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The Asylum

Welcome to the Asylum. This is a site devoted to politics and current events in America, and around the globe. The THREE lunatics posting here are unabashed conservatives that go after the liberal lies and deceit prevalent in the debate of the day. We'd like to add that the views expressed here do not reflect the views of other inmates, nor were any inmates harmed in the creation of this site.

Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

The New Left Is The Same As The Old Left

And reinventing themselves isn't going to help them. Only a solid shift, one in which the extreme moonbat fringe is thrown under the bus, will work to regain the prominence, honor, and integrity of the Democrat Party of old. Unfortunately the WaPo shows us that nothing has really changed as the Left attempts to reinvent the wheel.

So Democratic Party leaders met over the weekend in New Orleans, gleefully criticized President Bush's stewardship and issued a "vision" statement that most pundits and reporters saw as less than visionary and not terribly specific.

Perfectly true, which underscores a central fact of American politics: "New ideas," "bold visions," "detailed solutions" and "courageous policies" almost never originate with politicians, especially politicians in the middle of election campaigns. Political consultants, with a few honorable exceptions, don't do "vision" either.

Politicians typically pick up their ideas from intellectual entrepreneurs, professional visionaries and impatient ideologues who wonder why the parties they support seem to stand for little.

Ronald Reagan could not have become, well, Ronald Reagan, if William F. Buckley Jr. and his allies at National Review magazine had not spent years developing modern conservatism's core ideas -- and if neoconservatives such as Irving Kristol and Norman Podhoretz had not tweaked the philosophy in directions that brought in new converts.

What has become clear in recent months is that the impatience on the center-left with the hopeless endeavor of waiting for workaday politicians to come up with ideas -- Godot would deliver faster -- has spilled over the barriers of conventional politics. The brooding, musing and, yes, thinking since President Bush's victory in 2004 is starting to show results.

The biggest change is that moderates and liberals have begun to accept the fact that they cannot simply adjust to conservative dominance of the political debate and alter their ideas to fit the current consensus. As Michael Tomasky writes in the current issue of the American Prospect, Democrats and their allies must destroy the current political "paradigm" based on "radical individualism" and replace it with a politics of the "common good." Only a larger argument rooted in a different conception of government and society, Tomasky argues, will allow the party to "do a lot more than squeak by in this fall's (or any) elections based on the usual unsatisfying admixture of compromises."

In describing his common-good approach, Tomasky notes it has implications in challenging Democrats to stand for more than "diversity and rights," however valuable these commitments might be. Both diversity and rights, he argues, would be better defended in a common-good framework.

There are arguments to be had with Tomasky -- I think he needs to not only talk about citizen sacrifice but tell us more about self-interest, rightly understood. Progressive ideas do best when a majority of citizens believe their own self-interest is implicated in a common project, something Tomasky recognizes but doesn't stress enough.

And there are competing organizing ideas for a resurgent center-left. John Schwarz, an emeritus professor at the University of Arizona, recently argued at the Center for American Progress that the vital task for liberals is to steal back the idea of "freedom" from the right and broaden its implications.

What's important about Tomasky and Schwarz is that they are representative of an awareness on their side of politics that laundry lists of policy proposals are insufficient to the task of moving a nation.

Which is not to say that there is a shortage of specific policy proposals emerging from liberal and moderate research institutions. To mention just one, the Center for American Progress recently put forward 15 new ideas on subjects ranging from taxes and education to pensions and energy.

And a new generation of policy entrepreneurs is doing what Kristol and his friends did 40 years ago: reinvigorating old magazines and starting new ones to create controversy and forward movement. Democracy: A Journal of Ideas, founded by thirtysomething moderate Democrats Ken Baer and Andrei Cherny, appears in June. The Web is brimming with impatient calls for alternatives to President Bush's philosophy and his policies.

None of this means a new liberalism will soon reign triumphant. It does mean that after a long period of reacting to conservative initiatives, progressives sense that conservative failures have created a vacuum that needs to be filled. The marketplace of ideas is not always efficient, but it eventually responds to felt needs.

That is what's happening, even if some of the ideas are still less than completely baked, as the political philosopher Dustin Hoffman might put it -- and even if it will take a long time for any of the ideas to penetrate Democratic National Committee meetings. It has always been thus.

And it doesn't matter what they come up with. Go back above, and read the bolded section. They're going to focus on "radical individualism." Um, guess what? Tammy Bruce has been preaching that for years. As a matter of fact her new book, "The Second American Revolution" has that as it's main premise. A break from the herd mentality the Left all wants us to abide by. By emphasizing this, they're killing their own "spokespeople." They'd be evicting the likes of Michael Moore, Mother Moonbat, and Howard Dean. People like John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, and Ted Kennedy would be handed their walking papers. And Markos "screw them" Zuniga, AKA DailyKos, would have no soapbox with the DNC's complete attention.

Anyone think this is going to happen? Didn't think so. Neither do I. Their plan will try to keep these dogs on a leash for 2006, and possibly 2008, but they're not going to toss their collective brain trust away because the moderate/conservative Democrats won't be listened to. Look at what the DNC has done to Joe Lieberman. Anyone remember how Zell Miller and Bob Casey, Sr. were treated when they didn't go along with the rest of the herd.

They were frozen out of the party. They were shoved into a corner, and merely whispered about as if they were the crazy aunt locked up in the basement. These people spoke out against the leadership, decided to go against the grain, or as in Sen. Miller's case, gave the keynote address at the RNC. Why? Because, surprisingly, there are Democrats who do care. But it's the extremists in charge that don't. The sole goal of the extremists is to simply regain power. That's all they care about, and all they ever have cared about.

Words have no meaning if actions aren't taken to back them up. Anyone who thinks that the Democrats are going to change their tune had better think again. Nothing's going to change in this party except maybe the dirty pool politics.

Publius II


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