Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Which side are you on? Do you even know?

I don't know who it was that first came up with the comment that is attributed to Robert Frost that liberals are so open-minded the refuse to take their own side in a debate. It may be like one of those fake Abraham Lincoln quotes, I don't know. Naturally, the rabid conservatives like to pretend that liberals take their own side so much they want to suppress all others. But that quote, bogus or not, sometimes comes to mind when I read things like this: Is there life after Bush? by Gary Kamiya Salon 02/20/07.

Kamiya does some good political analysis. But it's not evident in this piece. You can almost pick a paragraph at random and see how vapid it is. Writing about those vulgar bloggers, he says:

But having said that, it should also be said that the hate-Bush mind-set can spin out of control, leading to propagandistic thinking and a cynical ends-justify-the-means ethos. Faced with a triumphant administration and an army of right-wing media hacks, it's understandable that the left fought back with everything it had. But the obsession with victory can come at a dangerous price. Right now, the left - or at least some elements in the liberal blogosphere - have at times shown a disturbing tendency to close ranks and deny inconvenient truths. It should not still be necessary to point out that in battling a foe, you don't want to turn into him.
He rags on the "liberal" and/or "left" blogosphere - I envy the European publics who at least have some better common idea about who's liberal, conservative or left ("liberal" is not the same as "left" in most democracies in the rest of the world. But he doesn't give a single example of who these foaming-at-the-mouth lefties bloggers are. He gives a link of the phrase "deny inconvenient truths" to an article by Salon editor Joan Walsh, Fighting words 02/16/07. But Walsh's piece is more specifically about the tension that can arise between partisanship and factual reporting, a perfectly legitimate issue, and she is generally respectful to the bloggers she mentions even in criticizing them.

But Kamiya's piece is ditsy. He talks about Bush-haters that certainly exist in the fantasies of David Brooks, who's been beating the drum about this alleged malady for years. Now, when you're using generalities like talking about the dangers of "propagandistic thinking and a cynical ends-justify-the-means ethos", who can really argue with the abstract point? But who is he actually talking about? He doesn't say.

But what he does do is echo the same nonsense that, the sad characters who dominate our national "press corps" promote. See, for instance, Think Progress' report,
Tony Snow and White House Reporters Slam The ‘Hateful,’ ‘Polarized’ Blogosphere 02/20/07.

Kamiya's piece seems to assume that after Bush and Cheney leave office, that things will revert to the 1970s or something, where you actually still had Republican "moderates" - real live ones, not the Maverick McCain and Chuck Hagel versions - and the bipartisanship so beloved by David Broder and all proper Big Pundits was actually feasible on major issues.

But the Republican Party isn't going to revert to some non-authoritarian form overnight. The Republicans, according to one count I've seen, have a higher percentage of their total Congressional seats coming from the Deep South than the Democrats ever had during the days of the "Solid South". And that Southern Republican base is essentially made up of conservative white people, heavily influenced by Christian Right appeals and policies.

They aren't going to suddenly decide to make nice in January of 2009. We saw how long their phony appeals for "bipartisanship" lasted after last November's elections. So Kamiya's apparent longing for a Broderian era of moderation and reduced partisanship starting in two years is unlikely to be fulfilled.

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