Wednesday, August 16, 2006

When "Moderate" became "Radical"

Let me start off with a few disclaimers.

First, as always, this is my opinion and not that of any one else, OR FOR THAT MATTER, it isn't Official Party Doctrine.

Second, again as always, the purpose of the post is to stimulate discussion and those of you who regularly read this blog are invited to put your shyness away and jump into the discussion. This disucssion, I think, is more important than many we've had before.

The Internet has been a god-send to me and many of my like-minded friends. It has been (and hopefully will remain) an outlet for the frustrations and outright rage many of us have felt since that fateful day. No! Not September 11, 2001. December 12, 2000! In case you've forgotten, that was the day that the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in a "one-time only", "not for future use as a precedent" statement that continuing the counting of votes in the State of Florida for the Presidency of the United States, would "violate the 14th Amendment Rights of George W. Bush" (nobody asked about, or even questioned the 14th Amendment rights of another guy....Al Gore of Tennessee) The rage started then but never erupted on the surface, instead, it simmered quietly below the surface. After all, that was the "responsible" thing to do wasn't it? I mean "taking it to the streets" was too radical...besides, there was Christmas shopping to do...(sic)

There were others who were, at first timidly, making noises of dissatisfaction on the web. One of the precursors to blogs as we know them today was the so-called Message boards or chat rooms that had begun to spring up on the web. I participated in a few of them which were under the sponsorship of two Television Networks : MSNBC and CNN. They were real free-for alls because there were all different views on the boards and there were irresponsible "spammers", disruptors and Agents provocateur' on the boards. I went there because it was an outlet...and I tried to be:


whenever I was on those boards. But my opponents were rarely any of the things above. It was "in-your-face", take-no-prisoners, no-holds-barred time for the victors. The "boards" were soon taken down by each of the news agencies.

I put away my "radical" persona when I left college and entered the military. I worked in mainstream politics for many years where it was career suicide to be thought of as radical in any sense. I became a card-carrying, tan-slacks-and-blue-blazer-wearing moderate. But something was still troubling me, and, guess what? I wasn't alone. Take a peek at this quote from Digby today:

Read the whole post here.

Those of moderate political temperament are naturally resistent to the rather radical belief that politics have become an ugly, bare knuckle battle in which winning is defined as stopping the other side cold --- or winning elections and passing legislation through brute partisan force if necessary


It took me a little while to recognize what was happening too. I was a Clintonite who was willing to see if the third way could work. But I've got a strong streak of anti-authoritarianism in me that viscerally recoiled at the conservative movement's partisan misuse of the congress and the legal system during that era. Perhaps because I grew up in a rightwing household I understood that the bipartisan rules we had all assumed were a permanent fixture in American politics were no longer operative. By 2000, I was thoroughly radicalized and believed that Democrats had to play a different, more disciplined, brand of politics even if it meant losing in the short term (which, after 9/11, I figured would happen anyway.)It was clear to me that third way politics had no future once the Republicans had a taste of power and revealed themselves.

So I wasn't alone.

And now, something quit remarkable has happened. The so-called moderate voices of the Democratic party have been repudiated by Democratic Voters in Connecticutt. shorthand: Ned Lamont beat Joe Lieberman. Atrios has a succinct explanation for just WHY that happend. Again, Atrios through Digby:


The politics side has to do with a Democratic party in which all the leading Democrats are forever running against their own party. Triangulation can work for one man, but when every leading Democrat is constantly falling all over themselves (yes, this is exaggeration) to distance themselves from Those Damn Dirty Democrats, you have a party which is without foundation and where capitulation is confused with bipartisanship.

end snip

The new message is based on two words: CONTRAST AND CONFRONTATION

Our moderation and calls for restraint have lost us elections since 1994 (except for Clinton's re-election) and the use of "Triangulation" as a political tool has outgrown its usefulness.

Again, Digby sums it up better:


But because of this recent shift among Dem moderates, I think there's some hope that the Independents and moderate Republicans who are appalled at the results of total Republican rule may also see that the Democrats are getting their act together and are willing and able to confront the Republicans and change course. I believe our biggest problem among those people has not been the hippie boogeyman (which nobody under 50 really gets anyway) but rather the idea that Democrats don't stand for anything and are ineffectual against the Republicans.

People won't vote for you if they feel that it's pointless. Going with the confident winners and hoping they will learn from experience is a better bet. No matter how upsetting the current political situation may seem or how unpopular the Republicans are, if people feel that it will make no difference they won't bother to vote. A strong, united Democratic party can change that. I think we might be getting there.

It's worth thinking about......let's talk about it.


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