More Guns, Fewer Waffles
In a funny post at Glenn Greenwald's place, Blue Texan giggles
over the Republicans' presidential primary field ("So who will it be, GOP? The flip-flopper, the traitorous RINO or the pro-gay rights New Yorker?") [By the way, that should be "The Massachusetts
flip-flopper"]. He also digs up a Jonah Goldberg quote
I hadn't seen before, as to why so many Democrats seem to be such flip-floppers:
The pressure within the Republican Party has been to promote politicians willing to take strong conservative positions, even if they turn some people off. The pressure in the Democratic Party has been to promote candidates who can be all things to all people.
Why, Jonah, you bushy-tailed little blind squirrel, I do believe you've found a nut!
Or half a nut, anyway. It's easier to look like a flip-flopper when 1) You've served a few terms in the Senate, and 2) There's a cottage industry devoted to making you look waffle-ish. Still, there's something to what Goldberg says here. The ideological discipline imposed by conservatives on the Republican party has indeed had the side effect of maintaining a certain consistency in GOP rhetoric; that, in turn, tends to make Republican politicians look steadfast and confident (even if it's actually a sign of cravenness). By contrast, as I mentioned in the post below, the Democrats have, since the 1970s, largely been cut adrift from any bold public agenda of their own - forced to navigate according to the discursive paradigm set up by the conservatives and the contrasting demands of various constituents.
In other words, the more that progressive intellectuals and media can press forward a confident agenda of our own, the more opportunity Democratic politicians will have to stick to a certain set of guns - and thus, to look stronger.
Of course, too much rigidity can backfire completely, as the Republicans have recently learned. We have to give the Democrats some room when the perfect is the enemy of the good. Still, at least the progressive agenda, unlike the conservative one, has the virtue of actually being popular.
Labels: 2008, Glenn Greenwald, Jonah Goldberg, Presidential election, progressives, Republicans