Mickey, along with so many young men of his generation, fought and died face down in the mud, in the jungles of the New Republic, trying to kill unions and other pro-Democratic interest groups in the 1990s. And now, does anyone appreciate the sacrifice? Does Mickey get a parade? Of course not; rather, some young kid like Ezra Klein comes along and spits in his face, and tells him it was all for nothing. ~Robert Farley
So, neoliberalism was a political version of the Vietnam War. I have to say that this is actually one of the more appropriate analogies coming out of the recent chatter about Brooks’ lament for neoliberalism’s passing. Following up on the Vietnam connection, watching Kaus run about attacking Ezra Klein and arguing over technical definitions of neoliberalism and making what look to outsiders to be fairly hair-splitting distinctions between DLC New Democrats and Washington Monthly neoliberals is a bit like watching Walter Sochek (John Goodman) from Big Lebowski lecturing the waitress in the diner about the technicalities of the First Amendment and the sacrifice of his buddies in ‘Nam after she has asked him to stop shouting profanities in the middle of a restaurant. Sochek, like Kaus, might be completely right about these technical distinctions and the sacrifice of his fellow soldiers, but twenty years on no one cares and it doesn’t change how obnoxious the entire display is.
Update: Note to Mickey Kaus: When advocating the viability of a political position, do not use phrases such as “Gorbachev-like” and “perestroika-like” to defend your preferred policies. Neoliberalism may or may not have had some important successes (of course, “successes” from a neoliberal perspective may be regarded as failures by progressives for the very reasons the neoliberals regard them as achievements), but Gorbachev was a uniform failure in his express goal of preserving the USSR through reform. If neoliberalism is to the Democratic Party as Gorbachev is to the Soviet Union, Kaus has just handed neoliberalism’s enemies the perfect analogy with which they demolish neoliberalism forever.