October 29, 2005

Stand For Something

A little self-diagnosis on the left by David Sirota at In These Times. Sirota identifies an ailment among progressives that he calls "Partisan War Syndrome".

The first major symptom of Partisan War Syndrome is wild hallucinations that make progressives believe we can win elections by doing nothing, as long as the Republican Party keeps tripping over itself. You can best see this symptom each time another GOP scandal comes down the pike. The scandal hits, Republicans respond with a pathetic “I am not a crook” defense, and both Democratic politicians and grassroots activists/bloggers berate a “culture of corruption.” Yet, then these same critics largely refuse to demand concrete solutions such as public funding of elections that would actually clean up the system, and would draw a contrast between the left and the right. We see hallucinations of a victory in the next election as long as we just say nothing of substance, as we have for the last decade. But like a mirage in the desert, it never seems to materialize.

These hallucinations are the only logical explanation as to why the Democratic Party remains without an official position on almost every major issue in Congress. Just look at the last year: Democrats have no clear party position on Iraq, energy, bankruptcy, trade, tax cuts, Supreme Court nominees or corruption, other than to criticize Republicans.

Sirota bemoans the obsessiveness among liberal activists, the base, which includes influential bloggers, with rhetoric, "packaging", and narrative, all at the expense of ideas. Unions, environmental groups and others who are "fighting the good fight" on substance are drowned out by those afflicted with this syndrome. It's an honest look at what troubles the left today, and acknowledges that the conservative grassroots movement is driven more by issues and by an overarching belief system than its liberal counterpart as it exists today.

(via aldaily.com)

Posted by dan at October 29, 2005 7:59 PM