Would You Trust This Man With Your Party?

By Justin Gardner | Related entries in General Politics, Partisan Hacks

I don’t, and if you watch this clip, you’ll understand why. Zealots don’t build consensus. They only push people further apart.

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times: Daily Kos and blogs like it do NOT represent mainstream liberal/progressive ideology. And if you’ve watched the clip I linked to, I think it’s pretty obvious exactly why. Their brand of “liberalism” is just a reaction to the right-wing noise machine, and therefore has a fatal flaw. Because counteracting invective with invective ultimately proves lethal to your credibility in the eyes of the moderate majority.

And sure, sites like Daily Kos are great for rallying the far-left base. There’s no doubt about that, and I’ve certainly fallen into that trap. But many horses they’ve backed have come up on the losing end. Why? Because the far-left base are few, while the moderate majority are many. Also, most voters in this country don’t respond to name calling and the mud slinging. In fact, they’re sick of it. From elephants to donkeys, we hate it. Done, done, done.

I ask you, if you care about honesty, to join sites like Donklephant and champion moderate politics. Some think ours is a weak world, but I think it’s the most passionate stance one can have. Because centrism defies party lines in favor of the best ideas. And it takes facts and a strong, well-reasoned opinion to buck party lines.

The middle is where I want to be.

How about you?


This entry was posted on Wednesday, March 29th, 2006 and is filed under General Politics, Partisan Hacks. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

67 Responses to “Would You Trust This Man With Your Party?”

  1. Blue Neponset Says:

    How about you?

    I would rather pick a side then be neutral.

    It would be nice if we could have reaoned debate and find the best solutions to our problems but that isn’t how things are. If you want power you have to compete for it, and if you don’t have a dog in the fight you won’t win it.

    Say what you want about Markos, but he and others like him have given the netroots a voice that was easily ignored not too long ago.

  2. GN Says:

    In the middle, for sure, drifting left or right depending on the issue. I am not at all sure, though, that the evidence bears out the following:

    (the far-left base are few, while the moderate majority are many. Also, most voters in this country don’t respond to name calling and the mud slinging.)

    The last two elections were perhaps the prolific mud-slinging campaigns that I can remember. Both Dem/ Rep machines had dirty shoes … no, wait … they had to wear waders … right, they had dirty waders. AND, the election went to the party who screamed the loudest,
    condescended the most, and ran the most “in your face” PR program.

    It could have easily gone the other way if the other side was a little more attune to the laziness of the average voter. The average “voter” gets most of their information from the tube. The “tube” disseminates the information in accordance with the promo dollars.

    I am not saying that voters are stupid … just guided …. and do not do much in terms of pesonal research. Those who do perform research often are performing biased research in order to support a postion they have already taken. That is why “middle ground” is so difficult to maintain. That seems to be the challenge of Centrism … to find the tools that will invite people to think for themselves. Blogs are one tool for that and it is recognised by both the left and the right, which is why you are seeing so much gang-banging on the sphere.

    All is not lost because events the last (6) years have made people start to say “WTF” a little more often. It really doesn’t matter which side that you [were, are, or will] be on, all sides are beginning to question. That, in itself, will drive the voters toward the middle(hopefully).

    Another challenge for the Centrists is to understand, with clarity, the relative positions of left and right thinkers. Just because someone with right leanings believes we should take miltary action on a certain issue …. does not make them warmongers (as history has proven that sometimes what looks like warmongering is pragmatism) … and it doesn’t mean that someone who has left leanings believes we should be more cautionary on a particular issue … is necessarily an unpatriotic supporter of our perceived enemies (history has proven that sometimes a softer, considered approach is pragmitism)

    Our biases cause us to label (I ask you, if you care about honesty, to join sites like Donklephant and champion moderate politics.) and perhaps that invitation to engage is an example.

    What I see lacking … on the left … on the right ….. and perhaps most of all … in the middle …. is humility. The very core of being in the middle suggests that one has the intelligence to veer left or right as circumstance and conditions dictate. You can be right leaning and be honest … same with left leaning …. but we cannot invite those with bias to defy their party, and we cannot “show them” how to buck their party … but I do believe we can invite them to cross the party line and have some reasoned, intelligent exchange of ideas. Justin, to be clear, I am 100% in line with the thought behind the cause you are posing, just questionable about the thoughtfullness of the approach. We are inviting biased folks to a forum (which has it’s own frustrated bias) and we need to express desire for discourse that doesn’t feel like conversion from at the treshold.

  3. Jimmy the Dhimmi Says:

    If one guy says “2+2=4″, and another guy says “No! 2+2=6,” you can’t always say “I believe in being a centerist so 2+2=5″ and think you have the best answer. Searching for middle ground on contested issues, rather than searching for the morally right position, is a cop-out.

  4. Justin Gardner Says:

    If one guy says “2+2=4″, and another guy says “No! 2+2=6,â€Â? you can’t always say “I believe in being a centerist so 2+2=5′

    The point of centrism is to not find an ALTERNATIVE view. Sometimes you’re going to side with Dems. Sometimes Republicans. Think Clinton’s last four years. He adopted several Republican stances and reached across the aisle.

    And yes, it is about finding what you think is the morally right position instead of simply toeing the party line. That’s the point and I thought that was clear from the post.

  5. Paul Silver Says:

    For me politics is not black or white. Watching the Senate Judiciary Committee markup of the immigration law is a great example of cooperation, collaboration and statesmanship. We need more legislators who are committed to a non-partisan process.

  6. GN Says:

    Justin
    It was very clear from the post. This is a perfect example of the point I was attempting to raise (not very articulate) in my response.

    Jimmy,
    2+2=4 … left thinker (1+1)+2=4 … right thinker 2+(1+1)=4
    Centrist (1+1) +(1+1) ==4 or any variation there of
    Hence, talking points.

  7. Justin Gardner Says:

    We need more legislators who are committed to a non-partisan process.

    Agreed.

  8. M.A. Says:

    How is Kos, a former Reagan Republican, a member of the “far-left base?” Can you name a single policy position he advocates that is “far-left?”

    While I don’t always agree with Moulitsas, he is in every possible way a political moderate. He is against the Iraq war but for the war in Afghanistan; advocates that the Democratic party should be less-beholden to single-issue interest groups; supports politicians like pro-gun, budget-balancing Howard Dean and pro-gun, pro-life Harry Reid.

    Even Peter Beinart admitted recently that the Daily Kos and most of its contributors are not far-left. They are angry at what Bush and the Republicans have done to the country, but on every relevant policy position they are moderates. The only thing immoderate about them is some of their rhetoric — but it pales in comparison to the angry, vicious rhetoric “Mainstream” Republicans use every day.

    So spare me the talk of “far left” vs. “moderate majority.” The prominent liberal bloggers, like Kos, Duncan Black, Josh Marshall, Matt Yglesias, John Aravosis, etc. are all part of that moderate majority.

    Yes, they want to rally the base — but the Democratic base is basically moderate, as seen by the way it rallied around policy moderates like Bill Clinton and Howard Dean. And good for them for wanting to rally the base. The Democratic base is large, and it was not motivated to come out to vote in 2002 because the Democrats refused to take a stand against the absurd, immoderate idea of going to war in Iraq. The idea that Democrats win by looking for conservative voters is ludicrous; they must appeal to the moderate base as represented by “angry moderates” like the Kossacks.

  9. Monica Says:

    I’m with you Justin – I prefer the battle of ideas over party partisanship ANYDAY.

  10. kreiz Says:

    I’m standing behind you in the queue, Monica. As for M.A.’s comment, I hope we don’t get lost in the “what is a moderate?” conversation. Suffice to say that if the Deaniacs and Kossacks represent the mythical middle, then reality’s going to set in- the Dems will become a permanent minority party.

  11. Brian in MA Says:

    The domocratic base is moderate?

    Then why are all the persons they elect far-left liberals?

    Why do they relentlessly support Mother Sheehan (last seen posing on her son’s grave or getting arrested)?

    Donklephant is Moderate. The Daily Kos can’t go a day without pointless invective against the right and blind support for the most liberal candidate available.

    Harry Reid Moderate? What, just because he recognizes the existence of the second amendment and doesn’t feel like crushing human beings (oh sorry, products of conception) for sport is justified, he’s suddenly moderate? Yeah right.

  12. M.A. Says:

    Please name a single policy that the Deaniacs and Kossacks advocate that is not “moderate.” Name one. Just one.

    For one thing, they don’t always agree on policies. For another thing, the one thing they do agree on — opposition to the Iraq war — is a moderate belief. (It is not and never was “far-left” to oppose an unprovoked invasion and occupation of a country.)

    If you think Harry Reid and Howard Dean are leftists, than what the hell is a moderate? James Dobson? Pat Robertson?

  13. kreiz Says:

    I’ve noticed, Brian, that it’s very common approach for people to argue that the politics of, say, Ted Kennedy, can’t be defined because he takes a moderate stance on a single issue. This always amazes me. Is Pat Buchannan suddenly a moderate because he opposes the war in Iraq? I think not.

  14. Kevin Says:

    Count me in for the middle. I’ve avoided the Daily Kos and other sites/blogs of its ilk, not necessarily because of the articles written, but because of the comments. On far left or far right Blogs, there seems to be a lot of knee jerk response and no room for actual debate or even thought on the issues. I haven’t found that here or in other moderate blogs.

    As for picking a side being better than neutral, we aren’t fighting World War 2 and Moderate does not equal neutral. Neither the Democrats nor the Republicans have a monopoly on rightness (or wrongness) so to automatically support one group or one set of ideas and oppose the other seems incredibly foolish.

  15. M.A. Says:

    Kreiz – Ted Kennedy is a liberal, of course. But that’s the thing: many of the Kossacks are, in policy terms, way to the right of Ted Kennedy. Certainly Howard Dean is to the right of Ted Kennedy. To the right of liberalism, but to the left of conservatism: that’s what I consider a moderate or centrist.

  16. jimf Says:

    I agree…but it is very difficult to find a reasonable moderate candidate…I would vote for Joseph Lieberman or John McCain, although both take some positions with which I do not agree… but most democratic candidates pander more to the extremists with whom I cannot find common ground…so I will err on the right center.

  17. rob Says:

    if you think McCain in a moderate you have not been paying attention.

  18. Lyle Says:

    Sigh. Truthfully, whenever I see a self-declared “moderate” throwing labels at people they don’t like without ever bothering to give some explanation to their name-calling, they end up sounding just as loud and shrill as Sean Hannity or Janeane Garafolo.

    At least use more than the basic labels when you’re name calling. I may roll my eyes when someone insists on calling Rick Santorum “Senator Man-on-dog” but it quickly traces back to a specific position that tells me (what I presume is) the writer’s biggest beef with the guy. I’d still prefer the writer just get onto talking about their current beef with the guy, but at least that kind of name calling still tells me something beyond a generic label that’s supposed to invoke some knee-jerk dislike.

  19. M.A. Says:

    Jimf, I’m really baffled as to how you can think the Democrats pander to extremists more than Republicans do. Republicans pander to Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, James Dobson, Grover Norquist (who wants to end all taxation and basically destroy the federal government) and Jack Abramoff. Who do the Democrats pander to who can compare to these people in terms of extremism? Planned Parenthood, with their dastardly plots to distribute condoms and thereby reduce abortion rates? The ACLU, with its evil support of the first amendment? Does this compare to people who want the U.S. to be run as a Christian theocracy?

    My favorite example of this is the Michael Moore example. Yes, Jimmy Carter let Michael Moore sit in his box. Michael Moore makes movies where he says bad things about a) Politicians and b) Wealthy businessmen. But Rush Limbaugh every day says unspeakably vile things not only about Democratic politicians, but about “liberals” as a group — in other words, Limbaugh and his ilk encourage his listeners to hate their relatives and neighbors just for being liberal. And do the Republicans distance themselves from this eliminationist talk? Nope. Dick Cheney appears on Limbaugh’s show, for God’s sake, even though Limbaugh is far more extreme than Michael Moore could ever hope to be (when Michael Moore encourages people to hate “conservatives,” rather than just politicians, then we’ll talk).

    So the Democrats are clearly a more moderate, less extremist party than the Republicans.

  20. Alan Stewart Carl Says:

    Daily Kos and their ilk are not far left. It is true. But they are to the far left of the mainstream. In America, we are fortunate that the true crazies really are far outside the system.

    But it is wrong to call Daily Kos moderate just because their specific policy choices are not extreme. They are leftists because their world-view is based around a knee-jerk distrust of power and a knee-jerk sympathy for those without power. They see America, Christianity, big business, the rich and other powerful insitutitions and groups as inherrently corrupt, weilding power in devious, distructive ways and gaining pleasure out of other people’s oppression. But they see minorities, Palestinians, the poor, the third-world, homosexuals and all those without power as inherrently noble, their shortcomings and misdeeds just symptoms of their oppression.

    That’s over-generalized. I realize. But Kos or others of that ilk have just as narrow a view of the world as do similarly immoderate groups on the right. That’s why they are so unable to compromise, not because their positions on issues are ridiculously extreme but because their worldview is narrow. That’s also why they are so angry–they see their world view as obvious and assume anyone who doesn’t agree is either an idiot or dangerously manipulative.

    No, Kos is not moderate. Not at all.

  21. Alan Stewart Carl Says:

    I’d like to add that my problem is that BOTH parties pander to their far flanks. I really don’t know if you can say one party is more moderate than the other. They both embrace their immoderates and it really just depends which side you’re on as to which party you think is more extreme. Michael Moore may not bash conservatives as a group in the way Limbaugh bashes liberals, but, then again, Moore has a streak of anti-Americanism in him that leaves a lot of people feeling ill.

    I wish both parties would stop “mobilizing the base” and start handling issue in much more productive ways.

  22. M.A. Says:

    Alan, you’re going to have to back up your statement that they see those groups as “inherently corrupt.” I don’t see it. As for hating America, the angry moderates celebrate America for its liberal traditions, which the people currently in power seek to deny and betray. And as for Christianity, there are many posts on the angry-moderate blogs in support of liberal Christians and the “religious left” — for example, the United Church of Christ’s ads (which the networks won’t show for fear of offending the religious right) or the Catholic Church’s organization of opposition to the GOP’s immigration policies. They are very pro-religion unless you assume, as the mainstream media does, that “Christian” is synonymous with “right-wing Christian.”

    No, you are using a straw man that has nothing to do with what these people actually believe.

  23. kreiz Says:

    Here’s my theory for the day. If you’re so bound up in your beliefs that you see Kos or Michael Moore as middle of the road, you’re probably a leftist. If you see Santorum as a moderate, you’re probably a righty. If you can see the truth of these statements and it drives you mad, you belong on Donklephant.

  24. M.A. Says:

    Kreiz – Kos is middle of the road. Michael Moore is left-wing. If you can’t see the difference between them, then you clearly pay no attention to policy positions or beliefs and base every label on gut reactions and emotions.

  25. Monica Says:

    M.A. –

    I can clearly see that you’re convinced that the Democrats are less extreme/radical than the Republicans. Not all of us share your view. Some of us believe that both are extreme and radical about different topics.

  26. Monica Says:

    Wasn’t it Kos the one that said “screw them” in reference to the 4 americans who were slaughtered in Iraq? That does not seem like a moderate view to me and I’m deeply offended by it.

  27. kreiz Says:

    I have to admit, M.A., that I rarely read Kos. So it’s entirely possible that you’re correct that I’m undiscerning on Kos-related issues. But I am familiar with political extremes, right and left. The American Conservative Union (ACU) rates Congress based upon votes. Sen. Olympia Snowe has a 51% lifetime vote. Sen. Lieberman has an ACU rating of 17% lifetime, meaning that 83% of the time, he votes liberal. From what I understand of Kos and many other liberal bloggers, they deride Lieberman as a Republican. That tells me something about where they stand politically. It hardly makes them moderates.

    One more thing. Just because Kos skews left means just that- it doesn’t mean that Kos is wrong. It just means its immoderate.

  28. kreiz Says:

    Nice recall, Monica. I forgot about the 4 dead Americans in Iraq.

  29. Alan Stewart Carl Says:

    M.A., please do not casually toss aside my argument with the trite and overused “straw man” line.

    You can pick and choose specific examples of when someone at Kos said this or that, but the sum of what is written there is decidedly on the left end of mainstream because most readers/writers there subscribe to the world view I described above. As I said in the previous comment, my summation is a bit of a generalization but the point is valid.

    And did I say anything about hating America? I don’t believe Kos or Michael Moore or any of that contigent hates America. But I do think they tend to blame America for too much of the world’s problems.

    Disagree if you wish but your scale seems off to me and, I would bet, most other Americans. If Kos is moderate then what is Donklephant? Right? And if Donklephant is right, is Red State fascist?

    Of course, now that I think about it, the writers at Donklephant are often right. ; )

  30. SilverSeraphim Says:

    Frankly, if you go on a national new broadcast, and say “Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy” with a straight face…you’re not a moderate.

  31. M.A. Says:

    Kreiz – I checked what Kos wrote about Lieberman and he actually considers Lieberman a “solid progressive on many issues.”

    The reason the Kossacks hate Lieberman is twofold: a) He is on the wrong side of the issue that matters most to them, the Iraq war, and b) He frequently derides and belittles his own party as soft on war and terrorism, which plays into Republican stereotypes. It has very little to do with wanting him to be more left-wing.

  32. kreiz Says:

    So apparently I’m missing the Kos/Kossack dichotomy. It’s rare, but not impossible, that his faithful following are more immoderate than he is. So let me ask you- do you think that Lieberman is generally a liberal? A progressive?

  33. Monica Says:

    M.A. -

    I see very little evidence that the Democrats are strong on the war and terrorism. Please point me towards some documentation that would prove to me otherwise. From what I’ve seen the Democrats who are not anti-war are treated like traitors to their party.

    I simply cannot reconcile what you’re telling me and what I’ve seen. I’m willing to be proven wrong – actually I would gladly accept it. I would frolick around my house in glee if I thought the Democrat party was what you claim. So, please, please, please show me where the Democrat party is strong on the war and terrorism.

    Thanks

  34. Monica Says:

    crud – should be frolic, not frolick

  35. M.A. Says:

    I see very little evidence that the Democrats are strong on the war and terrorism. Please point me towards some documentation that would prove to me otherwise.

    Today’s “Real Security” document is a start.

    But the thing is, I’m not sure we’re even on the same page when it comes to what is “strong on the war and terrorism.” For example, Iraq. The war in Iraq was not in America’s interests and is making America less safe every day. Therefore supporting the infinite continuation of that war, the way Bush and Lieberman do, is being weak on national security — therefore, Bush and Lieberman are weak on national security. Because Bush ignored the hunt for Bin Laden and focused on Iraq instead, Bush is weak on terrorism. Because Republicans have ignored port-security and chemical-plant-security proposals offered by Democrats, the Republicans are weak when it comes to guarding against terrorism.

    If you define “strength” as “supporting a disastrous war,” then the Democrats can never be as strong as the Republicans. By any other definition, the Republicans are a disaster on national security.

  36. rob Says:

    I see very little evidence that the Democrats are strong on the war and terrorism. Please point me towards some documentation that would prove to me otherwise. From what I’ve seen the Democrats who are not anti-war are treated like traitors to their party.

    Attacking Iraq was being soft on terrorism. I think it is pretty obvious by now that attacking a secular country that did not have Al Queda ties was not helpful against the war on terrorism (not terror) and has made us as a nation LESS safe.

    GW was simply not up to the task. This fight is going to go on a long time, and going to war just inflamed it. If he had any dimplomatic skills he would have gotten a colalition together, and had Arab countries on the ground, not us.

    I is unfathomable that you see impotent chest thumping as strong. The world is a little more complicated than that. You need a leader that is can think things through and take advice.

  37. Tom Strong Says:

    Can I suggest a distinction here?

    Moderate: Gentle in tone, open to compromises (particularly “third way” compromises), tempered.

    Centrist: Possessing views that represent “the middle majority”.

    They’re related, but they’re not the same. By this definition, Kos is certainly not a moderate – but it’s not impossible that he’s a centrist, at least on Iraq and a few other issues. He’s just mad, as are many who identify with him.

    It’s easy to confuse centrists and moderates, but we shouldn’t. And in my opinion, if “centrists” want to be more effective politically, they need to get mad.

  38. Monica Says:

    MA & rob -

    IMHO – the debate about going into Iraq is over. WE ARE THERE NOW. Do you believe it is in our & the Iraqi’s people’s best interest that we leave?

  39. M.A. Says:

    IMHO – the debate about going into Iraq is over. WE ARE THERE NOW. Do you believe it is in our & the Iraqi’s people’s best interest that we leave?

    Two things:

    1. The debate about going into Iraq is not over, because it provides a framework for understanding future mistakes. Bush should not be allowed to get away with making the same mistakes over, say, Iran that he made over Iraq — and unless the debate over Iraq continues, the same mistakes will continue to be made.

    2. Unfortunately, yes, it is in our and the Iraqi people’s best interest that we leave. There are no good options in Iraq, but our presence there is making the situation worse. If we go, there will be trouble, but if we stay, there will be double.

  40. Monica Says:

    MA -

    On what are you basing your opinions? Please explain to me why it is in the Iraqi people’s best interest that we leave? What do you think is going to happen when we leave? A civil war? A meeting of the minds amongst the different sects? Is it relevant to you?

  41. Alan Stewart Carl Says:

    Tom: you are, of course, right. Moderates and Centrists have a lot of overlaps but are not the same. I usually try to make that distinction but did not do so here. I think Kos (or at least the community of Daily Kos) are neither moderates nor centrists. But it’s certainly possible that some Kossacks are centrists who are so angry they’ve allied themselves with a group more leftist than what they’d generally prefer.

  42. M.A. Says:

    Please explain to me why it is in the Iraqi people’s best interest that we leave? What do you think is going to happen when we leave? A civil war?

    The civil war is happening already.

    The reason it is in the Iraqis’ best interests that we leave is that the violence is in part a reaction to the occupation. (Which is not to say that it is “our fault,” of course.) If we leave, there is at least a chance that Iraqis will be forced to get their act together and stop the violence themselves. If we stay, the status quo will continue.

    Might Iraq descend further into civil war if we leave? It might. But if we stay, Iraq definitely will descend further into civil war, and a lot more of our soldiers will die as well.

    Talk of “cut and run” is childish and unserious. The question is, among nothing but bad options, what is the best bad option? Withdrawal is the best option, alas.

  43. goy Says:

    Monica – it’s in the best interests of the leftist and pseudo-centrists – heck, let’s just call them the Antirepublicans – that we leave, and as soon as possible. Preferably before the ’06 elections.

    These folks have convinced themselves that U.S. military presence in Iraq is a problem. Some folks are even silly enough to claim that the current violence is a reaction to the “occupation”, even though the trend recently has been fewer attacks against Coalition forces, fewer U.S. casualties and more conflict among the Iraqis themselves. There’s even a pointless debate regarding whether or not the conflict can be named a “civil war”, which is only valuable to the Antirepublicans as a club to beat the Right over the head with – a fantasy at best since only the diametrically opposed actually care what it’s called.

    The current conflict comprises everything from ongoing Ba’athist loyalist troublemaking, to Sunni “insurgency”, to Shia revenge killings, to al Qaeda terrorism, to general terrorist ransom kidnappings and thuggery, to your standard, see-it-in-every-country, gang-type violence. Call that ‘civil war’, or not. It’s moronic to even argue the point. The REAL point that the Antirepublicans keep avoiding is that NO ONE (especially the U.S.) is forcing any of these people to do these things.

    The pull-out-now crowd know full well that the Iraqi military is just finally getting on its feet and their worst nightmare is that at some point in the not-too-distant-future, the Iraqi military capability will begin to truly pacify the country – **just as Saddam’s military did** (DOH – they’re the same people – just better trained, better equipped and backed by the most powerful military force on the planet!!). This will put the lie to the notion that Iraq’s descent into a state of civil war is inevitable. Can’t have that!

    What’s more, pulling all Coalition military out of Iraq now would have the happy (?) consequence of *forcing* Iraq into a state of chaos and drawing attention away from all of the recent revelations that have steadily corroborated most, if not all, of the justification for deposing Saddam that was presented back in ’02/’03.

    Talk of pulling out is not only childish and unserious, but criminally irresponsible as well. There are presently good options and bad options. The worst of these is to fall prey to the relentless mainstream media propaganda and support an immediate pullout, which will equate to (1) sh!tting on the memory of every person who gave their all to free that country and (2) leaving the Iraqis to a fate they can, then, justifiably blame on the U.S. And that’s precisely what the Antirepublicans want to see happen.

    p.s. Hi Justin – you still need Comment Preview, IMHO. :-)

  44. M.A. Says:

    Monica – it’s in the best interests of the leftist and pseudo-centrists – heck, let’s just call them the Antirepublicans – that we leave, and as soon as possible. Preferably before the ‘06 elections.

    Huh? Nothing would be better for the Democrats than for America to remain in Iraq through the ’06 elections. The worse things get in Iraq, the worse things are for the Republicans — but since I put country before party, I’d rather see a pullout start as soon as possible even if it means the Democrats can’t take back Congress.

  45. Callimachus Says:

    Tom’s off to a very good start here:

    Moderate: Gentle in tone, open to compromises (particularly “third way� compromises), tempered.

    Centrist: Possessing views that represent “the middle majority�.

    I might suggest two additions:

    Balanced: holding with conviction individual positions that are held by both left and right in current politics, in more or less equal number, thus attaining a balance. Might be “liberal” on abortion, “conservative” on gun control, “liberal” on environment, “conservative” on defense, etc. No need to be moderate. I suspect this is closer to Lieberman and McCain and possibly Dean.

    Independent: considering each political question without reference to what anyone else thinks, but merely consulting one’s own inner moral compass. This probably will end up looking a lot like balanced, but it is not necessarily the same thing. Balanced can be a deliberately calculated political tactic.

  46. Tom Strong Says:

    I’ll happily second Cal’s additions.

    Alan – I don’t really think Kos is a centrist – though it makes for an interesting dialogue. If I had to classify him, I’d probably call him a “progressive reactionary” – not unlike goy’s antirepublicans.

    But unlike goy, I think there’s a place for the antis in political organizing. Social change doesn’t happen through being nice – usually, if you want to make something happen, you have to get a bunch of people real mad first. Of course, it helps a lot to have a vision and aspirational language, but anger strikes me as being more elementary. If you’re angry and you can get enough centrists to go along with you, you don’t need much vision – at least, until you’re in power.

    The most effective politicians and parties, of course, are able to tap into both anger and aspiration effectively. Kos doesn’t do aspiration well. But it seems possible to me that someone could rise to balance him, without interrupting his powerful anger-energy.

  47. Monica Says:

    MA –

    Ok – so you’re saying that the “insurgency” is killing their fellow Iraqis because we’re there and that when we leave that may or may not continue?

  48. kreiz Says:

    MA- way back when in this thread, you argued that Kos was a moderate who didn’t view Lieberman (an 83% ACU voting record as a liberal) as a Republican. You said Kos liked Liberman. He may have at one time- but you’re wrong.

    This, from 1/27/05 Daily Kos, written by Kos himself:

    “Republicans love [Lieberman] for the same reason that Democrats love McCain — because they both spend a great deal of the time beating up publicly on their own party. But for that reason, especially given our minority status (when the party needs to stick together for survival), Lieberman must go. I don’t want another six years of him bashing Democrats on Fox News next to a fawning Sean Hannity.”

    Here’s the link: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2005/1/27/124818/547

  49. GN Says:

    If you’re angry and you can get enough centrists to go along with you, you don’t need much vision – at least, until you’re in power.

    Tom – replace the word centrists with republicans and you have a fair, one sentence description of the curent administration.

    I don’t want another six years of him bashing Democrats on Fox News next to a fawning Sean Hannity.�

    Kreiz – it would be a nice thing to see NO ONE next to a fawning Sean Hannity.

  50. Cian Says:

    As an outsider (Irish, but weirdly obsessed with American politics), the very idea that anyone would considers Kos as part of the crazy left is totally bizarre. My education is built on sites like Daily Kos, beyondthe beltway, Andrew Sullivan, Talking points memo, NRO and Digsby. All have strong opinions and are not slow to voice them and , yes, betimes, what they voice is out of line and thoughtless, but never uninteresting or not worth engaging with. I checked out a republican supporting blog called misunderestimated just now which refers to those taking part in the immigration marches in L.A as, and I quote ‘cockroaches swarming in broad daylight’. Now that’s extreme. The otthers are inspiring examples of what it means to care about the direction your country is taking.

  51. goy Says:

    - ‘cockroaches swarming in broad daylight’

    Can’t find misunderestimated.* In any event, I’m not sure that’s an inaccurate characterization of a group of people who fall into one of three categories: they are either (a) violating the law by having illegally entered the country, (b) abusing their 1A rights by *advocating* violating the law or (c) engaging in the transparent and disingenuous sophistry of trying to turn a matter of law into an issue of race or ethnicity. Given the number of Americans who don’t take kindly to lawbreaking and/or race-baiting, I’m not sure it’s very extreme, either.

  52. Justin Gardner Says:

    I checked out a republican supporting blog called misunderestimated just now which refers to those taking part in the immigration marches in L.A as, and I quote ‘cockroaches swarming in broad daylight’. Now that’s extreme.

    Cian, I’m a Democrat. That’s why I talk about Kos. Of course there are hacks on the right too.

    And by the way, just because Kos isn’t part of the far left doesn’t mean he doesn’t APPEAL to that base and rally them. And again, the far left represents a very small group, while independents and moderate Dems represent the majority.

    By the way, good thoughts all around. I’m glad we’re continuing to have this debate.

    One question, you think you could have this debate on many other sites than Donklephant?

  53. Dav Says:

    “fraid not. Kos is just what the left has needed for sometime. The Rightwing didn’t win elections by pussy-footin around and neither will we. The Dems have been way to nice and wishy-washy. This new brand of angry liberal is a much needed reaction to the far right.

    Shame on you for not seeing this.

  54. Justin Gardner Says:

    This new brand of angry liberal is a much needed reaction to the far right.

    Shame on you for not seeing this.

    You got me Dav. Reacting to the demagogues on the far right with demagogues of our own is exactly what we need. Because spin is much better than reason.

    In any event, we’ll be here when you get sick of it too.

  55. amba Says:

    At least he didn’t say “cucarachas,” but he implied it, right?

  56. Dav Says:

    Your blog is for analogous to Vichy France.

    Eat Shit you fascist enabler!

  57. Callimachus Says:

    Your blog is for analogous to Vichy France.

    What an odd sort of statement, considering whithering contempt for moderates and centrists was such a defining quality of fascism.

  58. Justin Gardner Says:

    See, this is what I love. Dav couldn’t contain himself and so his words speak directly to why our site is so desperately needed.

    Have fun over at the Kos because you won’t be commenting here again!

  59. mt Says:

    WTF?

    “See, this is what I love. Dav couldn’t contain himself and so his words speak directly to why our site is so desperately needed.

    Have fun over at the Kos because you won’t be commenting here again!”

    If the truth be told, I stumbled upon this site because Dav or Dave’s site was so ridiculous I thought I’d amuse myself by following his trail. Nonetheless, banning him over the above comments is even more amusing. What policy applies here: agree or be gone? Most would relish the opportunity to clock, again and again, an opponet that at worst makes their case. In any event, good luck with that.

  60. Justin Gardner Says:

    Nonetheless, banning him over the above comments is even more amusing. What policy applies here: agree or be gone?

    Agree or be gone? Perhaps you haven’t been reading the comments. The point of this site is to open up a forum for earnest debate, free from the venom that defines most other blogs. Trust me, we disagree constantly on this blog, but we do it with civility and respect. Well, most of the time at least…

    Listen, DAV clearly crossed the line. If this were in a real world forum, his language and insults wouldn’t be tolerated. Why should the blogosphere be any different?

  61. Dav Says:

    LOL

  62. Bison Says:

    Blogs like this (Donklephant) are part of the problem as far as I’m concerned, I’m not a far left wing nut, I’m just a really concerned American citizen! I see what’s happening to my country and I want to act to save it! You have to fight fire with fire; I feel like we must stand up for our country while we still can. I would never advocate anything unethical or underhanded (I’m not a neo-con), but I’m also not going to sit back and just take it!
    I’m sorry to say, you folks here are fooling yourselves, you can’t just sit on the fence forever, the right won’t allow that, they are going to keep pushing and pushing!
    The neo-conservative movement threw the Republican Party is making fundamental and disastrous changes to our country and society.
    Compromise? Consciences? No way, those are just tactics to them; they want what they want no matter how they get it.
    Do you want what they want? How much are you willing to give up to them? It is never going to be enough.
    Someday we will be able to come together as a nation again, I pray for that day, but this is not that day.

  63. Justin Gardner Says:

    You have to fight fire with fire;

    Fighting fire with fire seems like the “two wrongs make a right” strategy. I just don’t think that’ll help. Also, we don’t represent fence sitting or compromises. More than anything, we’re about creating a forum where there’s an open dialogue. We listen instead of name call. That doesn’t mean we agree all the time. Far from it, and you’ll see that in many of the comment threads. We actually have genuine debate, instead of the bomb-throwing that defines the rest of the blogosphere. And I wouldn’t give that up for anything.

  64. Bison Says:

    Please don’t group me in with the unethical people on the right, this is not about two wrongs don’t make a right or an eye for an eye, this is about defending what so many have fought and died for, our Freedoms and liberties!
    I feel sorry for you Justin; it’s like watching the sheep led to the slaughter.
    Don’t worry, you just sit back and keep debating and conversing and chatting.
    Let someone who cares about his country defend your Freedom of Speech, your Right to Privacy, your Right to Choose.
    Maybe the rest of the world is right about us lazy Americans, maybe it’s going to take the loss of your FREEDOMS before you wake up.
    Nah, it can’t happen here, not in the USA, don’t worry your government will keep you safe, go put on American Idol and relax, forget about it, sleep tight.

  65. Justin Gardner Says:

    You know Bison, you really aren’t even trying to understand what’s going on at this site. I realize our freedoms and liberties have been stomped on in the past 5 years, and if you read more of this site, you’d realize that.

    Oh well. Keep commenting, but I’d suggest you’d really try to have earnest conversations instead of what you’ve been contributing so far.

  66. Bison Says:

    What’s to understand? If you realize our freedoms and liberties have been stomped on over the past 5 years then what are you doing?
    I know what you’re doing here and I’ll state it again, this site is part of the problem. You’re trying to find the middle ground where we can all hold hands and be happy.
    Neville Chamberlain would be proud of your efforts.
    BTW, I would Trust Markos Moulitsas with “my� party (as you put it) long before I would ever want it to fall into the hand of people such as yourself (to late), not because I don’t think your intelligent, insightful, caring and reasonable, but because misguided is still misguided.
    It’s a wonderful goal to try and heal the political fractures that have developed in our society but you have to realize that you have to have two willing sides to achieve that goal.
    As a kid I fell in love with what America tried offered people, Hope, liberty, justice and equality. Even as a kid I knew how lucky I was to be born and raised in this country.
    As a teenager in high school civics class I learned that these principles must be protected and that we must always be on the look out for folks trying to infringe on these basic rights. Did I believe back then that we would actually be called upon to defend those principles? Absolutely not, do I believe that we are being called upon to defend them now? Absolutely.
    Go ahead and tell me how wrong I am, tell me how uninformed and naive my position is, how I just don’t understand, that’s your Right Justin, the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America guarantee’s you that right, and if I have to fight and die to protect your freedom to tell me I’m stupid, I WILL.

  67. crusader bunnypants Says:

    ISN’T THE PUNISHMENT FOR SPYING AND TREASON DURING A TIME OF WAR, um DEATH?

    Rice leaked defense info to AIPAC “lobbyist”/”spy”
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/04/21/AR2006042101648_pf.html

    F*** THE CHRISTIAN/ZIONIST SPIES AND TRAITORS

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