Building the new left

Fascinating NYT Magazine article about the peopel behind the new 527s and whatnot. Liberals seems to be catching on to the nasty little fact that we lose to the conservatives because they’ve got an orchestrated message network that’s cowed the media. First good long-term news I’ve seen in a while for the Democrats.

I just worry the Democrats cultivate the orchestrated chorus of “dittohead” talking points approach to reality. Dumb it down, exaggerate and lie, bait-and-switch your political beliefs, and repeat it 'till people believe it. In that kind of hothouse what kinds of thinkers and leaders will be successful? I’ve seen what it did for the Republicans and win or lose I’m not sure I want to see Democrats going down the same road. At least in the same way.

I doubt we have to worry about that; none of the crazy people on the left have any money. By contrast, on the right Olin, Scaife, etc. all combine deep pockets with truly bonkers opinions.

Did Michael Moore and Barbara Streisand and the Baldwin family and Jesse Jackson recently file for Chapter 11? I’m not saying they balance out the money on the right, BTW, but the left has their deep pockets in a few crazy places as well.

Yeah, Jason…bad illustration. Unless George Soros disappeared, The Left absolutely has a figure with a chance to pretty much parallel Scaife–if that’s what Soros wants to do.

reminds me of a line from “primary colors”:

{sarcastically} “no, i want to fight the good fight and then watch a republican get elected.

On what planet are Streisand and Moore Democratic money machines? They’re celebrity attention getters like Charlton Heston, not money-connection brokers like Soros/Scaife.

Comparision of what I’m talking about:

On the left, the people with money are like George Soros or Rubin - extremely socially liberal, economically middle of the road/slightly left. They spend a lot of money on a bunch of budding leftish organizations that haven’t produced much beyond talking points yet. The money people on the left are pretty much right there with the party’s membership, opinionwise (though the social opinions of the Democratic party get complicated).

On the right, the people with money are like Scaife, Olin, Coors - either extremely socially conservative or extremely economically conservative. They spend a lot of money on books like The Bell Curve, newspapers that accuse Clinton of murdering Vince Foster, and research indicating gay men have a life expectancy of 35. The money people on the right are way the hell to the right of the party’s membership, opinionwise.

Can’t they create a real left, instead?
(I know the answer to that question is no)

For various reasons (I think “the different philosophical legacies of the divergent immigrant groups of the US + racism” summarizes it), the US will never have a European-style social democracy. Even Eugene Debs wasn’t European…

Could you elaborate on what you mean by racism there, because I’m just not following.

I read a study a while back that reinforced something you’d suspect to be true anyway - I can’t remember where, though. The theory is that if you have two divergent cultural groups, the one with more power will be less willing to share the wealth with “them”. You see this to some extent in people being far less outraged and more willing to provide help in white teen pregancy than black teen pregnancy, in a way that I don’t think flat “racism” explains - it’s more “they’re not one of us” than “blacks are an inferior race.”

The theory was that Europe was a lot more social democracy benefits and projects because until very recently (arab immigration has changed things), nations over there were composed almost entirely of one cultural/ethnic group, so they were more willing to share with “their own.”

But I think “we mostly have a british heritage, and the british are the most conservative group in the region” explains more of it.

OK, that makes sense. Not racism so much as our diversity.

To address an actual point, I think we’re about as likely to develop a real left as we are to develop a monarchy. The Cold War made “not-communism” one of our defining national features.

And you’d think beating Facism in WWII would have made the possibility of a rabid rightwing nationalism impossible.

Just goes to show you…who knows?

Even ignoring the possibility that Bush isn’t Hitler, the fascism thing was 6 years, we fought communism for 40. Schools, entertainment, everything reflected that.

True, but communism isn’t the left anymore than fascism/anarchism/libertarianism/christians are the right.

Nice try.

The defining feature of communism is centralized government control of business and social aspects of society. See: Bush Presidency Also See: Conservatives - We have become what we despised.

The defining aspect of the Liberalism is a belief that government can provide positive benefits to those that it governs, and that it has a responsiblity to provide services in an attempt to help all those in that society achieve their potential.

Well, we have a left, I just assumed by all this talk about a “real” left and Debs that we were talking about something like the Social Democrats. The Democratic party may drift leftwards here and there, but I don’t think we’ll see universal employment in their platform. I guess it comes down to what Anders meant.

Mayer- The defining feature of communism is an adminstrative command rather than market based economy. As to the rest, come on. Even you can’t believe that shit.

Nice try.

The defining feature of communism is centralized government control of business and social aspects of society. See: Bush Presidency Also See: Conservatives - We have become what we despised.

The defining aspect of the Liberalism is a belief that government can provide positive benefits to those that it governs, and that it has a responsiblity to provide services in an attempt to help all those in that society achieve their potential.[/quote]

So?

The U.S. government is nowhere near the communism levels of centralization. I’d have to agree that “communist” is still a bad word to the majority of Americans and labelling any candidate with it would be a death blow for their electability.

I think Ben is right – anti-Communism (anti-any kind of socialism, really) clearly is still a defining feature of the U.S. While contemporary US conservatives do want a high degree of centralized control of social norms, they don’t want centralized economic control at all; they want laissez-faire, or something close to it.