Wingers, Fringers, and the rest of us

Wingers, Fringers, and the rest of us

: There’s a lot of interesting followup discussion to my post yesterday about close-, clubby liberals trying to lock out fellow liberals they don’t like… like me.

They are trying to create a club that gets ever smaller as they reject more people who disagree with them about one of their fervently held beliefs or who don’t hate the other side fervently enough to meet their standards. The club soon makes them and no one else happy.

They think the club is the Democratic Party. They think they took it over in the last election. In fact, they lost the last election for us.

It is time for more mature politicians — see Bill Keller’s definition of politiican here — to take charge.

In the meantime, while the Wingers on one edge and the Fringers on the other edge spit and piss on each other, the rest of us — most of us — are left in the middle wondering where to turn.

See lots of discussion in the comments below. And see these posts from my PubSub egofeed, too. First from Fred Wilson a card-carrying (and checkbook-carrying and megaphone-carrying) liberal. He says that he and I disagreed only about the Iraq war; he affirms my liberal credentials and then says:

The war in Iraq needs to be buried in the past. It’s over as a politcal issue. The left lost that one. There are bigger battles to fight like fiscal responsibility, a sound social security system, a woman’s right to choose, etc. That’s where my left leaning politics are strongest and its where the majority of the country agrees with the Democrats.

I wrote several weeks ago that the left needs to focus on Social Pragmatism and Fiscal Conservatism. That’s a winning proposition. Opposition to the war in Iraq is not.

: Scared Monkeys says:

This is the death nell for the Democrats. The Kos wing has taken over the party and they will turn the Jarvis

  • Mike G

    What the Dean Democrats don’t get is that elections have basically been decided by the same group of folks every time for a couple of decades now. Blue collar Catholics from Ohio and Michigan and such places, who are called Reagan Democrats when they elect a Republican and Clinton Republicans when they elect a Democrat. When they see a Democrat who is kind of centrist, they elect him. When they see the young kooks and the urban shakedown artists take over the party, they give a Nixon or a Reagan a 60-40 landslide.
    Every word that comes out of Howard Dean’s mouth, or Kos’s for that matter, should have to pass a simple test: is it something that will win those people over, or something that will send them running into the bosom of the Republican party? Until they absorb that lesson, Democratic presidents will continue to be occasional flukes in a half-century-plus of Republican dominance.

  • richard mcenroe

    Howard Dean and Kos Moulitsas are the best thing that could have happened to the two-party system. If anything can break the illusion of the Democratic Party that is somehow entitled to exist as part of that system, they can.
    Let them keep on keepin’ on, and let their yammer be part of the public record.

  • So, you take Oliver Willis to task for calling you “stupid,” considering it a sign of his adolescence and rhetorical narrowness: and “the best” that you save for last here winds up, ringingly, by calling the attitude of your opponents on the left “completely stupid.” Impressive display of intellectual consistency there, Jeff. And way to summarize the “interesting followup discussion” to your post by quoting nothing but your attaboy chorus.

    Oh, by the way, once again you use your megaphone for the exclusive purpose of yelling at Left Democrats. But somehow it’s my fault that that pisses me off.

    Jeff, does it ever occur to you that you and yours may have slightly misplaced reality, to the extent that you believe the real threat to this country comes from leftists, who have there hands on exactly no levers of power? Does it ever occur to you that when the Friends of Hewitt praise you for your openness and comity, they’re just looking forward to a chance to indulge in what Grover Norquist elsewhere has so delicately termed “bipartisanship“? When your circle of friends drifts ever rightward, what does that tell you about your politics?

  • Michael: Oliver often says NOTHING but that someone is “stupid.” Sean has something to say. If then calls something stupid, it at least has some substance and context.

  • Substance? It’s completely retarded is a “substantial” remark, by you? Elegant expression, there, real intellectual power, too.

    Or does “substance,” in your lexicon, just mean “I heart being dittoed?”

  • Michael: I have to take issue with some of your comments here. First off I’m hardly part of some Jeff Jarvis “attaboy chorus” as we’ve had our share of head butting in the past but he’s making a valid point here and I think that it’s worth backing up, or at least I felt like agreeing with him.
    As for your stabs at my prose – I wasn’t calling anyone stupid, I was calling an approach stupid. I said that letting your enemies define you more than your friends in stupid. That’s quite different that saying some person is stupid.
    Also I’m not sure what your problem with “retarded” is, or why you question it’s substance. defines it as meaning ” To cause to move or proceed slowly; delay or impede” and that’s exactly how I was using it. I think these kinds of attitudes and actions slow, delay and impede progress. I’m sorry if that was too lofty for you to grasp.

  • tb

    I seriously doubt the democratic party is in trouble because Jarvis feels a bit put upon this week. There’s no importance like self importance is there.

  • jeremy in NYC

    tb: are you trying to be willfully obtuse. Jarvis went on for paragraphs trying to illustrate what he thinks the problem is, using himself as the example, not the point itself.
    If after even all that, all you can do is put out a bit of snark illustrating that you have comprehended nothing written, save us all the trouble.

  • Ed Roman

    Talk about self-importance! Whew! I know I won’t sleep well tonight knowing THE ENTIRE LEFT WING OF THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY DISSED JEFF JARVIS!
    Talk about proving Henry Kissinger correct — just substitute Weblog politics for faculty politics.
    Both sides need to get over themselves. A pox on both your houses.

  • Brad

    As one who might be included in the Dean Democrats:
    1.) I’m with Dean mostly because of his courage and realness. He understands the point of an opposition party. The alarming fiscal disaster and rights erosions by current Republicans calls for drastic opposition.
    2.) I’m for listening to every single person who cares to call themselves a Democrat. The anti abortion folks, for example have much in common with me, tho I draw the line on taking away a woman’s rights to control her own body. I also draw the line on racism or “Christian elitism” which it sometimes seems Jeff falls into.
    Otherwise…..please ALL Democrats, let’s pull together, be sensible, capture the middle and bring some sanity back to this country’s governance.

  • Jeff:
    It’s not your politics with which lefties have a problem. It’s not about the Iraq war.
    It’s the fact that you use your weblog as a platform to discredit Democrats/leftists–those awful Deaniacs, professor Pondscum, Eric “The Eliminator” Alterman, etc–but don’t bat an eyelash as McCarthyism becomes routine in the conservative blogosphere. When Glenn Reynolds accused Ted Kennedy of “borderline” treason and equated “the left” to Ward Churchill, you didn’t bother to express mere disagreement.
    The problem is that you’re seen as the Alan Colmes or Pat Caddell of the blogosphere–the self-identifying liberal who somehow manages to play the perfect sidekick to the rightwing commentator.
    In short, if you would DISAGREE with rightwing bloggers and figures with the same frequency with which you ATTACK leftwing figures, you’d be able to shake your label as a poodle for the conservatives.

  • Brad: I don’t understand what you’re saying in No. 2 and I’m not sure I want to.
    Geek: So the essence of being a Democrat is attacking peope but just the right people? How about it being about building a better world. Remember those days of liberalism, when it was about hope and not venom?

  • Fiddlesticks

    Eric Alterman has no credibility. He is a fraud. His scholarship is shoddy and skewed.
    But, Geek, you’re forgetting how much Jeff loves to attack Brent Bozell, sort of Alterman’s counterpart on the right.
    As for McCarthyism, I would call what the left has done to Jeff Gannon the most despicable form of this imaginable, which is something that Jeff has not really complained about either. You shouldn’t infer from the fact that someone hasn’t ranted all day and night about something.

  • vnjagvet

    Interesting that none of those criticizing Jeff have dealt with the cogent comments with which Mike G opened the comment string.
    I happen to be in the group which he describes, and believe he has hit the nail on the head.
    Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin were much closer in the last election than any Democratic operatives led the nation to believe up until early evening on election day.
    I believe they also were unaware of the power of Michael G’s analysis until late that evening.
    They ought to have it straightened out by now, but noone seems to be acting on that information.
    I wonder why?

  • elmegil

    Do we want the modern incarnation of the Democratic Party of Hatred to have the power?
    Why not, we got the modern incarnation of the Republican Party of Hatred in power now. Or did some Republicans somehow miss what went on during the last administration?

  • richard mcenroe


  • Chris Josephson

    As an Independent, I want to see the US have a strong, vibrant Democratic party that is able to field candidates who have broad appeal. If the Democrats continue to be dominated by the Left wing, I don’t see that happening any time soon.
    I’ve read on this blog, and others, people stating that they have been turned off by the current direction taken by the Democrats. Some of these people have said they were Democrats all their life.
    Has anyone paid any attention to what these people have said, or are these people assumed to be part of some ‘Rove Plot’ to weaken the Democrats?

  • sbw

    Let’s be clear. Racism is oversimplification. Attaching labels to people such as is being done here with the word “liberal” looks to be the same kind of oversimplification. Someone care to explain the difference?

  • Jeff:
    You have plenty of hate and venom–but you reserve it solely for people on the left, so that response of yours is rather disingenuous.
    You’re being judged by your blogging, not by your laundry list of positions which you rarely advocate. You may be liberal, but your blog has a conservative/rightwing slant.
    And, quite frankly, no one cares about your personal politics–it’s how you use your platform. And the way you use your platform is, to use Orwell’s analysis, objectively pro-Republican.

  • J. Peden

    I was finally afflicted by the “Rove plot” in the 2000 election when I voted specifically against the Democrat Presidential candidate, not for Bush. Prior to that the last major party candidate I voted for was Jimmy Carter.
    Yesterday, I decided it was time to go totally anti-abortion. Mind you I’ve owned property in common with a professional abortionist for 25 years, a place we call home. At one time my friend perhaps did as many abortions/day as anyone in the world. I gave use of my share of our property to support NARAL. And so on.
    I used to be a Liberal. The problem with the Democrat/Liberal position is that it operates on literal thought chaos. No meaningful policies exist or are developed to meet new situations by Liberal “thinkers”.
    Rather, totally dogmatic and irrational positions are simply held onto for their own sake, as though religious precepts. Real compromise is eschewed as if immoral. “Winning” in itself is everything, that is, control is everything as a substitute for anything further. Somehow the good or nirvana will magically result from winning, which shows that this will not be so. Joseph Goebbles did his best to claim this very same thing.
    That’s why I went anti-abortion. The pro-abortion side cannot admit obvious facts about abortion, such as that it is “inhumane” and that the “woman’s right to control her own body” is not quite properly stated and does not trump competing ethics – which I will not get into now if only because the “Liberal” side does not seem to be able to even comprehend such things.
    Why stick with extremists who operate intellectually as functional morons, or worse? It’s dangerous and intellectually intolerable.

  • jeremy in NYC

    Actually, Geek, I’m not sure where you get that Jeff’s venom is reserved solely for the left.
    FOr one thing, as someone noted above, people like Dobson and Bozell get it from Jeff as well. I mean, look below and you’ll see he’s rooting on Yglesias against Powerline for their stupid comments. So are you lying or just not paying attention?
    For another – well, Jeff has his pet issues like everybody else, Jeff’s biggest issues seem to be free speech, Iraq, and blogging. On free speech, I think the right gets the criticism more then the left; on Iraq, the other way around – because Jeff agrees on those issues with the people who agree with him – and not just based on party affiliation.
    The only serious venom I’ve noticed does go against two left-wingers – Cole and Alterman – but unless you don’t actually read what Jeff writes, you know that’s over one single issue – Jeff’s perception of them endangering the ITM brothers. Whether he’s right or wrong about that, I don’t see how that makes him a right-winger.
    Reading this stuff is like listening to Bush claim WMD in Iraq- pick out the bits that support you, ignore or willfully misinterpret the rest.

  • vnjagvet

    Geek, Esq.:
    Why exccoriate Jeff for hosting a rational discussion of those disinclined to accept the philosophy of the 20% of the electorate now controlling the Democratic party?
    As an aging attorney who has voted for as many Democratic presidential candidates as Republican, and who has been an active Democratic operative in the entrepreneurial movement for over 25 years, I do not understand the antipathy.
    It seems like a “shoot the messenger” activity which will not likely turn back the Republican tide.
    Please enlighten us “on the merits”, rather than with ad hominem BS.

  • EverKarl

    Geek, Esq. cannot enlighten anyone on the merits because he wilfully ignores obvious facts. He’s a frequent commenter here, so he knows that Jeff has often criticized Michael Powell, James Dobson, Brent Bozell and others on the right side of the spectrum. Geek completely ignores this to claim that Jeff only attacks the left. Attacking the FCC and Congressional push on broadcast indecency, the attempt to put more religion in the public square, etc., are hardly right-wing positions, but they get ignored to claim that this blog has a rightward slant.
    Geek, Esq. is simply one example of the troll to whom Jeff is referring: people who are out of touch with reality, or are so virulently partisan that they will not concede basic, undeniable facts to make assertions, rather than arguments. People who (knowingly or not) operate on the notion that making one’s self feel better by venting is more valuable than building a bridge to a potential ally on many issues. Don’t expect anything more than that; you’ll only be disappointed.

  • EverKarl

    On a more general note, I’d add that I am amused by people who are upset that Jeff is quoting people who agree with him on this point. The Democratic party tried to outdo the GOP turnout in ’04 and failed. You might think that trying to persuade folks in the middle (including those Jeff quoted and their readers) to vote for the Democrats (as many had in the past) might at least be on the list of possible future strategies. Apparently not for these trolls.

  • The examples cited of Jeff criticizing figures on the right does support the person who said that Jeff is more of a neocon/social libertarian than a true liberal. Christ, it’s hard to find people left of the Powerline lads who’ll defend Bozell and Dobson.
    But, I’ll tell you what. If Jeff will state that he thinks Glenn Reynolds was full of it when he said that Ward Churchill is the “authentic” face of the American left, I’ll retract every bad word I’ve ever said about Jeff and offer a profuse apology. If he doesn’t, he either agrees with that assessment, which puts him firmly on the right, or he doesn’t have the cojones to express his disagreement.

  • vnjagvet

    Geek, Esq:
    Who is the “true liberal”: W. Churchill or Harvard’s embattled president? And why does the left generally support the former more than the latter? Please explain.

  • Would you agree instead that Ward Churchill is an emblem of everything that is wrong with the American left? Because that is, I think, the point Glenn was trying to get across. And I agree with him.
    Anyway, your conclusion is nonsense. Even if Jeff agrees that Ward Churchill is the authentic face of the American left, that doesn’t necessarily put him on the political right. He could very well be a lefty who thinks that the American left has run off the rails. Which is kind of what he’s been saying all along.

  • vnjagvet

    And while you’re at it, Geek, why not give us a rational response to Mike G’s point, which I think is what Jeff is driving at.
    Why not use your forensic talent to advance the political ball, rather than indulging in polemics?
    That’s a much better use of bandwidth, donchathink?

  • Jeff, I think I’ve documented quite a lot of issues at hand that back up me calling you stupid. Your the one that demonizes Democrats like Dean while sidling up to your Republican pals who are, at the end of the day, simply laughing at you. Yet, you continually refuse to address any of this and start talking about “the center”. Howard Dean went to Kansas this week. Last week, Dick Cheney shared a stage with Ann Coulter.
    Consider “the center” with that.

  • I said that letting your enemies define you more than your friends in stupid.
    this is why Jeff Jarvis is the enemy of the democratic party. He never tries to find any good in the progressive wing of the democratic party, and never subjects wingnuts to the same viturpitude that he does even democratic centrists like Dr. Dean.
    In sum, Jarvis is a fraud. The most logical assumption at this point is that he is being paid to be one of those “disaffected Democrats”—the ones who are, in fact, lying about Howard Dean and his positions in order to paint the democratic party as radical.
    And while Jeff applauds the accomplishment of the deaths of tens upon tens of thousands of Muslims so that he can spread the Gospel of Blogging and Infotainment, the environment is being raped, the economy is being raped, and our civil rights are being raped by the people that he refuses to criticize with the same vehemence that he goes after Howard Dean.
    Jeff, no one wants to throw you out of the Democratic Party. They just want you to stop lying about ever actually being a Democrat.

  • Vnjagvet:
    Those on the left support Ward Churchill more than Summers? That’s news to me. Drum, Yglesias and others have made efforts to be fair to Summers, while I don’t know any notable lefty bloggers who find Churchill even remotely defensible. Churchill is a hateful scumbag, and that is the general consensus on the left.
    I agree with Mike G’s post. However, regurgitating rightwing talking points about Dean isn’t something that a person who’s interested in helping the party ought to be doing. Seriously, would someone reading Jeff’s blog be more or less inclined to vote Democratic because of what they saw?
    If one takes away the Iraq war, just what is the problem with Dean? His social libertarianism, including being gun AND gay friendly? His fiscal conservatism? His belief that all children should have health insurance?
    And let’s be honest: This so-called feud between Jarvis and progressives is largely of his own doing. Why does Jarvis consistently flame Democrats who disagreed with him about the Iraq war, those who are skeptical of this administration’s foreign policy, Dean and his supporters, Kos, etc etc if he’s so goddamn interested in party unity and reconciliation?
    He isn’t. He’s creating a market niche for himself as a dissident Democrat. He’s aiming to be a Fox News Democrat.
    When Jeff shows a willingness to cooperate, or even coexist, with the progressive wing of the party, then we can take these bleats seriously. Until then, flaming those folks and then acting surprised when they resent you is really a silly, transparent game.
    Pixy Misa:
    If we get Churchill, you get Falwell, Robertson, and the Reverend Fred Phelps. Deal?

  • For such a secular group, the Democrats sure seem to take some deep Christian concepts to heart:
    ” For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. ” James, Chapter 2, verse 10.
    To paraphrase Lileks, the last election was the “Hello, Democrats! Welcome to Axis of Damned well better get your act together!”
    I am worried, true competetion is better then monopoly. And with the rush to close the McCain-Fiengold “loopholes”, I do hope that the Democrat Party remembers free speech, fights that non-sense and works to make America better, fairer and more accoutable.
    I just don’t expect it to happen.

  • Pat M.

    Hey Jeff,
    Welcome to the world of the outcast. Outcast from the Democratic Party, that is. You have officially joined the ranks of Glenn Reynolds, Ann Althouse, Pat Caddell, Christopher Hitchens and David Corn.
    You an apostate because you don’t toe the extreme liberal line on every issue. Stoning to death is too good a fate for traitors like you.
    Sounds way too much like the religion of peace, doesn’t it?

  • jeremy in NYC

    Well, according to Paul Lukasiak, Jeff is not an apostate – he would have had to be a Democrat to do that. Per Pauul, he has been historically edited out the Democratic Party, kinda like those old Soviet photographs.
    Apparently, Jeff has always been at war with Oceania, y’know?
    (By the way Paul: that’s as good of an argument as the people who say that since you’re not as repeatedly vitriolic against Saddam or Osama as you are against Bush, you must be pro-Saddam and pro-bin Laden. Great argument, that. Plus, you say
    “The most logical assumption at this point is that he is being paid to be one of those “disaffected Democrats”)”. Unsupported accusations of payoffs -also great. I hereby assume that the most logical assumption is that since you opposed the war inIraq,, you are being paid to be pro-Saddam. Which I don’t believe, but hey, it makes as much sense as your argument.)

  • Brad

    In response. . .
    Jeff, by saying I “draw the line at racism or ‘Christian elitism’ which it sometimes seems Jeff falls into.” I was referencing the not so subtle coupling you seem to consistently make with Muslims and violence. As a fellow Christian, I don’t think we have a proud record against violence ourselves and I surely do not think it is fair nor accurate to paint one religion as more violent than another.
    And I WAS addressing my comments about Democrats pulling together as much to the “lefties” as I was to Jeff. I was one of those Jeff cites as working hard in my youth to drive LBJ from the party over an outrageous war, but unlike Jeff I find GWB’s newly fashionable pre-emptive invasion war model no more palpable.
    Jeff, as a media person, I’d like to hear your response to the astute observation that you appear to have cleverly and intentionally positioned yourself as the contrarian Democratic voice who can be relied upon to bash “your own” more strongly than you ever do the opposition.

  • Watch what you say, we’ve been attracting death threats: from the prolifers:
    Peden wrote:
    “Well, Humane Ruth, if you can’t admit that it is “inhumane” to interrupt the process which would have produced a human being just like the rest of us we see wandering around, maybe I’m going to have to start favoring retroactive abortion – upon people like you”
    And I had recommended he/she/it save lives by adoption.