The Democratic Study Group that Julian Zelizer, was a coalition of FDR/LBJ Progressive Democrats who gave America the New Deal, Great Society and the civil rights laws of the 1960s. They created public social safety net in America. Safety net being the key here, because it is one thing that makes America very different from lets say Scandinavia economically. Americans don’t expect government to take care of them indefinitely, but to help us when we need it. That is why it’s called a safety net and social insurance. You collect your insurance when you need it. But you don’t use it to pay your bills for the rest of your life unless you are disabled or retired. The Progressives of that era understood that and also didn’t want Americans thinking they could just live off of government indefinitely.
Today’s Progressives are much further left than Progressives at least traditionally have been. They’ve gone from Teddy Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, Lyndon Johnson and Teddy Kennedy, mainstream Progressives, all the way over to the Dennis Kucinich’s, Ralph Nader’s Bernie Sanders and yes Bob Kuttner’s of the world who expect government to take care of people in general. Instead of being there for people when they need economic assistance and empowering people who are down to get up on their own feet. The reason why the Democratic Study Group had real clout in Congress in the 1950s and 60s is because they were mainstream in America and tended to believe in things that Americans tend to believe when it comes to the economy. Social insurance for people who need it, infrastructure and quality education for all. So everyone could live in freedom and not need government to take care of them.
The Democratic Study Group and the old The New Republic have been replaced by the new The New Republic, The Nation, AlterNet, TruthOut, and yes The American Prospect and other Far-Left social democratic publications and political activist groups. Who represent very few Americans because they tend to be on the fringe in America and need their readers and followers to give them financial contributions just to stay in business. Because they have so little in advertising revenue. I know this from personal experience being on the email list of all of these publications to see how far left the Far-Left is today. FDR/LBJ Progressives are still around today. Senator Sherrod Brown might be their best and leading spokesperson in Congress today. But unfortunately they’re being shouted down by MSNBC and those publications that I mentioned earlier.
Reich-Wing Watch: FDR & The New Deal- How Progressive Policies Saved a Nation