Friday, October 23, 2009


Let's get this right: I am a Concern Niebelung, not a Concern Troll

Perhaps the conservatives and the so-called liberal media (who know they are "out of touch" and figure -- incorrectly -- they are liberal and hence conflate their own out-of-touch-ness with liberalism) are right -- liberals are out of touch with everyday 'Murkins.

Consider the response to (as well as what prompted) this bit of Niebelungeheit on my part. Do liberals really think that the Dems are guaranteed the kind of establishment in-party status the GOP (in spite of Carter and Clinton) enjoyed from some time in the 1970s until 2006? Right now, of course, the GOP is really bringing out the crazy, but what happens if the GOP gets its act together? To me, the response to Christie blowing a 16 point lead should not be "see GOoPer trolls, the GOP is safe" but rather "what if the GOP gets its act together (which is a big if) and the next Christie-type doesn't blow his lead? how do we prevent this from happening?"

I think part of the problem is that we liberals are mainly used to hearing this kind of question from the so-called liberal media which always claims the solution is for us to moderate and compromise with the GOP even more to remain "in the mainstream". So it is perhaps understandable that when a Niebelung raises such questions, they would raise red flags and so many liberals would immediately get defensive about what is being suggested.

But there is still in the responses to my comment a strong element of misunderstanding of the American psyche, which misunderstanding by the Democrats has hurt us -- and the GOP was able to do so well, until they started to unravel and until it was so obvious what a disaster Bush & CO were, because they understood this aspect of the American psyche. The thing is that Americans are profoundly anti-ideological. The key American question is "what's the big idea?" -- and not as a matter of curiosity about the ideology but as a matter of scorn that any big idea can be good. Our mindset is not "that's a great idea" but rather "get 'er done". And the GOP was able to speak that language very well, which is why they were able to do so well for so long. Of course, it must be added that while the American distrust of ideology is almost positivistic -- Americans are not positivists ... their distaste for ideological thought extends to a distaste of questioning their own ideological assumptions, which leads to a certain traditionalism and maintenance of those assumptions, including a strong tendency toward religiosity, absent in, e.g., the more 'ideological' Continent.

The problem Democrats have -- whether its Blue Dogs trying to be "moderates" in order to appeal to the moderate, non-ideological electorate or it's liberal Dems who think that appeals for Dems to reach out to moderates are necessarily appeals to moderate -- is that we tend to assume people are ideologically consistent when, in fact, they don't give a darn about ideology, which is deemed as squishy and un-American. Americans want to "get 'er done". Thus, when the GOP speaks that language, they do well, but when it finally becomes obvious the GOP has not interest in getting things done correctly and is insane besides, Americans reject the GOP.

And those who note that Americans have rejected the GOP and are not accepting liberal ideology are not necessarily appealing for Dems to be more moderate. In fact, that's the worst thing Dems could do! When people say they are moderates, it doesn't mean they want politicians to be moderate -- it means they don't care what ideology politicians have as long as the government they give us runs efficiently and for the benefit of everyone and not just for those deemed "underserving" (whether they are a powerful few or those whom our Puritan heritage rejects as "non-elect"). In fact, we must remember that the small-p-pragmatism of Americans is one capitalization away from being big-P Pragmatism which is the philosophy at the base of modern liberalism in many ways.

Certainly, if we liberals believe our approach to government is what actually will benefit people, then we should be pushing for Dems to be more liberal. And if people see that we really do believe that our ideas work, then they will be more likely to trust us with government and embrace liberalism themselves. But if we Dems are always afraid that people will reject liberalism, then people will think "I don't really care about ideology -- yet liberal Dems think that I won't support them if they are liberal -- why? do they think their ideas won't work? 'cause that's all I care about -- and if liberals think their ideas won't work, then why should I think they'll work?" E.g. if we liberals "compromise" on health care, not only will it result in an awful bill that will make things worse for many people (who will blame "Democratic health care 'reform'" for their problems, since no GOoPer will vote for the bill), but it will send a signal to people that we don't believe in our own agenda so why should people believe in our agenda?

To me, though, the most bizarre thing, however, is the complete rejection in certain liberal circles of the importance of Democrats actually running government cleanly and efficiently. If Dems would actually listen to complaints about "gummint", what they would discover is that the actual complaints (as opposed to how GOP demagogues use the anger people have at gummint to promote their own agenda) relate rather simply to government not working well. It doesn't make me Tom Friedman or Bobo Brooks when I point out that if government runs smoother, Americans (who don't really care about ideology but rather just want things to get done) will be more likely to support the party of big government, e.g. (liberal) Democrats. And many of these aspects of government that cause everyday people annoyance are local government issues (which may involve corrupt local Democratic political machines)

So shouldn't having (local) government run smoothly be a top priority for Democrats? Shouldn't cleaning our own house be a priority? And shouldn't making liberalism work for people rather than compromising on it be a priority? And why are these to me self-evident priorities so controversial in certain liberal circles?


Update -- as you all know by now, no doubt, Christie did win. So my concern was on the mark. Of course, this will be spun as "see a Republican won even in liberal NJ". Of course this ignores that, on a federal level, the Dems. actually gained two seats and if it weren't for Obama, Christie would likely have won by a greater margin, but the spin will still be that this is a loss for Obama. The problem, though, is that centrist Dems will believe this spin and try to push for "compromises" with the GOP "because that's what the 2009 elections showed voters want" -- and these compromises will be disasters for which no-one in the GOP votes anyway -- thus, in 2010 the spin will be about disastrous Dem legislation. Of course, the usual trolls, e.g. at Sadly, No! are predicting a GOP sweep in 2010 and the usual moonbats are sanguine about a Dem victory then. But this just repeats the sentiments about this election. Nu? How do we Dems in the base make sure that the usual suspects in the wanker caucus don't wank us out of a good result in 2010?

Brim over I acquiesce in but I about the list inform should acquire more info then it has.
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?