A member of the “professional left”? Who knew?

My very minor career as a commentator (about 2000 words so far) has led the Maine Heritage Policy Center to designate me a member of the “professional left.”

Now, there’s nothing wrong with being a political professional.  American politics wouldn’t be the same without it.

I have plenty of former students who are political professionals.  They’ve worked for candidates and elected officials who are independents, Republicans and Democrats.  Other students work in public policy or for lobby organizations or non-profits.  They strategize and put out ads and press releases and write speeches and spend their days with people in government and people who are trying to get governmental positions.

 Meanwhile, I won an award for a paper called, “Another Tocquevillean Moment: Alexis de Tocqueville in Communitarian Movements and Political Science” and my next publication in the pipeline is a book chapter called “Public Opinion in the Archives.”  I think both are really cool.

So I really have to wonder what it takes to be a professional in politics.  I mean, can someone like me be a professional, a person who has never held a job in a campaign, lobby organization, policy research center, or non-profit focused on politics or public policy?

 If so, the standards for professionalism certainly seem cockeyed.  Who knew?**


** By the way, I discuss professionalism in my new book, Pollways: Crisis, Cooperation and the Making of Public Opinion Professions and especially recommend the discussion of professionalization in The Rise of the Conservative Legal Movement by Teles.


Amy Fried

About Amy Fried

Amy Fried loves Maine's sense of community and the wonderful mix of culture and outdoor recreation. She loves politics in three ways: as an analytical political scientist, a devoted political junkie and a citizen who believes politics matters for people's lives. Fried is Professor of Political Science at the University of Maine. Her views do not reflect those of her employer or any group to which she belongs.