Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Good Thinking: Despite the fact that the Atlantic has implemented a staffing policy that amounts to trolling the liberal rags for talent, I'm pleased to see that they've come up with something more interesting than the typical ravings of the Nation or the brass tacks partisanship of TNR. This month, Marc Cooper (a contributor to the Nation himself) has a blistering review of George Lakoff's "Don't Think of an Elephant!" -- the hot book in liberal circles these days. Says Cooper:
So what's an earnest, honest liberal to do when nobody wants to hear the truth? Why not turn to personal therapy disguised as politics, psychobabble as electoral strategy? Lakoff, revealingly, provides nary a word on reshaping the Democratic Party itself, blunting the influence of corporate cash, eliminating the stranglehold on the party and its candidates by discredited but omni-powerful consultants, reversing its estrangement from the white working class, finding some decent candidates, or just about anything else that might require actual strategic thinking, organizing, and politicking. Never mind. What liberals most need to do, Lakoff says, is "be the change you want."
Helpful, eh? More:
Groups like MoveOn are fundamentally echo chambers for Volvo Democrats whose lives aren't much affected by whether a Democrat or a Republican is in the White House, and who think it's a politically significant act to go with an audience of like-minded souls to view a flockumentary like Fahrenheit 9/11 or Outfoxed, to set their TiVo to Jon Stewart's The Daily Show, or to pass around lefty spam containing fiery warnings of creeping fascism. A far more challenging exercise after the election would have been for MoveOn to order its troops to meet with and listen to ten people who disagreed with them—instead of talking, as usual, only to one another.
As a pro-choice, pro-drugs, pro-prostitution (yeah, baby!), pro-market liberal who more and more frequently finds himself defending his decision to vote Republican, I find myself wondering where the Democratic party went.

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