Wednesday, 23 February 2005

Mirror images

The left half of the blogosphere is rather worked up by some comments from Power Line’s John Hinderacker, quoted as follows (I didn’t bother watching the video, so YMMV) in regards to the “mainstream” of the Democratic Party:

The whole mainstream of the party is engaged in an effort that is a betrayal of America, what they care about is not winning the war on terror…I don’t think they care about the danger to us as Americans or the danger to people in other countries. They care about power.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but isn’t this exactly the same thing we’ve been hearing about the Bush administration and Republicans from the Kos/Moore/MoveOn left for the past four years? That is, when they’re not calling Bush stupid. Goose, gander, and all that. (Update: As if on cue, Greg Wythe—no Deaniac or Sorosite by any stretch of the imagination—demonstrates exactly this sentiment himself saying “the only thing Republicans are consistent about is the quest for power alone.”)

Meanwhile, Jeff Jarvis has the cojones to call out The New York Times and the rest of the media for hyping the blue state-red state myth:

I’ll argue instead that it is big media who have, to use your words, accelerated “a general polarization of the nation into people, right and left….” Who is trading on the notion that we are suddenly a land of red v. blue but big media? Except for the oddities of the electoral college, as you know, our political maps would more accurately show us to be a nation of urban vs. exurban. Or I could be really difficult and contend that the close votes in the last two presidential elections actually indicate that we are getting closer. Big media have made division the key narrative of the age.

Readers are invited to tie together these two disparate thoughts as they see fit. There might even be a lesson in it, somewhere.

(Yglesias puts his post in the “Carter series,” and thus so will I.)


Any views expressed in these comments are solely those of their authors; they do not reflect the views of the authors of Signifying Nothing, unless attributed to one of us.
[Permalink] 1. flaime wrote @ Thu, 24 Feb 2005, 10:09 am CST:

I think it can safely be said that both parties are becoming more authoritarian. The extreme left is leaning towards communism. The extreme right tends towards either theocracy or fascism, depending on their adherence to religious fundamentalism.


In my defense, I live in Texas… a state where the GOP has lived up to the charge that I claim. Of course, I also had a post about John Major’s rant about Tony Blair that had many of the same overtones that you describe. My point from that is this: many of the criticisms lobbed by the out-party towards the in-party tend to reflect more structural issues – at least by those aiming their sights on regaining the majority. There will always be a wingnut fringe of either party that go beyond that pale… and it would be well beyond bold to suggest Liberterians are any different.

In short, I’m not a believer in the polarization of America, but the polarization of elected officials is far more of a reality. Combating that, I’d argue, is a worthwhile fight. Power for the sake of power alone, I’d argue, is not. It’s not voters who are beckoning for redistricting, squashing dissenting voices, or bending every known rule of governance and ethics. That’s elected officials. Making people more aware of that is a virtue, not a vice.

One would think even a liberarian might agree.


Oh, I don’t disagree in the slightest. Having said that, as a political scientist I figured out a while back that the entire purpose of political parties in a democracy is to gain political power through the electoral process (I’m not that smart, read Downs or Aldrich). Indeed, the reason why I’m not a big-L libertarian any more is that you form parties to win elections, which is something the LP is clearly incapable of (and/or uninterested in) doing.

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