I know and respect E.J. Dionne, but I'm afraid I have to get out a heaping dump truck full of ridicule for his whining about the "agony of the moderate left." Yeah, times can be difficult for these politicians. After all, when their half measures fail to produce results for those who they claim to represent, they get voted out of office and then are stuck earning multi-million dollar salaries in the private sector or doing six-figure speaking gigs for Wall Street banks.
This compares to life for the more actual left who actually have a far better track record in doing things like recognizing housing bubbles that will sink the economy and knowing that cheap stimulus is inadequate to fuel recovery from a severe recession. There are few people with big bucks who are anxious to have such views promulgated, which means you don't often hear them in places like The Washington Post.
Anyhow, the only reasonable response to E.J. Dionne is "life is tough."