A must read by Thomas Sugrue in the November 12, 2007 edition of The Nation.
A lot of the background of democratic party politics - super delegates, the McGovern impact, the fractures of '68 being played out today are laid out. And Al Shanker and Richard Kahlenberg on Shanker are part of the structure of today's debates. (It was no accident the book came out last summer and was funded by the likes of Eli Broad and other regressive ed reformers.)
The article also goes a long way towards explaining the philosophical underpinnings of the UFT/AFT and their alliance with the Clintons that goes way back to the early 80's, before Randi Weingarten ever set foot in the UFT.
A choice nugget (amongst many) from Sugrue:
...the new Democratic orthodoxy evoked a wholly fictitious American past. The Democrats needed to turn the clock back to the antediluvian moment--that is, before 1968--and restore the economic opportunity, colorblindness, family values, law and order, and personal responsibility that supposedly reigned before hippies, rioters, anti-American activists and multiculturalists took over.
The man named Albert Shanker did not drop the bomb on liberalism. But he was no small part of a political and intellectual Manhattan Project that exploited the fractures of New Deal and Great Society liberalism and empowered the New Right to rebuild from the rubble.
Kahlenberg pines for a Shankerist political order. If only the Democrats had listened to Shanker. If only they had adopted a "tough liberalism" that jettisoned pesky identity politics for the neat politics of class interest; if only they had embraced meritocracy rather than harmful racial "quotas"; if only they had stood up to the dual menaces of communism abroad and rampant crime at home; if only they had rewarded merit and hard work rather than capitulating to the fashions of multiculturalism and "extreme bilingual education," then they could have thwarted the Republican juggernaut.
The full aticle is at Norms Notes.