails against government spending for the least privileged as it lavishes tax cuts favoring the most privileged.
No one should be surprised over what has happened in the last 18 months:
•We passed health care reform, so the insurance companies are coming after us at election time. (more…)