Saturday, August 25, 2007

Kos Derangement Syndrome

By Cernig

Ever since ancient Greece (at least) political groupings have had internal faction disputes as some members of the group try to push others towards their point of view. It's a natural human condition which you can see in its nascent state in any schoolyard.

Yet despite this obvious truth a myth has grown up, forstered by the extreme Right but spreading to even more centrist commentators, which says that the Kossacks and other hardline, netroots, anti-war progressives (e.g. the MyDD grouping of bloggers) are trying to "take over the Democratic Party" in a manner which smacks of Soviet-style drives for ideological purity. It results in what can only be described as Kos Derangement Syndrome from otherwise intelligent individuals who, be constant exposure to the virulent liberal-hate of the extreme Right, are now capable of writing twaddle like this.
There is something strange going on in the progressive blogosphere these days: instead of uniting against Republicans, progressive bloggers like Matt Stoller have decided to declare war on every Democrat who they consider not to be progressive (read anti-war) enough. Seemingly frustrated that there are actually Democratic Congressmen that do not necessarily always vote along party lines - but make up their own minds - they have decided to ask their readers to make profiles of so-called “Bush Dogs” (Blue Dogs and New Democrats) as to be able to target them in the coming years, and to replace them with progressive, left-wing Republicans.

...slowly but surely, these people are destroying the Democratic Party. The average American does not favor truly progressive policies nor does the average American think highly of the anti-war crowd (led by Kos and Stoller). They might have their fair share of groupies, but so did other totalitarians in the past. These people are totalitarians because they do not accept any dissent. It is not as if policies are up for debate: they have made up their minds about certain issues, everybody else must agree. If they do not, they have to be targeted.
Leave aside the obvious untruth of the phrase "the average American does not favor truly progressive policies". The ludicrous nature of the basic thesis is that a few people who are famous within their own small pool but utterly unknown to the world at large and who have no established political power base among the movers and shakers are going to mount an ideological purge of the Democratic Party. Never mind that people like Kos and Stoller, who I have to say I think often suffer from an over-inflated "wannabe" attitude about their own importance, are viewed as little more than a new source of money and free activist labor by the real movers and shakers (as just another "union", if you like).

The argument is Kos Derangement Syndrome at its very worst - and also includes an element of hypocrisy by decrying totalitarianism in a small and relatively powerless element of Democratic Party internal politics while at the same time ignoring Republican totalitarian message discipline and attacks on heretics which stem from the very top of the power pyramid. Which is the most serious attack on democracy, exactly?

Stoller et al's campaign against the so-called "Blue Dogs" is a function of a political climate where support for the Iraq occupation has become the most polarizing subject of all. Unfortunately, it has meant that some who are hawkish but otherwise progressive have drifted over into the "support the war' echo chamber (as opposed to the don't support the war echo chamber) instead of standing on all their principles and demanding the right to have a foot in both camps. That's sad but probably inevitable. On the plus side, several otherwise moderate conservatives have managed to be both conservative and anti-occupation - and often even conservative and hostile to the extreme Right which has co-opted their party. I'm willing, myself, to have a dialogue with either and will be - as I have proven time and again - the second person to launch ad hominem attacks. "Do as you would be done by" bites both ways and I'm anti-war, not a wimp.

But let's get one thing straight here. The dreaded lib'ruls didn't make those drifters do it any more than the dreaded wingnuts did. Free will, and all that. Abrogation of personal responibility for ones personal beliefs and actions is the sheerest form of moral cowardice and if Stoller and Kos' "Blue Dog" campaign reminds some Democratic bigwigs of that, then I'm all for it. But that's all it will be, given the dynamics of the situation and relative power levels among the players - accusations of totalitarianism are pure schoolyard sniping.

No comments: