Here are a couple of excerpts, but the whole piece is a must read on the the intellectual devolution of the progressive left from the once imposing thinkers like Charles Beard and John Dewey to Kos and Move On.org.
Twice during the past half century, the Democratic party has faced a challenge from its left wing. In the late 1960s, it was the mass movement of the New Left that rose up to defy the party's liberal-progressive core. Following a contest of ideas and of wills, the liberal center collapsed and briefly yielded control to its radical critics. The struggle today is strikingly different in tone, with the party's mainstream being bullied by a network of techno-thugs, spearheaded by MoveOn.org. Nothing remotely resembling an idea or a sustained argument has surfaced in this conflict, and there is no danger that one ever will.
Today, the Democratic party mainstream has its values, its instincts, and, as usual, more than its share of 10-point programs. It even has its "isms," represented by its leading troika: the pragmatism of Hillary Clinton, the idealism of Barack Obama, and the populism of John Edwards. Yet its intellectual reservoir has shown itself to be lacking in depth and confidence. Today's Democratic mainstream is no more willing or able to stand up to the party's present leftist insurgency than the older mainstream was to stand up to the New Left. The tenor of the current left is best captured by something Lionel Trilling said in 1949 about conservatives: They do not "express themselves in ideas but only in action or in irritable mental gestures which seek to resemble ideas."