Tuesday, March 21, 2006

The Red American Minority

The Red America blog at the Washington Post attempts to place the extremist right wing world view in the mainstream and confuse mainsteam Democrats with leftist extremists. Pamela mentioned the firestorm over the start of the blog today so I decided to take a peak. The blog starts with the claim:

This is a blog for the majority of Americans.

Since the election of 1992, the extreme political left has fought a losing battle. Their views on the economy, marriage, abortion, guns, the death penalty, health care, welfare, taxes, and a dozen other major domestic policy issues have been exposed as unpopular, unmarketable and unquestioned losers at the ballot box.

If he really means “extreme left” he may be correct, but I suspect he is really referring to the mainstream Democrats, believing he wins debating points by calling such views extreme. Similarly in defining the leadership of the party he can’t have it both ways–saying later in the blog both that Kos is 0-19 in elections and also consider them a “political anchor” of the party.

If we look at mainstream Democratic views, it is the Democrats and not Republicans who have represented the majority. Poll after poll shows a majority agree that the economy does better under the Democrats. Republican corporate welfare is only popular with the ultra-wealthy who benefit. By marriage I wonder if he is talking about the right wing’s favorite wedge issue. A majority is with the Republicans on opposing gay marriage, but they do support civil unions along with increased toleration of gays, so this is more of a wash. A firm majority backs abortion rights. In mentioning guns he is trying to revive the wild claims that liberals will take away people’s guns (along with thier bibles). I’m not sure off hand where the majority stands on the death penality–I hardly see this as a major issue.

Health care (as long as we stay alway from disasters like Hillary Care) is another winner for Democrats as people are fed up with double digit increases in health premiums which cover less and less. It is a Democrat who took the lead on welfare reform. In the short run Republicans do win on taxes as everyone’s first impulse is to prefer lower taxes. Once confronted with real world choices this changes. For example, a majority will accept higher taxes in return for affordable health care. Once again Republicans also have to cheat to win here, such as when they claimed that John Kerry’s proposal to increase taxes on only those making over $200,000 per year would affect far more people.

This is just the first full paragraph beyond the introductory sentence but you get the pattern. Republicans cannot win with a real discussion of the issues, so they have to resort to creating straw men. Of course if you want to really look at the extremist left he is right that the views are unpopular as views of both the extremist left and right will not be accepted in this country.

The difference is that the extremists of the left have little to do with the Democratic Party, while the extremists of the right are firmly in control of the GOP. Even as the parties are increasingly divided by ideology, we have the Democrats representing the moderate left, center, and even moderate right while the Republicans increasingly only accept the views of the extreme rightj. This is not a majority of America–even if they manage to win elections by pandering to fear and distortion of the issues.


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